1. ndfarmer19

    ndfarmer19 Chirping

    33
    45
    54
    Sep 2, 2019
    Northern North Dakota
    Winter is here!! What’s the best way to keep snow out of my run? It’s partially Covered with plywood. Should I put clear tarps on the side for shelter? They will
    Still want some sun. What’s my best option? Thanks!
     
  2. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

    16,638
    20,493
    906
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Pictures will help here.
    Unless your run has a roof, you will be shoveling, because generally chickens hate snow!
    Make sure that any roofing is adequate to support your snow load, so there's not going to be a disaster, and you won't have to be out there at 2am removing snow during a blizzard!
    Vinyl sheeting or tarps, well secured, on three sides of your run, with the leeward or south side at least partially open, will be an excellent way to keep them happy in winter.
    There must be enough ventilation, preferably just under the roof, or at least about four to six feet above the ground.
    Mary
     
  3. bajabirdbrain

    bajabirdbrain Songster

    250
    377
    157
    Dec 30, 2016
    Whidbey Island, WA
    North Dakota! Yikes, you should really consider a solid roof and something to keep the snow from falling/blowing into their run. We get a little snow, an inch or two a few times per winter so I elected to go easy and cheap. Only one end and one side of the run needed to be protected to keep all the snow out. I chose Dollar Tree clear shower curtains, with duct tape reenforcing the corners and grommets installed. I use a combination of snap rings(carabiner type) and wire to hold them in place. I feel a dry run is mandatory for the health and enjoyment of our girls. We let them out an hour or two per day for a supervised free ranging even when it is raining or snowing. The plastic also serves as a wind break during the winter which I assume the girls approve of.

    Good luck!

    IMG_1284.JPG
    IMG_1285.JPG
     
  4. gtaus

    gtaus Crowing

    1,383
    4,669
    337
    Mar 29, 2019
    Northern Minnesota
    My Coop
    This is my first winter with laying hens here in northern Minnesota and I had the same question(s). I got lots of recommendations for a domed cattle panel hoop house or an A Frame run. Obviously, we are concerned about snow fall and snow load. A flat roof is a non starter in my opinion as we can easily get 18-24 inches of snow in one day. That would collapse many flat roofs for a chicken run.

    Having said that, my first choice was to build a chicken coop about twice the size recommended for my birds. Many people told me that their chickens will not go out in the snow and the best way to keep them safe and happy is to over build the chicken coop to start. I open to pop door everyday, but if the chicken run is all white with snow, my girls are happy to stay inside their coop.
     
    Susan Dye, Sequel, so lucky and 6 others like this.
  5. bajabirdbrain

    bajabirdbrain Songster

    250
    377
    157
    Dec 30, 2016
    Whidbey Island, WA
    Snow load can definitely be a concern. I didn't really consider snow load when I built our coop/run and used 1"x4" rafters and an almost flat roof, sloped mainly for rain to sheet off of. We got about 6" of snow last year and the door was sticking when trying to open it, also the plastic corrugated roofing wasn't very stiff. I ended up raking the snow off the roof. Recently we had a hail storm punch holes in the plastic roofing so I replaced it with metal roofing. Should stiffen up the roof BUT, in hindsight I should have built the run to withstand anticipated snow load. IF you live where you can get significant snow, it seems a no brainer to build accordingly, more slope and stronger framing. There is NO downside to having a larger, dry, and protected run for the chickens except $$, work, space!! But if that were a consideration(after the fact), I should buy eggs at the store!!!!!

