Run Roof w/Tarp


9 Years
Sep 24, 2010
Hi Everyone, I see some ppl have tarps over their runs, how do they keep the rain off or snow? I had a tarp for part of the year last year on our flat roof run but everytime it rained it sagged and just filled up with water. Also snow is definitely an issue here in CT so we took it off soon as the cold weather came. Trying to figure out something that will work with the water and snow and give my girls some shade and protection. The run is approx 26 x 30. Thanks for any feedback, Have a great day


Flock Mistress
12 Years
Apr 20, 2007
Ontario, Canada
Honestly anything you rig up with a tarp is going to be a temporary structure. At some point, it will start sagging enough for rain/snow to collapse it, or a big storm wind will catch it the wrong way and WHEEEEEEE! away goes the tarp and possibly what it's attached to as well.

If you MUST use a tarp for now, I would suggest a strongly built A-frame structure (just as a shady place within the run, I mean, not by any means to *cover* the run!), or as a slightly inferior solution make a fairly steep not-too-wide hoop structure to cover with the tarp, either out of cattle panels supported by a wood frame (a 'spine' and posts holding it up plus some diagonal bracing) or out of pvc or conduit supporting a welded wire mesh layer that you put your tarp on top of (again, must be further braced).

It would be a lot better (more durable, less prone to catastrophic failure at inconvenient moments) to roof part of the run. Basically you would be building a *building* of <whatever> size, only instead of solid walls you have them either mesh or just air, with additional diagonal bracing to stabilize it vs wind since there is no wall sheathing to do that. It is not cheap but if built right it will last at least as long as you will

Good luck, have fun,


Farmer Andy

9 Years
Dec 12, 2010

Hello, I too had a tarp over my run. I did have some bracing underneath but, snow would make it sag and when the weather would warm up water would leak into the run causing a mess.
I then decided to build a shed roof over the run. I used 2x4s for the framing and some plywood I got off Craigslist for free. I then covered the shed roof with a tarp, lag screwed and washered
through the gromets. This not only kept it tight and from flapping in the breeze but made it more visually pleasing for the neighbors. A little more expensive than light-duty framing but I don't have
to worry about catastrophic failure. Also saves the expense of shingles or other roofing material. Hope this helps a little.


Opa-wan Chickenobi
12 Years
May 11, 2008
Howell Michigan
I wanted to install netting over my run but I was concerned about snow building up on the mesh and collapsing. So I went with a center pole and rafters. The first year I had as much a 24" of snow standing on top of it with no problem. Rather than endure another winter of shovel snow from the run, for the last two years I've wrapped the sides with a tarp and the roof as well. Works great. The birds have a dry run all winter.


9 Years
Sep 24, 2010
Thanks so much for all the suggestions everyone, all of them sound good run is kinda of big so will have to figure out what we can kind of cheap but stable besides.


Heavenly Grains for Hens
9 Years
Jun 8, 2010
Pacific NW- where the Douglas Firs grow
For a temporary fix, you can do as I have done and take a sawhorse with a canvas tarp. Stake out the sides in the dirt, leaving the "wings" of the structure drooping down for rain and snow runoff. The center is the sawhorse. The chickens have shade and wind protection (if the wings of it touch the ground).

You need a 9 x 12 tarp or something similar in size. The chickens love it when I put this up for them. I even put the feeder under it, hanging from the sawhorse.


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