Chicken Run - Roof and "snow proofing" help

The Mastiff

Hatching
Aug 24, 2019
2
0
7
Hello - first time poster. I've been putting in a run for our three chickens. My wife wanted something big enough she could walk in without having to hunch over, so it ended up being pretty tall (8 foot tall maybe?). Also, we live in minnesota so we'd like it to be snow proof so the chickens can have some space during the winter.

Does anyone have any advice on roofing options and how to snow proof the sides?

For the roof I was thinking of doing a slanted roof using SunTuf.

For the sides I was going to use plexiglass

Anyone have any suggestions/thought?

I attached some pics of the run so far.


Thanks!
IMG_5081.jpg
IMG_5082.jpg
IMG_5083.jpg
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
7,203
18,533
632
South Park, Colorado, USA
It doesn’t have to be 100% snow free, you just don’t want the snow to be 4 feet deep in there. Anything you add to the top or sides will help mitigate the snow. Think about a few things... you want to be sure the human door to the run opens out otherwise you won’t be able to get in if there is snow in the run because the door would be pushing against the snow. If it opens out, you can shovel around the gate on the outside and easily open it. Second, if the top is sloped/slanted it won’t hold as much snow and will allow for melting snow to drip/run off. I have found plexiglass to get brittle and crack/break when used outside, I’m not sure if this is from my uv at altitude or if it’s from cold exposure, something to look into before committing to it, definitely drill pilot holes for any screws that might go through the plexi if you choose to use it. Things I have used to make snow/wind blocks, old pallets, old windows (in summer they go on my cold frames in winter they go on the chicken run), plastic (like big drop cloth rolls from the painting section of the hardware store), plywood.
 

DobieLover

Easily distracted by chickens
Premium Feather Member
Jul 23, 2018
32,196
261,087
1,642
NY Southern Tier
My Coop
My Coop
I would put a solid roof on the entire run as you are in a cold climate and that run is pretty much where the flock will stay during winter.
Your roof does not appear to have a pitch to it.
It MN you will want pitch so the roof will drain.
You will need to remove the cross bracing and install vertical supports between the bottom and top plates, spaced 24" on center.
Then you could build a knee wall about 24" high, again with 24" OC spacing centered over your wall supports on the front wall of the run.
Install rafters (I'd use 2x6) 24" OC then purlins running 90 degrees to the rafters. The purlins are what you screw the polycarbonate panels into.
Enclose the entire run using 1/2" hardware cloth attached with poultry staples or screws and washers to secure it. Extend the HC out about 18 to 24" along the ground for a predator apron.
As for the walls, in the winter you can cover them with clear tarps for a wind block.
This is how I did my run and although the flock has daily access to about a 1/3-acre pen, they spend an awful lot of time in their run.
run finished.jpg


Lots of logs and branches in the run are well used.
IMG_20190712_155421988.jpg
 
Last edited:

Rivington

Songster
May 17, 2017
63
163
121
I have used the corrugated poly panels from Lowe's for roofing. I think they are 8' long. You don't need to cover the whole run (mine don't) but you need them at a slight angle to allow snow and rain to run off. Have a look at http://www.thegardencoop.com/large-chicken-coop-plans.html for inspiration. Looking at your setup one suggestion I would make is to align your coop so that you can collect eggs without walking into the run. I'm not sure how easy this with the model of coop you have, but it saves you getting poopy shoes every time you collect eggs. Another suggestion is to have a little more clearance at the bottom of the door into the run. I wish I had done this because the door gets snowed in and the bottom gets icy and difficult to open in the winter.
 

blackandtan

Crowing
Aug 30, 2016
906
4,050
297
Thunder Bay Ontario canada
Metal roofing and a very steep pitch! Don’t be shy to make it 3:1, even 4:1, then there’s room to put a high perch also; I get loads of snow here too and I know how not fun it is to have to shovel the house...garage...barn...coop etc, everything we build now is with incredibly steep roofs
 

Rivington

Songster
May 17, 2017
63
163
121
One more thing (although you didn't ask) - make sure you put an apron of hardware cloth or welded wire around the exterior to keep digging predators out.
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Mar 11, 2017
7,203
18,533
632
South Park, Colorado, USA
I have used the corrugated poly panels from Lowe's for roofing. I think they are 8' long. You don't need to cover the whole run (mine don't) but you need them at a slight angle to allow snow and rain to run off. Have a look at http://www.thegardencoop.com/large-chicken-coop-plans.html for inspiration. Looking at your setup one suggestion I would make is to align your coop so that you can collect eggs without walking into the run. I'm not sure how easy this with the model of coop you have, but it saves you getting poopy shoes every time you collect eggs. Another suggestion is to have a little more clearance at the bottom of the door into the run. I wish I had done this because the door gets snowed in and the bottom gets icy and difficult to open in the winter.

Yes! I second the part about your door. The bottom of my door has frozen to the ground one too many times. I am rebuilding it this summer so I would have a step of about a foot to get into my run, but that means I should only have issues on the days we get more than a foot of snow all at once.
 

wamtazlady

Crowing
8 Years
Jul 18, 2013
1,713
2,137
316
Kalispell MT
My run has a steep pitch to keep the snow off. It's shiny metal so the snow slides off pretty easily. I looked at plexiglass for the sides but that was out of my budget. I ended up using clear vinyl shower curtains. Last year I bought the shower curtains at the Dollar Store and it was a big mistake. In the middle of winter they needed replaced. In the past the other shower curtains I had bought from Walmart lasted the whole winter without an issue.
 

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