Best thing I ever did...


10 Years
Jun 28, 2009
Prince Edward Island, CAN
...was put a tarp over the roof of my coop and pen. What a great addition. I can run down there in the morning and stay dry under the tarp while I clean out their poo and feed and water them. Water runs right off too. I hope it will work as well with snow in a few months.

Doesn't look the greatest but...


I know how heavy snow is. I live in Canada. It's well braced with seven 4x4 posts around the perimeter which is only 10' x 12' and I also have these two posts inside the pen to brace the strapping up top.


I also have a roof shovel that I use when the snow really piles up on my house eves. I am used to having a lot of snow to deal with.

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I saw your Canadian location. You'll be fine with the roof shovel. Our experience when we lived up north was that the weight of the snow would create an unacceptable sag and eventually tear if the distance between supports exceeded 3 feet...even 2 feet could be borderline after a period of time . We used the heavy tarp too. I was trying to judge your distance there and it looked greater than that at some points. The grommet will likely be the first to tear out.

As the tarp covering material wears, it will begin to leak instead of run off. At that point, the days are numbered as the breakdown of the integrity of the woven fabric will accelerate deterioration and strength. That said, we still use the tarp on a run cover. If lucky, I can get a season off it before having to replace it.

I tried to see it the horizontal lumber is 2 x 4 or 1 x 4. We have breakage with 1 x 4 and 8' spans. Went to 2 x 4 with 4' spans and no problem with any load to date. And we get ice, lots of it.

Good luck.
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I think it looks fine too and I can imagine how much better it is on rainy fall days so what the heck. Maybe there's some way to make things a little more permanent for winter... hmmm. I've lived in heavy snow country too for quite a while, and even though it may not be perfect, it'll still help for a while, and there's usually a few decent days here and there where you can replace it if need be. (I don't mean warm days of course,
just not windy or nasty. Ya get used to cold!
I guess the winter months will tell the tale. Like I said, I hope it holds up. It is the heavy duty tarp. I have had one of these over another part of the deck where it's attached to my roof and comes down on a steep angle to cover the spot where I keep my firewood. That tarp has been there for about 7 or 8 years and yes, it's a little worn but it's still holding up. I think it's really important to use the bungy cords so it has some give when the winds really blow. I replace those on the firewood tarp about every 2 or 3 years.

For now... it's been a real blessing with all the rain we've been getting.
Well, on the plus side you seem to have used one of the very heavy-duty UV-stabilized silver tarps (yes?) and you seem to be in a location pretty well sheltered from wind. Those things will help.

On the minus side, that is a really flat pitch and your supports are pretty far apart, and yes you CAN rip the grommets out of those heavy silver tarps (or bend the support posts over unless they are ultra well set). That's not a bungee I see attaching the tarp to the closest post, is it?

At the very least, I guarantee that unless you are out there with a roof rake every hour during every single snowfall, you will (probably frequently) get enough snow on there to sag down and dent your run top way down.

Realistically I will bet you all the Timbits you can eat in one sitting that it will go "splat" in a heavy snowfall before Groundhog day, either rupturing the tarp or its attachments or just sagging to the point where your run is half its original height.

If there were a way to increase the steepness of the pitch and run a RIGID ridge (like a 2x6 on edge) to support the highest part, your odds would be improved. Also, STRONGLY recommend reconfiguring that "strapping" on the run top by using 2x4s (at least) ON EDGE, not on the flat as they currently are. Is the treetrunk rigidly attached to the strapping so it can't slip off one side or the other, or fall over?

Good luck, you will need it

It'll tear, just a matter of time. Save yourself the aggrevation and see if you can find some tin to put on the roof of the run. We did the tarp thing for almost 2 years and it sucked! Almost totally ruined our run walls and fencing.

Here's ours


You've got such a nice coop ... I'd think a fiberglass or metal roof over the run would go with the decor better than the tarp.

Nice to see a post from P.E.I. ... one branch of my family is originally from there. If you're of French descent, we are probably cousins.

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