Snow load on coop run mesh roof


In the Brooder
8 Years
Feb 28, 2011
I'm improving our coop run to help keep out predators. Currently just have chicken wire stretched across to keep the hawks out, but going to upgrade to hardware cloth or welded wire to make it more secure. Mesh will be screwed to top of lumber supports, 8' x 8' spans.

I'm wondering about how to melt snow load so it doesn't sag or collapse. We're in Chicagoland. I'm going to get the largest opening available (that will still keep out critters out) so that snow can fall through. But inevitably we will get wet or icy snow that will get caught. I was thinking about threading roof/gutter heater cable through the mesh and plug it in when needed, to help snow melt & prevent accumulation. Anyone have experience with these? Will it work?

If i have 100' of heater cable, i could run it back & forth across the 16' x 16' run about 6 times. Not sure if this would be enough coverage to heat enough acreage.
That sounds like a fantastic idea. I dont have any experience with that but going to stay tuned to see if anyone says it will work. Good luck to you
If the sides of the run are more than 6 feet tall, it seems unlikely that you have to keep out more than raptors. Chicken wire won't load with snow nearly so much as hardware cloth.

Heater cable is generally used to keep pipes from freezing. Small diameter of pipe, cable reasonably closely wrapped, generally used indoors to keep pipes from freezing. Used outdoors, it seems unlikely that it would heat the surrounding area sufficiently to matter at all.

How much would it take to heat the roof of your house to the same end?

It seems that simply knocking the snow off down into the run off of chicken wire would be more effective than trying to heat wire mesh suspended in mid-air.

^thanks for the response. i'm thinking you're right, probably won't be effective enough to melt all the snow unless i had the heating cables close enough together and that would be cost prohibitive.

the fence walls on my run are 8 feet tall (plastic lattice on lumber frame) and i have come upon multiple raccoons in the run - they quickly climbed over and scampered away. they ultimately broke into the coop (or more likely were waiting in the run when the automatic door opened one morning) and it was a massacre. they guilty parties have been relocated (and the door timer reset) but i want to make it more difficult for others in the future.

might just go with a 4"x4" welded wire mesh to let snow fall through. 6"x6" might allow small critters to squeeze through... to melt snow load so it doesn't sag or collapse... threading roof/gutter heater cable through the mesh and plug it in when needed...

I have a problem with running 120 VAC electrical on a ungrounded wire fence. Any cable abrasion could result in an electrocution. At least ground the mesh and plug the heater cable into a GFI

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