Transitioning from roofed to roofless run

margaretbyrd

Chirping
Aug 21, 2015
26
26
86
I have built many aviaries/runs in sticky zoning situations. The wire "roof" is an excellent idea, as it will keep out most predators, and allow autumn leaves and snow to fall through without bringing down the wire. During extreme snow, you will still have to go out and knock the snow through so it doesn't build up and become heavy. A plastic rake with the tines covered by a strip of duct tape is a good tool that is lightweight and won't keep catching on the wire.
I would avoid "aviary netting" such as top-rite because raccoons and squirrels will chew straight through it. And it will not take any snow load at all. To save expense, I have used a 2' wide row of 2"x2" welded wire mesh at the top edge of the fence because the connection to the top of the fence must be secure and tidy. I infill the center with 2" chickenwire, it's much cheaper and easier to work with if it turns out your area isn't as precisely square as you thought. If you have large spans, string some trucker's rope across to create support "beams" so the chickenwire doesn't sag. If the spans are very long, you may have to support the ropes with occasional, strategic posts, poles or even bamboo poles. Your umbrella idea should work well, seasonally. A picnic table in the run can give them a place to get out of the sun/rain, too. As for screening, hedges take a long time to fully grow into a viable screen but are worth the wait. Meanwhile, get some cheap exterior siding to screen the run until the hedge grows in. My 40'x50' aviary/run is going on 20 years with this kind of roof. It is right on the property lines on 2 sides, and the neighbors barely know it is there.
[edit/addition] Hedges are slow, but vines are the thugs of the plant world. Maybe a couple strategically planted grape vines, outside the run, would grow up and over, effectively screening the run from his view above. You might even put up a pretty little arbor on that side to support them.
I like the grape arbor idea.
 

littledog

Songster
Aug 7, 2011
296
1,149
247
Puget Sound area, WA
Yep. Entitled. If that's his biggest problem right now, he must have a really nice life. Also, he just recently moved here, into a town with long-standing chicken traditions, and wants to change the rules. This is happening elsewhere in the town, too. Another agenda item last night was a property that has always had horses, had a new neighbor move in who is now complaining about the horses and asking for more restrictions :rant
This is happening everywhere! Some developer buys a tract of agricultural land (sold because family farmers can't make a living any more) puts up a subdivision full of McMansions, and a year later the home buyers are complaining that cows should be banned from the area because the suburban people (who chose to move to the country) don't like the smell of cows. Then more farmers are forced further and further out, and the McMansion owners complain about the price of beef.
 

Cindypop

Hatching
Oct 15, 2020
4
4
8
We used corrugated clear plastic to cover our chicken tractor. it works very well and is cheap. Let’s sun in during cooler weather and keeps predators out. Our concern is hawks which have actually landed on top of it thinking it was a clear shot to my chicks!
 

littledog

Songster
Aug 7, 2011
296
1,149
247
Puget Sound area, WA
this plain outright pisses me off. & you should be grandfathered in because of previous contact with the town. Good luck. Was he always there? Id seriously think about moving
I wouldn't think about moving, I'd be thinking about getting him to either move or shut up. Meet with all your chicken-keeping neighbors together, to make a plan and report every little thing he does on his property that could be vaguely construed as an annoyance - sift through the town ordinances, find any gray areas and target the ones that the rest of you and your neighbors don't do that he does. Register more complaints about him, from multiple neighbors, than he can about you.
Is his house 2" taller than the other neighbors? Register a bunch of complaints, that he ruins peoples' views. Does he make noise? Do random people visit him at odd hours? Does he keep a boat in his driveway? Is his mailbox a different color than the rest of you and your neighbors? Find something, and complain, complain, keep complaining.
It sounds like your town officials have so far done the easy thing, to target you and your chickens because your jerk of a neighbor has been louder and ruder, and more annoying to them. I bet they will back down if you, with the help of other chicken people in your town, become even more numerous and annoying to them.
 

littledog

Songster
Aug 7, 2011
296
1,149
247
Puget Sound area, WA
First thing I would do is ask for a complete copy of the law, everything. I would then look at the LETTER of the law. I would then ask a lawyer friend or seek a lawyer who would do a free consultation and then ask them to review your setup versus the LETTER of the law, not the intent. If you meet the LETTER of the law he doesn't stand a chance and I would go after him for harassment. Two can play that game.
YES!
 

