A year or so ago we bought chickens and I built the girls a run in which to place their coop and provide protection against predators. As is my wont I built it without plans and soon it became fairly clear that we would need a cover to keep out the rain and snow. As I had already put a mesh roof on it to keep out raccoons this was no mean feat, and after trial and error, I ended up cobbling together a makeshift sloping roof by placing a couple of upturned buckets on the top with a wooden pole between them and then draping a tarpaulin over this. It served us fairly well over the last 12 months as I struggled with motivation on how I was going to come up with a longer term solution.
This year we restarted out raised bed garden and I used PVC piping to make hoop covers for my new plants. Then it hit me – why not apply the same approach to the chicken run? After all, all I need is to put a slope under the tarp so that water runs off and doesn’t pool on the surface.
After a few hours work here’s my current set-up. I used 3 x 10 ft ¾ inch internal diameter PVC pipes and 4 T-joints. The T-joints form “feet” for the poles which are bent to provide a dome shape. The feet are connected to the top of the run using cable ties. The whole frame cost $12.
I have a similar arrangement on the adjoining chain link chicken run, but that has the advantage that I can use bungee tarp cords to put the tarp under tension. On the original run the mesh is ½ inch and so I cannot do this. Therefore, I modified the design a bit by using nylon washing line from corner to corner to add some tension. Now we wait for the rains…