    IMG_1056.JPG
     
    Lilyput, Susan Dye, RCinNM and 11 others like this.
  6. Folly's place

    Folly's place Crossing the Road

    16,638
    20,493
    906
    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    We built a bit over code for a house, and I'm glad!
    You can do it once, or do it over, and if you happen to be out there when that underbuilt roof collapses, it won't only be the chickens who suffer...
    When a 35 ft. tall spruce fell on our coop, it punched a few holes in the roof, but no other damage. Nothing fell apart, and only the tree and the roof needed some repair. A flimsier structure would likely have collapsed.
    Mary
     
    Susan Dye, Peepsi, so lucky and 8 others like this.
  7. gtaus

    gtaus Crowing

    1,383
    4,669
    337
    Mar 29, 2019
    Northern Minnesota
    My Coop
    I tell myself that every day. :lau

    I have kept track of all my chicken expenses. Of course, the main cost of building the coop is a one time expense (I hope). Anyway, after 400 eggs, I have my cost down to just over $2.00 per egg! Thank goodness I had most of the lumber I needed to build the coop and, of course, I never factored in my time or labor into the coop build.

    I think you have to have realistic expectations of raising a backyard flock and the cost of eggs. Our local big box supermarket had eggs on sale for 68 cents per dozen a couple of weeks ago. I don't know anybody with a small flock that can produce eggs at that price. :idunno

    But, to the OP's concern, it's another snowy day here in northern Minnesota and my chickens are all in the coop. I am considering a number of options for a covered chicken run build for next year. My girls see white on the ground and they don't bother going outside at all.
     
  8. bajabirdbrain

    bajabirdbrain Songster

    250
    377
    157
    Dec 30, 2016
    Whidbey Island, WA
    $2 per egg! You are a brave soul to keep track of the expense. I am worried our chicken grocery bill is starting to rival the cost of feeding our dog, my wife and myself! But you have to admit the thrill of cleaning poop, hanging treats, constantly counting how many and where they are during free ranging, coming up with new names, is priceless! If we had know what was involved BEFORE we got chickens, sigh!

    IMG_1097.JPG
     
    Susan Dye, so lucky, BDutch and 8 others like this.
  9. Zach123

    Zach123 Songster

    119
    77
    139
    Mar 10, 2012
    Platteville, CO
    Covering an almost 1000 sqft run would be cost prohibitive for me. Tarps and things, no matter how tightly you think you have them stretched, sag ever closer to the ground with every inch of snow that lands on them, rendering my nice 6 1/2' tall walk in run a mere couple inches at best, especially with heavy, wet, March, April, and May storms. So I let the snow fall in the run, open the coop door so as the birds have the option of going outside should they choose and let them decide. After a couple days, at least one has had enough of being "cooped up" (pun fully intended) and the others follow.

    Fortunately for the birds (and me, I hate snow far more than any chicken I have ever met) out here on the high plains, we don't usually have snow on the ground for too many days in a row. Eventually the sun comes back out and combined with our near constant wind, it melts off relatively quickly (at almost 5,000 ft, our intense sun and the Chinook winds off the Rockies, melts snow and ice even when the official temperature is quite a few degrees below freezing) so both me and chickens can get back our regularly scheduled programming in short order.
     
    Susan Dye, RCinNM, BDutch and 2 others like this.
  10. CindyinSD

    CindyinSD Free Ranging

    I wrapped my run in 6’ x 30’ tarps from Amazon. I put them up yesterday, lining most of the north with a gray tarp (cheaper) and south (translucent reinforced tarp) sides. Hopefully they’re weathering this storm successfully. I fastened them with heavy duty zip ties & so far they seem to be standing up pretty well. We’ll see tomorrow when the snow settles. So far there’s a drift to the south of the northernmost tarp. It blew in from the west, but that’s because of an eddy in the wind created by the north tarp. The wind is always from the north or south—there are mountains east and west. There’s snow pretty much everywhere... the tarps displaced it but didn’t keep it out. I’m guessing upward of a foot but it’s really windy, so it’s difficult to tell.

    I have only three roosters in there, plus around 30 turkeys and a few ducks & geese. The roosters are the only ones that mind the snow and there’s a good-sized coop for them and anyone else smart enough to go inside. Otherwise I might wrap the west & maybe the east to keep out drifting.

    My chickens and other roos are in the greenhouse with no need to leave and no motivation at present. I will say that some breeds (Buckeyes for one) are much less leery of the snow and teach the more timid to come on out and scratch around in a reasonable amount of snow... not like what we’re getting at present, though. They might just fall in and disappear.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: