All wire coops n tarps?


12 Years
Nov 14, 2007
Eaton, Ohio
We have some all wire coop's, (basically big 10x10, 5x15 etc, dog kennels) we have enclosed with wire over the tops.
some have dog houses in them and next boxes etc.
Can we put tarps over and around for the winter time? adding straw/hay inside for them to scratch around in and keep warm?
It will be tought if we have to bring them all into the barn with heat lights, so I thought I'd start trying to find out how to do it for this winter.
Any and all suggestions insights are greatly appreciated!

Poulets De Cajun

11 Years
Jun 14, 2008
Houston MetroMess, Texas

I use tarps as wing/rain breaks on all my coops now. As well, a friend of mine uses the dog kennels and fashions "tops" for them out of PVC pipe and covers them with wire. She blocks wind and rain with tarps all winter also.


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
Snow weighs a LOT. Given your location I think there is a pretty high chance you would discover what exactly was (operative word being WAS) the strength of your pen roofs.

If you want to try to winterize them, I'd suggest making wooden rafters, supported on some lumber as well as just the pen side frames, rigged to have some slope to 'em, preferably (I think) sloping down towards the south if possible to speed melting. The safest thing would be to put plywood over the rafters; you could TRY just putting wire over them and a tarp over the wire, but I would not give it good odds of surviving, between wind-flapping and snowload.

You will have to seriously bunge down your tarps with ropes crisscrossed over them, on the walls, too, btw -- wind-flapping can shred tarps or rip them off.

It's not an ideal arrangement but if you want to try to winter them outdoors I think it's your best bet.

Alternatively, leave the pens roofless (but tarp the sides against wind) and create well-winterized small coops inside them - hay bale huts, try to winterize your doghouses if possible, or actually build something. It'll be harder on the chickens and there is still *some* concern about snow load on the naked wire mesh top of the pen, but I suppose it is an option.

Good luck,



11 Years
Aug 4, 2008
I also have an all wire coop i figured they would be to cold but way peps talk as long as u wrap it tell be fine didnt think about snow loads. Maybe wrap it with plastic put them close together and put them behind a wall or a straw wall on the side your cold winds come in on.


Jul 26, 2008
Bagdad KY
Iused to have a very heavey duty truck tarp as a cover for my run,but I changed it recently because I did not think about the snow before,so I think it is better for you to put tin on roof that way you don't have to spend twice.
here before:

and here after

Good Luck

Shared Acres

11 Years
Aug 10, 2008
Northeast Fla
Rain has ripped through my tarps. (Weight.)

Edited to say, that the weight from the rain not only ripped my tarps but weakened my metal dog cage bending one side inward with the weight of the rain!
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Still chillin' with my peeps
Mar 13, 2008
East South Central (West KY)
I used a 10x10 dog kennel completely wrapped (sides and top, with a cutout for the door) in small hole size poultry wire. I used zip ties to fasten tarps to the 3 walls because the back wall was butted up against the back of the garage. I ran a ridge bar (2X6 board stood on the narrow side, wired in place on both ends) in the center of the top and put a heavy duty tarp over it. The first really hard rain we got was a flash flood type, and the weight of that much water falling that fast caused the ridge bar to fall over and the tarp caught water in both halves of the roof/tarp. I kept going out there in a downpour several times during the night so I could push up on the tarp and force the water off; the tarp and poultry wire had stretched from all the weight and were practically down on the chickens' heads.
I replaced the wood ridge bar with a 2" pipe. Two days later we had a downpour and again, the water fell so fast that it didn't run off the top (although the coop is NOT sitting level) and BENT THE METAL PIPE.
I bought some metal roofing panels and had a friend help me get them on top of the coop/pen and we screwed them together with washers & screws, we then screwed them onto the garage back wall and drilled holes to wire them down in front, having an overhang. The panels are just resting on the sides of the kennel; there is no wood decking under the metal panels. BIG MISTAKE. The dang screws that were supposed to NOT leak do leak, and I've had to put boards under the centers of the panels inside the coop to keep them from bending in toward the inside of the coop and catching water. (can you tell I'm not exactly the handy type?
The tarps around the outside worked out pretty well; I did have some gaps that I filled with misc. stuff (after trying the styrofoam panels for insulation for my poor darlings, and finding out that to in the mind of a chicken, styrofoam is popcorn...) I kept a 1500 watt ceramic heater out there for them because I was afraid they'd get too cold. Now after being on here, I find I wasted a lot of money; they probably would have been fine. My DH comes home the end of this month and has decided he's going to help me convert this mess into a proper kennel for my fids (feather kids).
I've heard several people say they plan to use stacked hay or straw bales for insulation and wind protection. Sounds good to me... I still say the overall idea of using a dog kennel wrapped with hardware mesh or something a predator can't reach through is good, because it is VERY nice to be able to remove or pull back the tarps in the summer and have the breeze moving through keeping them cooler.
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Mmm, tastes like chicken
13 Years
Jan 7, 2008
N.Cali/Chico/Forest Ranch
I've used the 10x10 kennels and tarps for years. This year DH upgraded the tops by welding conduit together in a roof shaped angle and we have them covered, it is quite sturdy! This is a pic of one of the smaller ones in progress:

I have nest boxes or buckets and a dog house or kennel inside them for shelter also, the sides are completely lined with tarps also. One is even covered with OSB wood on the sides. The bottoms are deep in hay, there are roosts for everyone, it's like playgrounds inside! If it gets too freezing or windy, I have put heat lamps out there, but the silly birds dont even get near it!! So it's just a waste?
I'll try to post a pic of the whole thing complete, I've been having a camera issue.

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