Supporting snow in winter

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by kylemsenger, Sep 13, 2018.

  1. Current set up would support the snow weight if flat tarped

    0 vote(s)
  2. Idea of securing mega heavy duty tarp to garage and edge of run should work fine.

    0 vote(s)
  3. Neither is a good idea you need to go the hard route and better brace the actual structure.

    12 vote(s)
  4. There is an even easier way and I'll message you to explain.

    1 vote(s)
  1. kylemsenger

    kylemsenger In the Brooder

    Sep 7, 2018
    Hey everyone! Cleveland Ohio here! We get mild winters or arctic winters with several feet of snow overnight and little in between!
    We are new to raising chickens, we do know we need to get a cover over the run for winter but don't think the current structure will support the weight of the snow. (See the photos below) Our run is 8x8 and 7ft high, this is really more of a structural question than about chickens but how do you suggest we cover the run and ensure it doesn't collapse under the weight of the snow?

    One idea we had was to buy like as SUPER heavy duty tarp (like the ones they make bounce houses out of, they are like $80 for an 8x10) and attach it to the garage wall and have it come down at an angle to the outer edge of the run. Would that support the weight of the snow or am i fooling myself?

    What are your thoughts? I'll make a poll to make it easy but more detailed replies are certainly welcome! 20180912_114052.jpg 20180912_114105.jpg 20180912_114128.jpg
  2. flyin-lowe

    flyin-lowe Songster

    Jan 24, 2016
    In northern Ohio you definitely need to get some type of sloped roof over that coop. A good heavy snow will build up on that hardware cloth even without a tarp on it. It doesn't look like there is enough of a slope if you attach a tarp to the roof and then run it out to the edge of the run. What is the height difference between the roof line and the top of the run? If I'm reading correctly they far edge of the run would be 8 foot away from the building. Someone on here will chime in and tell you how high the other side should be to slope 8 foot out. Do the chickens have access to the building, is that their coop? I see what looks like roosting poles in the picture just didn't know what they have for shelter.
  3. WthrLady

    WthrLady Crowing

    Jul 24, 2014
    WestOak, Nebraska
    Since you are OK with screwing wood to your existing building add a horizontal support about a foot above your current run roofline on the building. DO NOT change your current run roof, you are simply adding an additional frame above.

    Run side and center supports from this new horizontal piece to the far end. What you are doing is creating a frame for a slanted roof. Add hardware cloth to the triangular openings that your create just to keep out squirrels/raccoons/birds and then top the new roof with steel panels from the local hardware store. Not only will it allow for rain and snow melt runoff, but snow will want to build up less on a slope, and IF it does (darn lake snow bands) it is simply pulled off with a push broom or roof rake.
  4. jreardon1918

    jreardon1918 Songster

    Jul 13, 2016
    Southeast, MA
    My Coop
    Our main run is 8x8. It is close enough to flat that the snow piles up. The roof cover is two sheets of plywood. I use a snow rake to remove the snow when it gets high. There are more supports (joists?) to distribute the load. This did work last winter and we had quite a bit of snow. If you can follow the advice where you can slope the roof that will make it easier to remove snow and it will send rain away from the main structure. You might also consider some clear plastic on the two side walls. Here are a couple pictures of my run. I am not a builder and the snow weight might be more than this design should handle. But pulling the snow off has worked.

    Attached Files:

    Chick-N-Fun likes this.
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Adding a sloped solid roof will help, even with rain runoff in summer, but you're still gonna need a roof rake.
  6. kylemsenger

    kylemsenger In the Brooder

    Sep 7, 2018
    Thanks, there would only be about a foot from the top of the garage to the top of the run but that is about the pitch of my garage roof which handles the snow ok...
    They do not have the garage yet, considering giving it to them next year, they have a small store bought coop attached to the back of the run. Sounds like everyone's advice is stop being lazy and build the damn roof :( Just sucks cause i just built the run and totally spaced on the whole "it snows here" thing for the roof which is crazy because of the amount of research i have done on securing the coop itself for the winter...smh
    Cryss and snow5164 like this.
  7. kylemsenger

    kylemsenger In the Brooder

    Sep 7, 2018
    I think it looks great! I was definitely planning to cover the sides with plastic tarps as well (i really like the idea of getting a few of the disposable shower curtains at the 99 cent store because they are nice and thick but also very clear) Sounds like the consensus is "Stop being lazy, build a proper roof" i think deep down i knew this but was looking for someone to tell me there was an easier way lol! thanks!
  8. kylemsenger

    kylemsenger In the Brooder

    Sep 7, 2018
    Thanks for the detailed advice! I planned and planned to make my run "predator proof" and forgot the minor detail of snow!...after all that work I so just wanted to be done but it looks like i have another project ahead!
    Cryss and snow5164 like this.
  9. snow5164

    snow5164 Crowing

    May 16, 2015
    You could add galvanized sheets of metal roofing ,like what is used on farm buildings facing the side of the coop ( not where the door is :))

    Just block it up and rain and snow will slide off , our metal gets warm and the snow slides off even on “ cold” days .can you see we slanted the first 10 feet of run for rain/snow 0F6086A1-DA96-46CC-9A7B-C07FCF3454AF.jpeg 687D304F-758F-4407-9C5B-EF5553470CF7.jpeg ED6F1D0A-FA97-4649-BC5A-4991263B506D.jpeg
    Last edited: Sep 14, 2018
    Varagol likes this.
  10. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Don't try a soft roof like tarpaulin or similar for snow support.
    Another idea is to run EMT (thinwall conduit) across the top wired in place as support for some galvanized sheets of roofing. You can slope it slightly so the melting snow and rain can drain outside the run. If the snow load gets really heavy, you can wedge some 7+' 2x4s vertically in the middle of the EMT to prevent it from collapsing.
    I have a chain link dog run covered like that.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: