Could the tarp I put on my chicken run be keeping my chickens from laying eggs?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Floof, Dec 8, 2015.

  1. Floof

    Floof Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 28, 2015
    Hi everyone! I'm not sure if this question is in the right place but here goes. I put a tarp on my chicken run a couple weeks ago to keep my 5 barred rock girls dryer during our wet season. It had been raining for days on end and my pullets, now 19 weeks old, were getting muddy and just generally looked a little unhappy about all the damp. I am new to chickens and am eagerly awaiting our first eggs but I'm starting to worry that the tarp is making them think the days are getting shorter. They have been going to roost about an hour to an hour and a half before sunset. I read on here that chickens don't produce as well during the winter months but I had hoped that since I live in a warm climate (Hawaii) that we would be less affected. If I remove the tarp the chickens will probably get rained on occasionally, although the weather has been okay the last week, but will it encourage them to start laying because it will be brighter? I built the coop and run using materials that I got for free and built it up by our house because we didn't have any flat areas in our smaller yard, so the shape is a little peculiar. With the triangular shape I was able to give the chickens as much walking room as possible while not having to go out for more materials. The downside is the tarp is making it seem a little like a cave. I really appreciate any help or advice from more seasoned chicken-people. Thanks [​IMG]

    I built the coop right outside our laundry room so I can feed and water them without having to go into the rain. I'm also hoping to be able to harvest eggs this way.

    This is the outside of the run with the tarp.

    This sort of gives you an idea of how dark it is in there with the tarp on. I took the picture in late afternoon but it was still fully light out. My chickies always run over to say hi [​IMG]

    So what do you think? If I take off the tarp will it encourage them to start laying and is it worth them maybe getting a little rained on every once in a while?
  2. wamtazlady

    wamtazlady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 18, 2013
    Kalispell MT
    I can see that the tarp made your run a lot darker. If I were you I think I would remove the tarp. Then I might put up a clear shower curtain to give them a dry area when it is raining. I wouldn't cover the whole area as you don't want it getting too hot in there. Sometime in the next month or so they might start to lay. The days will be getting longer again. When the pullet's combs turn red, when they start to squat when you put your hand on their back, and when there are 2 finger widths between their pelvic bones you will get your first eggs.
    Bek likes this.
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT

    This is 6 ft polycarbon clear roofing. Comes in 8 and 12 ft lengths too. A clear, permanent solution. Or just use 6 mil clear plastic in a roll.

    No I'm not a Home Despot advocate, happened to have that page open comparing prices to local. Need to put up my lean to snow and wind shield structure this week too. I've got old roofing tin so just need to frame something in PT board.
  4. ChickenMammX4

    ChickenMammX4 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 17, 2015
    SW Ohio
    We bought a really nice clear tarp on Amazon. Wasn't cheap but well-made and should last for years.
  5. kimberley848

    kimberley848 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 8, 2014
    So. Cal
    I wanted to note that from what I found after getting PBRs they generally start laying around 24wks. I used a tarp over my girls run for about 1-1/2 yrs, and once they started laying, the "dark" from the tarp didn't seem to bother them and their laying habits. My girls like the dry better as they seemed to lay less when it was wet, damp or muddy, so I left the tarp up and didn't worry about less light. We graduated to a solid roof for their run just last month. The clear shower curtain is a great idea. [​IMG]
  6. aldarita

    aldarita Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 2, 2012
    Brenham TX
    ditto to that. I think you should change the tarp and use a clear one but allow for some ventilation because where you are it could get very hot in there. I have put some clear tarps in my runs and the light come right thru them.

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