Easiest/cheapest way to add a snow-proof cover to a 12'X7' chain link dog run?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by sarahandbray, Nov 3, 2014.

  1. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 12, 2014
    I am not exactly "mechanically inclined" and my husband is uber-busy (read: doesn't-have-time-to-snow-proof-said-chicken-run-for-crazy-chicken-wife-at-a-moment's-notice), so I'm going to lace up my boots and do it myself, one way or another.

    I've already covered it with chicken wire, just to keep out the hawks while the chickens were younger and more susceptible to hawk attacks and covered with an old blue tarp, but this clearly isn't going to work for the winter and needs to come off ASAP before it makes the whole thing buckle under the weight of snow.

    I have a three part system (coop opening into dog run opening into 1600sf. electrified PoultryNet pasture), so I'm pretty happy with my set-up. But I would love some way to keep the snow out of the dog run area for the winter. I have read that clear, thick, cheap shower curtain liners work great for zip-tying onto the sides of the dog run (making a wind/snow block) but I need something for the roof.

    What can I build or buy that is sturdy and won't cost a fortune?? I have easy access to Craigslist, Lowe's/Home Depot, and a father-in-law's garage with a little bit of everything ;)

    Thanks in advance....

    New Crazy Chicken Lady, Sarah
  2. snoopysflock

    snoopysflock Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 10, 2014
    Northern north carolina
    i would try strapping a tarp on the run and zip tie it down
  3. sarahandbray

    sarahandbray Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 12, 2014
    Thanks! I'm just afraid the weight of the snow will add up and up collapsing the run or the tarp will fall in without a pitched roofline...
  4. Cincinnati Jim

    Cincinnati Jim Out Of The Brooder

    Feb 19, 2014
    Am also looking to cover my chicken yard of 10'x10'. Have it covered with chicken wire, like you, and have been trying to come up with something to keep rain and snow out. Sorry to say I have not found a solution yet. If I come up with anything will let you know, and please let me know if you find an answer. I to am not good with lumber and stuff.....and I am a guy....ha ha......Jim from Cincinnati
  5. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2012
    Conway SC
    There is no "cheap" way unless you can get free/almost free material. To cover these pens you must have a raised center like a house roof and it must be where the snow/rain can run off without collecting towards the outer wall/fence/sides. If you were to use a tarp and raised the center say 2ft---where the tarp goes over the sides will usually bag and start collecting water and WILL colapsed the whole pen. A tarp just layed flat Will Not work---It will cause the chickens to get crushed when it gives way and falls in(unless you do like I described below---for rain only).

    The cheapest thing to do is go get a few free pallets and place them on the dirt---at the highest end(if your ground is not level) of your pen forming a upside down V look---you know like a A without the center line(lol). You can then put a secured Tarp over that. This will give them something to get under.

    You can build a A roof over your pen but you really need to use post/timbers to the ground to support the roof instead of the fence sides.

    For rain only I have stretched a flat tarp over the top of the pen, then run a little water on it to find its LOWEST point where the water settles. I then stick my knife in this spot to allow the water to drain through. Then I cut a hole in the tarp about the size of a baseball. I set a 5 gallon bucket of bigger on the dirt under this hole with a 2" +/- hole on the side of the bucket close to the bottom. "I" then use a 2" piece of pvc pipe stuck in this hole and sealed. This pipe runs to the outside of the pen on the lowest side so the water can run away. You could dig a shallow trench away from the bucket instead of using the pipe if you want but I am sure you will have to keep refreshing the trench because of the chickens scratching. When it rains the water will go through the baseball size hole, fall in the bucket then run away keeping the rest of the area dry under the tarp.

    You can also use a clean barrel instead of the bucket---adding a over flow drain at the top----then you can walk right in with a pail and get some water to water your chickens---LOL. I always put wire over the top of the bucket/barrel to keep young chicks from falling in.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2014
  6. alije

    alije Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 5, 2009
  7. Hillsborough

    Hillsborough Out Of The Brooder

    Sep 8, 2014
    I went by one of the local fencing companies and bought some cut to size top rail posts (two 1ft lengths and one 10.5 ft length) and some braces from Lowes to make this... It cost me a total of about $50 and is working well for me here. I haven't had snow yet, but the rain runs off very well so far. This isn't my pen, just an image of what the top looks like.

  8. PD-Riverman

    PD-Riverman Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 14, 2012
    Conway SC
    This top will not work for alot of snow----light snow---yea. For rain all I can say is you better keep the tarp tight, then it will work---if it bags just a little close to where it goes over the sides----It will collect water and get worse, then the sides will bend in and go down.
    Last edited: Nov 4, 2014
  9. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    Wet snow and ice will be very heavy.

    I use a few sheets of old tin (if no free material, you can buy plastic 4x8 corrugated sheets in Lowes). Fasten them to lumber frame to provide rigidity. No short cut in making it strong enought for snow load. You might want to cover only a portion of your run (by or near the pop door) enough for some activity. Pitch the cover so it drains away.
  10. 11mini

    11mini Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 17, 2014
    Lake Stevens, WA
    The pitch of the roof is the most important aspect. If you get a lot of wet snow you need a steep slope to get the snow to slide off. With your dimensions, the middle of the peak should be at least 3-4 feet higher in the center than on the sides.

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