Run "roof" and snow

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by RIBill, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. RIBill

    RIBill Chirping

    Nov 7, 2010
    This question covers a couple related issues, but here is the primary one: I have a run which is roughly 10'x15'. The walls are 4' high 2" square wire fence (lined with plastic chicken wire from when they were chicks). The posts are widely spaced medium duty T-posts. In order to secure them from predators from the sky, keep out wild birds, and keep them from jumping out into my yard, I covered the run with a bird netting roof. The other day, it rained a decent amount and the netting was drooped down to about 3' from the ground. We get a lot of sticky, wet snow in the winter. I'm concerned that I will be fighting a losing battle if I leave the net up, but I really don't want to have my chickens escape and be eaten by loose dogs (lots of them) or piss off the neighbors. Will the chickens jump a 4' wire fence? I plan to shovel the run in significant storms, so the full fence height will be at least 3'6". FYI, I have 6 Rhode Island Reds who definitely can't fly, but I have seen them jump to get a leaf offered at 3-year-old-kid head height which is about 3'6". I just don't know if they could make it the last foot or so to get their feet on/over the wire.

  2. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    The snow will definitely bog down your bird netting, especially the wet stuff. Yes, your birds can most likely fly over 4 ft. fence if they want to. On the plus side, they often won't try to fly over wire fence. It's been suggested that wire fence with no top bar (like chain link has) makes it really difficult for the birds to tell how high the fence is (plus there's nothing to land/perch on), so maybe that's why. And of course your birds will be more vulnerable to any hawks. But without a solid run roof, or a sturdy framed one with wire, your options are limited. You can always go with taller metal posts and taller wire if you find that they're jumping ship...maybe give it a shot over a weekend when you'll be home to keep an eye on things.

    ETA: Oh, and [​IMG]
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2010
  3. annie3001

    annie3001 My Girls

    Jun 11, 2009
    we use a strong tarp on top of our outside run. it was very good this past winter. its the same tarp and its held up nicely. [​IMG]
    i bought it from home-depot.
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    You can certainly try a tarp, and sometimes it won't come down (esp. if strung at an angle and you go out and get the snow off of it frequently as the snow falls).... but they have a very, very poor track record. Strong tendency to collapse, sometimes taking run structure with them, and occasionally even killing chickens.

    They can certainly go over a 4' fence if they want to. There is no way of predicting whether they'll want to.

    COuld you possibly add another 2' of even just 2" chickenwire atop the existing fence? If it is a bit floppy and there is no top rail, it may LOOK kind of ugly but they are less inclined to challenge it b/c they can't easily see where it is. (OBviously this is not predatorproofing type fence, I'm just talking about 'chicken containment')

    Ultimately the best solution is to build an actual roof on the run, but that is basically tantamount to building a wall-less shed and is not necessarily easy or cheap, so may be something to contemplate for future years. It really is GREAT to have a roofed run (or part of run), though!

    GOod luck, have fun,


  5. We decided to roof, and used vinyl with joists 1' apart. Has worked well even in heavy snow.

    Can be seen in links below [​IMG]
  6. sunflowerenvy

    sunflowerenvy Songster

    Apr 4, 2010
    south/west tn
    yes rrr can fly over a 4 ft fence our flew over our 8 ft fence in florida
    you need to replace the the bird net with someelse .
    i would put up fencingand put it angle so the snow could slide off it .
    if you get alot of wet snow the metal roof or cloth trap will cave in . in tennesee it happens alot
  7. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Songster

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    Here is a picture of my run. It is only 10x10 but you could easily do a 10x15 the same way. I used 2 sections of pvc pipe to make the hoops (I cut each one down so the top was just over my head). I drilled holes in 2x4's and just stuck the pvc pipe into the holes. I used a piece of molding I found in the garage to screw to the top of the hoops to hold them upright, then covered them with wire. I think you could do the same with the bird netting/tarp and the snow would not weigh it down. I am sure you could figure out a way to attach the pvc pipes to your t posts (big zip ties or bungee cords?) and adapt this to fit your current situation. It may not even take 2 pvc pipes since they wouldn't be going all the way to the ground. If I remember right I used 3/4" pvc pipe. If attaching it to the T posts didn't work, you could drive a stake into the ground and just slip the pvc over that instead. I know Walmart has some really long, heavy duty tent stakes (they look like huge nails with a plastic piece on the end that would hold down the tent, that plastic piece will slide off) and you could just drive them into the ground and leave 4 inches or so sticking up to put the pvc pipe over. If you go ahead and cover it with wire (I used 1x2" welded wire) then you would have a very secure run and would not have to worry about anything getting over the fence. I also laid some wire down on the ground and staked it down with smaller tent stakes and nothing can get in unless I leave the gate open. Except maybe a bear! Hope this helps or at least gives you some ideas!
    This is what it looks like when I attached it to my coop.

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