I am getting some hens soon and I am making a large, 12ft x 6ft permanent run. I am wondering whether to put a clear corrugated roof on the half above the coop to protect it against the weather or over the entire run. Which, in your opinion, is my best option?

Clare Corlett, by email

Charlotte Popescu replies: Using a clear corrugated roof is not an ideal option, as it will make the area which it covers like a greenhouse in the summer. It will become too hot for your hens. Chickens enjoy the sun, but they also seek shade in the summer to cool down.

I assume that you want to cover part of the run to prevent it becoming too muddy in the wet weather. It might be better to use Onduline, which is a corrugated bituminous material, comes in a range of colours, and is used as a roof on hen houses. See www.ondulinebuildingproducts.net/#ondulined01.html.

There are other similar products on the market such as Coroline, but go for a black or green colour, not the translucent variety. I would suggest you only use a corrugated roof on half the run. Your hens will be happier if they have an area of shade and shelter as well as an area where they can lie in the sun, and sunshine also provides them with vitamin D.

It will need to slope, whatever roof you use, so that the rain can drain off it – you may want to collect the water, otherwise the area outside the run will become waterlogged.

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