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Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mtnhomechick, Mar 2, 2009.
I keep going through tarps........get expensive.
Anyone have an idea for a cheap alternative?
Maybe a shade cloth?
I was thinking of using corrugated plastic sheeting but my bf says it will be very load for the chickens when it rains. I like the idea though. Easy and pretty cheap plus if installed correctly very water proof.
Cheapest thing is whatever you can scrounge... sometimes you can get used roof tin, it may have some superfluous holes in it but you know what if it leaks a bit *in your run*, so what
Any kind of solid roof, though, be it metal or plastic or plywood or whatever else, is going to need STRONG WELL-ENGINEERED STRUCTURE supporting it. (ie, more scrounging, or buying some lumber).
Your basic problem is that wind wants to lift your roof away, and either the roof gives way (your ruined tarps) or your structure gives way (whole thing goes sailing through the air) unless it is quite strongly built. Also snow wants to squish a roof down, especially wet snow or snow-then-rain, and again, if it is nto built *really* strongly, either the roof gives way or the supports give way.
Unless you're prepared to really Build the support system, sometimes it can be *better* to lose tarps than to lose the whole run, you know? Just something to factor into your pondering.
To the extent that the tarp damage is not from very strong winds, just from UV and flapping, you can greatly extend your tarp's lifespan by a) shell out more for UV-stabilized tarps, and/or b) strap it down REALLY WELL ALL OVER ITS SURFACE with ropes or wood that hold it tightly pressed against sturdy wire underneath it. (Although, see previous two paragraphs ). The less it can flap, the less it will rip.
If you cant come up with a different idea than tarps.. Or the idea with the tin roofing doesnt work.. Maybe you should go to a RV repair place and see if they have any old Rv awnings that they are trashing.. The awnings are usually a bit water proof. And if you have to throw them out. At least they were free. Well around here you can get the used ones for free if you wait and watch.. Just an idea..
I live in a very mild climate but one thing that has worked for me in the wind was to
sandwich a tarp between two sheets of lattice, then the tarp cant be pulled away except for a few inches on the side. My run isnt that big though as mine free range when I'm home.
I used the tarps also and found bungee cords allow a little more flex so the tarps last longer, however, strong winds will require some form of support over or under them. I put tarps all around a shelter (poles & wood roof) for my hay and the neighbor called and said my shelter took off like a parachute and went about 15 ft. up into the air before crashing into a pile of wood splinters! That's NOT the way you want to do it! ha Someone told me you can get free wood garage doors from garage door companies when they replace them with rollups and that works good for a roof & sides. Sharon
I like the old RV awning idea. Also, you can pick up plastic pond liners at landscapers or old canvas tents sometimes at Army Surplus type places. I used to cover my dog run with an old screen door and a tarp. It gives the tarp some support so it doesn't sag in the middle under rain or snow and you can snug it down so it doesn't flap as much. Just don't forget to pad the corners of the frame so the tarp won't rip!
I tried using a tarp in the summer for shade once, but we forgot to take it off when it rained and the tarp had soo much water in it that it sunk inward and bent the wire on top of the run. Good thing my dad caught it before it did any real damage.
How big is your run? Omran has a pretty neat metal roof on a larger run, but it looks like it was constructed by carpenters or other "pros." Our first run was much smaller, and we used tinted polycarbonate sheets on a framework of home-made trusses and ribs.
My third (larger) coop has a nice-sized front porch the girls can hang out on when the weather is crummy, but no roof on the run--only wire fencing on top.