To roof or not to roof...that is the question.


5 Years
Apr 28, 2017
Moscow, ID
Hi! My hubby and I have a quarter acre "urban farm". We live in a neighborhood in a small-medium town. We're making our lot as sustainable and as much like a farm as we can get away with! Thankfully our neighbors love it. We got 3 chicks in March and cleaned out our garden shed for them. It's pretty spacious - about 12'x6''. We put 1/4" hardware cloth over the two windows. The floor is wooden and the eaves are well vented. The 3 chickens have full run of the now coop but in 2 weeks we're going to build them an 8x8' run attached. Living in north Idaho, we get a ton of snow, sometimes more than others. This year, hubby had to shovel our own roof! The coop is in nearly constant shade from some tall neighbor trees. It gets morning sun.

I'm trying to decide if we should put a roof on the run or not. They'll have the 72 sq ft shed in winter so if the run gets full of snow it's not like they won't have space. I'll not ever have more than 5 chickens due to city ordinance so no chicken math to fight against. Who would roof the run and who wouldn't? If you would roof it, would you do corrugated metal or the corrugated plastic panels? I don't think the greenhouse effect would be an issue due to the afternoon shade. We don't want to just tarp it in the winter because of vanity - we're trying to be advocates for sustainable living and have it appeal to people who think it's ugly or dirty or too much work, etc.

Attached are a couple pictures from 2 years ago. The windows aren't boarded up now, of course, and we're in the process of painting it. The run will go where the corn is in the picture. And don't worry, we'll be digging up the daffodils!

Thoughts anyone?


May 23, 2016
Pacific Northwest
every time I consider whether to put a roof on a run I come back to the same conclusion, chickens do best with a roofed run unless they are free ranged. after seeing what happens in my friends unroofed runs, they turn into a muddy, stinky, biological soup, I give up and put a roof on. chickens seem to like a dry place to sun and dust more than they like open sky, so positioning the run so that some morning and later afternoon sun comes in makes them happy. I live in Western WA, so the climate is somewhat different, but not that different. your challenge with a roof is probably more snow accumulate and weight capacity, so a steeper pitch perhaps may be the trick to avoiding overload in the winter months. I have thought about how cool it would be to have a retractible roof that I could open up during the dry times but I have settled on a translucent corrugated roof that I found at Lowes, it's very sun resistant, lets light in but seems quite durable. that's my 2 eggs worth, actual mileage may very :~).


Mar 17, 2015
SW Ohio
We have a pretty large coop, even so I'm so glad our run is covered. The rain/snow still blows in at times but for the most part everything stays pretty dry. I can imagine what a muddy, stinky mess it would be with our spring rains!


May 5, 2017
Independence MO
Beautiful yard!! My chicks are arriving later this week a newbie. I'm roofing mine, plywood with a white metal roof over it. Mine will be in the hot Missouri sun so figured the option of shade will be good. I will add straw bales in the fall on the western and north side to block some of the frigid winds and protection from the winds in our spring storms.

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