Too roof or not to roof?


10 Years
Apr 23, 2009
So, I've been checking out lots of folks designs and construction. What I see a lot of are runs with no roofs. We have had a couple of "hawk" incidents during free range time, but none so far in the run (which isn't roofed). We are redesigning the run this year and I'm thinking a roof is necessary. Any thoughts on this, because this definitely ups the "ante" on expense).
When you say "roof" are you talking about an actual roof, or just a covered run (like a chicken wire covering?). My run is covered, but not roofed. I'd like to roof it with those clear panels, but DANG!! it's just so expensive!
Our run once finished will be covered in chicken wire but will only have a small roof which will be an extension of the coop roof.
I was thinking about trying to get some of that corrugated roofing so the run stays dry in the rain, right now the girls have a bit of a muddy run and we plan on fixing that this spring. However, some of that roofing material is SOOOOOO expensive. Any ideas on an inexpensive solution that has worked for others?
Have you tried seeing if anyone is selling some on Craigslist? I founds some for 10 a sheet last summer but by the time I found the ad they had sold out. Also what about only having part of the run dry that way there is still some slug and wormage in part of the run? Just a suggestion.

Oh I considered covering the wood roof with rubber membrane and flattened pop cans.
I have a real small pen, And had some bird of prey, prolly a Hawk zoom down and TRIED to snatch a BCM girl. It broke her neck, but was unable to enjoy it's meal cause my 2 Marans Roo's ran it off. So, maybe an AVIAN net, OR make an avian net outta fishin line. In a grid pattern over the run. IT will keep your birds IN and others OUT. And it is LEGAL!!!
I used the heavy duty plastic sheeting you buy at Walmart in the fabric section. It is normally used to cover furniture and so on. Is 54" wide but my run is small so it works great for me. It is so clear that you can see right through it. If you have a wire covered run and sew the pieces together it may work even if you used it to cover part of the run.

You could also use heavy duty plastic drop cloth but its not as thick and durable and remember it will trap heat. I cover mine with 80% shade cloth when it gets hot.
I don't have hawk problems despite having hawks in the area but on my new chicken palace I am including a sun-porch with a suntuff roof. Mine free range almost all the time.
I have a roof on my run. It was some hail-damaged metal siding from a friend's barn (read: FREE) that I got when his insurance company replaced it. Having a solid roof over the run keeps the majority of the snow out, and the girls can still enjoy outside time even when it's pouring rain. No regrets.

I suggest checking craigslist, the freemarket, or even talking to friends. You never know what might turn up.


Remember, with an un-roofed (or at least un-enclosed) run, hawks are not your only problem... Raccoons are excellent climbers and will simply go over the top of your run to get to your chickens. Daytime attacks are certainly less common, but in the spring when the pups arrive, all bets are off. At the most minimum, I'd use a netting or chicken wire on top, but make sure it's strong enough to hold a wild animal that might stand upon it -- and snow load if need be. Folks got snow in Florida and Texas this year...

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