Covering run for the winter

Fancypants1

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 2, 2014
312
11
98
Central Massachusetts
Just wondering when I should start to think about covering the run for the winter. We are in Massachusetts and it's getting a little cold at night (40-50 degrees) and high 50's to mid-60's during the day. Still to early??? Today it was 36 degrees but will warm up to low 60's.

Also, any thoughts on how to cover the run without having it cave in from the wet snow/ice?







 

thomasboyle

Songster
7 Years
Feb 28, 2013
935
317
186
NW Hills of CT
I have a permanent roof over my run, but I wrap the sides of my run in the winter with clear vinyl, and I usually do it the night of our first snow storm, as it is snowing, and my hands are freezing!!!
smile.png
I think we still have some more nice weather in store before the snow flies, so I would wait a bit longer. I use heavy duty "hotel" shower curtains from Ocean State Job Lots. They are 6'x6', relatively cheap and are very strong. I usually get 2 winters out of of them.

Are you planning to cover the wood framed area in your pictures, or the metal posted area as well? For the wood framed area, I would add a 2x4 ridge beam running down the middle of the run, mounted 18"-24" inches above the existing top boards. Then take a tarp / vinyl sheet etc and drape it over the new ridge beam and secure it to the existing top beams so you have a sloped roof over the run. Secure the tarp with screws and washers (so the screw won't punch through the tarp).
 

Fancypants1

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 2, 2014
312
11
98
Central Massachusetts
That's too funny - I don't want to be the one out there during our first blizzard getting everything on and secured - the chickens will be in the coop laughing at me out their window. This is my first winter with chickens so I might be a little anxious.

Thanks for the info - ya I just ran out for lunch and it's 70 out - far cry from this mornings 34......so I think I have time to figure this out. I am planning on covering the original run as well as the one we added over the summer (metal posted area). I will check out Ocean State for the curtains. That is the problem I am trying to figure out - how to make a slope in the middle over both sections of the run. I saw someone used a large PVC pipe running down the top of the run just to prop it up a little but the added section I don't think is strong enough to hold that up.
 

lazy gardener

Crossing the Road
7 Years
Nov 7, 2012
27,615
26,999
917
CENTRAL MAINE zone 4B
How big is your flock? I'd worry about just securing the wood framed run, and save the metal post run for spring/summer/fall use. I can't imagine securing the posted run well enough that the snow wouldn't collapse it.
 

Fancypants1

Chirping
5 Years
Apr 2, 2014
312
11
98
Central Massachusetts
That is what I was afraid of.... We have 7 pullets. The reason we added the other part to the run was to add more space. Our Egyptian Fayoumi was pecking our Polish girls feathers off their heads - adding the extra space and isolating the EF for a few weeks stopped the pecking.

I was thinking about adding some posts (dowels) to the metal run to pop up the tarp a little. Just stick them up through chicken wire like tent poles.
 

SunkenRoadFarms

Chirping
5 Years
Sep 11, 2014
385
44
88
Maryland
The wood run should be good with poly sheething or tarps. You might have to clean heavy snow off to keep it from ripping the top. As for the metal post portion, a good heavy snow might collapse it if you tarp it. But two or three cheap plastic patio tables or picnic tables might do the trick inside to at least give them some extra snow free yard area.
 

MeepBeep

Songster
5 Years
http://www.harborfreight.com/10-ft-x-20-ft-portable-car-canopy-69034-8696.html

With at 25% off coupon it's only $112, as long as you secure and anchor it properly you will get many years of service, especially if you just use it for a few winter months...

http://s30.postimg.org/yedjyi3up/hf_25_off_12_5_14.jpg

I also believe this one has the upright legs in two sections, so depending upon the height of your run you might be able to build it half height, and make it even more secure and sturdy...
 

dclark

In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 28, 2014
31
2
36
Central Texas

MeepBeep

Songster
5 Years


Careful using that canopy in snow, they do not support snow loads and the User Manual clearly states:

2. Do not allow snow or debris to accumulate on this item.

3. Heavy, wet snow or strong wind could cause

damage or sudden collapse. Remove the Cover

when these or similar conditions are expected.

Hate to see a collapse onto the run...


This is a risk you take with pretty much any temporary or low budget covering if the snow accumulates...

As long as you take a broom/brush and keep the accumulating snow off them during heavy snow they fend pretty well...
 

MANNA-PRO

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