Hdultraclassic

Hatching
Feb 12, 2019
2
5
8
In an unfortunate turn of events, I'll have to take the roof off of my run, because the town is counting the roofed run as a "building" and applying the building zoning code to it, and, as a building, it's too close to the property line :( (nevermind that I asked permission to build it as such in that location and got the okay from the two town officials in charge of this... :rant). So, we are where we are, and I need to take the roof off. I have two questions.

First - can I replace the roof with this welded wire mesh:

View attachment 2380000

It's 2x3 inches and 16 ga. I know the spacing is too wide to stop everything, but this will only be over the top in place of a roof, and the chickens will be locked in the coop at night... I'm doing this balancing act between the town saying it can't be "covered" on top (definition of "covered" being stretchy and up to interpretation here), and my chickens being safe. Wider mesh makes it look less "covered". I know there are no clear answers, and dense HC is the best, but still... Given my situation, what do you think the risk is? I live in the suburbs and while we do have some animals, it's not teeming with wildlife.

And my second question. I'm sad to see the roof go because it kept the run dry. My chickens have never known precipitation, and probably won't be happy with the roof gone :lol: I still want to give them something overhead so they can use the yard in rainy/snowy weather, but I can't put anything on the roof. So I had this idea and bought two large patio umbrellas :lol: Nobody regulates those, so I can just put them in the run under the overhead mesh. They are square shape, so I can put one against the side of the coop flush with the wall, and give them a dry area to walk out onto when exiting the coop. And I'll put the other one in the opposite corner over their run perches, so they can have another dry area to hang out in. Patio umbrellas are meant for the outdoors so I'm hoping they'll do the job and be okay outside, though I've never had one myself and don't know how well they do in wind/rain/snow. That's where I'll appreciate your input. The run is pretty sheltered in a corner of the yard, with a 5' tall retaining wall 8 feet away on one side, and a 6' tall privacy fence on the other side of that corner (west and north respectively). For the winter, I'll put plastic (shower curtains) along the sides of the run on the south and east as well. So it will be pretty sheltered on all sides, with not a lot of wind blowing through. I'll anchor the umbrellas as well (one against the coop wall, and the other against the run wall). And I'll tilt them so they shed rain/snow better. Would that be enough? We don't get a lot of snow anymore. Every few years I'll have to take the snow blower out, the rest of the years there isn't enough to justify it.

What do you think? Again, I know there are no clear answers and part of this is accepting some risk. I just want to see what people with more experience think about this setup.
I used this from Tractor supply: https://www.tractorsupply.com/tsc/p...ft-w-pvc-coated-welded-wire-2-in-x-4-in-14-ga
1603538950505.jpeg
 

Charlenesmom

Chirping
Dec 26, 2018
75
133
97
Western MA
get a variance, I believe as long as your closest neighbor to the run doesn’t object and gives their 👍🏻, then they will let you keep the roof. my neighbor had to get a variance to build his garage because it would have been too close to the line, I gave him my ok and the town let it happen. I am sorry you have to got through this, they are being jerks, especially after approving your plan.
Update...I see now that the neighbor is the problem.
i have a neighbor like that too except we are zoned rural and I have an acre to play with. My coop and run are too far away from the line for him to cause any big problems, but he still doesn’t miss an opportunity to call me an a**hole every chance he gets. I’ve had to call the cops on him twice already for harassment, but I digress from your problem.
i would try the big square umbrellas inside the run. Sounds like it could work and isn’t technically a roof.
how will you secure them? Do you live in a snowy, windy part of the world? I wish you and your flock much luck and I hope your neighbor goes into hibernation very soon.
 
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Sydney65

Songster
Aug 2, 2019
483
1,114
196
Indiana
We used corrugated clear plastic to cover our chicken tractor. it works very well and is cheap. Let’s sun in during cooler weather and keeps predators out. Our concern is hawks which have actually landed on top of it thinking it was a clear shot to my chicks!
This is what we used to enclose the run in the winter. Not sure it would defeat the no-roof issue, but is great way to keep everyone warm and dry.
 

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