1. griswolfy

    griswolfy Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 19, 2008
    Nor. Cal.
    I have a few chicken coops and they are completely covered on top and it cost a lot more so was wondering if normal chicken wire can with stand 4-6 feet of snow if not what will cause I want to make a run and it would be more expensive if I have to put a cover on the hole thing?
     
  2. bantamfan

    bantamfan Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 20, 2008
    Chicken wire might hold the snow, until it melts, then your run will be
    a muddy mess, and it will get tracked into your coop, then guess who has a mess to clean out. IF it was me, I'd raise one side of the pen a foot or so higher than the other, then cover the run with corrogated clear tin like stuff that is really like tin, only a kind of fiberglass that will let the sun thru in winter to warn the birds in the run, and shield the birds in summer from a hot sun. It will hold the snow, and let it run off the top as it melts, This stuff is used for green houses by some. Yes, it will cost you a little, but you can buy the supplies a little at a time until you have what you need to finish the job all at once. A
    dry run in the bad weather will make both you and the birds happier I think. Just a thought.
     
  3. griswolfy

    griswolfy Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 19, 2008
    Nor. Cal.
    we have real rocky soil, it doesn't get real muddy but wont the tin stuff break from the snow if you have a flat topped run(because there is more drag)?
     
  4. AK-Bird-brain

    AK-Bird-brain I gots Duckies!

    May 7, 2007
    Sterling, Alaska
    If you use chicken wire your going to have to go out and knock it off every once in a while or it will stretch and sag.
    Flat tin roofs will also sag and buckle if you decide on tin you should put a slant on the roof so the snow will slide.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Whether chickenwire will stand the load depends pretty totally on how it is braced.

    If you have a large unsupported span, absolutely it will collapse I guarantee you without doubt, long BEFORE you get six feet of snow on it. (at least once per winter, possibly often, you WILL get a wet snow that does not sift between the wire meshes but instead accumulates on top and blocks them up and eventually it's as if it were a solid roof, from a snow-catching perspective)

    If you have 'rafters' every 2-3', it will hold a lot more snow before it collapses, but with enough wet snow it is likely to collapse (stretch the wire out very massively and/or rip it off its staples and/or break the wires altogether).

    If (theoretical extreme, here) you have 'rafters' every 2", you are probably good. Of course that is not a realistic design [​IMG]

    Whether roof tin collapses under the load (your concern) depends, again, entirely on how it is braced. But it will take less bracing to keep your tin up than to keep your chickenwire up, because the tin is stronger. The more slope you have to the roof, the less bracing you need (up to a point -- if you really get 4-6' snow storms, you are going to need a really well built structure no matter how you slice it).

    You can find (if you look around) technical specs for how to build your rafters/beams/posts for a given snow load requirement. This would be wise to know even for chickenwire, since chickenwire can clog with snow and become a solid surface.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  6. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    We're pleased with the clear vinyl PalRUF, similar to the product Pat has mentioned. We've been through two storms with heavy WET snow load and it's held up. Now, we fortified with joist 1 foot apart, for that purpose. Worth every penny. It cost us a little under $200 Cdn for the vinyl roofing over an area 18 ft x 9 ft.

    Now, we've decided to add snow boards on the bottom half of the hardware cloth of the run. It will take about 4 sheets of OSB, screwed to the bottom of the run, and left from Dec until snow melt. Should cut out vicious cross-winds too, we're in a belt of hills where we get high winds and snow. We've had one day where the birds were hesitant to come out because of wind chill factor but today they're on the ground and snow whistling merrily.

    These photos were taken after the first storm, the snow is much deeper today but I haven't taken pics yet.

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    One thing to contemplate about Palruf is that the mfr only recommends it down to 0 F. If you are in a snowy but warm area like Lynne seems to be, that is probably ok. I wouldn't use it somewhere real cold though, unless you want to gamble on whether it will shatter and come apart on any given day.

    Pat
     
  8. griswolfy

    griswolfy Out Of The Brooder

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    Nov 19, 2008
    Nor. Cal.
    I know how to build the rafter and stuff was just wondering if there is a material that is made for chicken coops to make building less of a hassle. All my chicken coops now have a strong design but it cost a lot because we used plywood then we put tin on top.
    It doesn't get that cold here really lowest probably 15F but the snow is literally 6 feet at times.
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:If you get a 6' snowpack then the only mesh type material I'd want to even THINK about trying to use for a roof, myself, would be cattle/hog panels (you know, they come in 16' long pieces, very heavy gauge welded wire, usually like a 6" mesh). That won't protect against smaller predators that can climb up to the roof, but it will take care of predatory birds and large predators. In principle you could put chickenwire on top of it, but then you'll be catching more snow and loading the structure more. It is quite possible that chickenwire supported every 6" or so might survive, but I dunno.

    The simplest thing would be to take a sample piece of whatever brand/gauge of chickenwire you can get out there, and play with it, loading it with different amounts of weight (put a piece of fabric or a feedbag over it, then pile gravel or whatever on top of it) when it's supported at different intervals, and see what happens. You should be able to look up the weight of 6' of snow -- unless you use something LARGE mesh like the fence panels mentioned above, I think you have to plan for the case where the snow forms a continuous cover and thus can actually pile up that deep.

    Also you might want to think about engineering the posts and 'rafters' so they'd be strong enough to support a *metal* roof, with decent good slope to it, in case the mesh doesn't work out for you and you decide to switch over after all. (e.t.a. -- you really do not need to use plywood under metal roofing if you are using a suitable gauge metal and have your rafters/nailers spaced appropriately. So that could save you a lot of weight and money right there)

    Good luck,

    Pat, glad never to have more than about 2-3' of heavy snow per storm and even that's unusual.
     
    Last edited: Nov 24, 2008

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