Does a chicken run need a roof?

Somebody recently asked me if their chicken run needed a roof and I realized I hadn't really talked about this very much. Today I want to talk about run roofs, if you need one and the different types of materials they can be made with.

Chicken coop run with roof on it

All of my chicken runs have roofs of one type or another, even though one of them is only net. I firmly believe in protecting chickens as much as possible in their own coop and run, for both their safety and my sanity. So let's talk about the different types of run roofs.

Does my chicken run need a roof?

Yes, the coop run absolutely does need a roof! A roof will keep your chickens safe from predators and could also help keep them out of the elements. There are a few different types of roofs to consider.

Types of chicken run roofs

Your coops run can have a permanent roof or a temporary roof. In the permanent roof category is solid roofing like metal or plastic awning, shingle covered wood or any other type of roofing that is a solid barrier and cannot be removed easily. This includes a welded wire covered wooden frame even though it doesn't have a solid top. (like the one in the picture above)

Or the run can have a more temporary covering like bird netting (also called deer netting) chicken wire or a tarp covering the chicken wire or alone. 

Solid run roofs

Obviously if you can have a super sturdy run with a hard solid roof on top that would be ideal. Hopefully it would be completely predator proof. But the main benefit of having a solid roof on your run is to keep the chickens out of the elements. If they go out on a bad day they can still spend time in the run without getting rained or snowed on.

A solid run roof is one of the must haves I write about in 4 chicken coop additions I can't live without! 

Of course a predator proof run with a solid roof will keep airborne predators like Hawks and eagles away. Plus it will keep out climbing predators like squirrels, snakes or raccoons.

chicken coop run with solid metal roof

Related reading: Why you don't want squirrels near your chickens (it's gross!) 

A solid roof can be created from a wood frame. You can choose to top it with plastic or metal awning sheets like we have on these runs.

You could also cover it with plywood and attach roofing shingles or some other type of roofing cover to keep the wood from becoming saturated and eventually rotting from rain. You will want to inspect it occasionally because predators will find any weak spot and if your run roof rots, that would definitely be a weak spot!

Net covering on chicken run

If you absolutely cannot have a solid roof on your coops run, then you'll want to add bird netting to the top of it to at least keep the hawks away. It's cheap, comes in a roll so you can easily cut it to size and can be attached to the fencing of even weirdly shaped runs with zip ties.

Obviously if a hawk wants to, it can rip right through bird netting, many times though they won't even try. Birds of prey have very keen eyesight and they will recognize that a barrier is in heir way and not even attempt to get through it. I talk about this more in How deer netting deters hawks.

Unfortunately bird netting can be a bit of an issue if you live somewhere it snows! Wet snow will stick to the netting and weigh it down, possibly ripping it so you'll need to keep an eye on that in the winter. I try to shake it occasionally as it snows to help shake the weight off and keep the netting intact.

Also you need to keep up on maintenance of the netting because fallen sticks or tree branches will get stuck on it or rip it. You'll also need to shake it to remove leaves in winter, but it does offer some protection so it's worth the extra effort it requires.

deer netting (bird netting) covering a chicken coop run.

I chose this picture of deer netting on my silkie coop run because with all the little leaf pieces it easier to see! Plus, you get to see what an issue a net covering can be as it catches everything!

I am not aware of other types of run coverings, but feel free to leave a comment if there's one you like that I missed.

I think a solid run cover is the best choice, but it's not always an issue and depending on what types of predators you have a cover might no even be needed. Of course a solid roof provides protection from the elements which is super important in hot sunny areas or those that get snow.

Not sure what kind of chicken coop you need for winter? Check out: Winter chicken coops the good, bad & ugly!


Want information on raising chickens sent right to your email weekly? Click right here to join my list and get new posts sent directly to you the day they're published ... plus, you'll also get the free download '25 Ways to save money raising chickens'.

No comments:

Post a Comment