The Ideal Roof for a Chicken Coop.
I've been meditating on the ideal roof for a chicken coop. It ought to have the following properties:
- Easy to install.
- Lasts forever.
- Rainwater doesn't cause mud in front of the house.
- Chickens don't roost on top.
Also, if you live in the suburbs, it should be pretty enough to shut up your pompous neighbors.
Most of my houses have shed roofs made of galvanized steel roofing. The configuration is a "shed roof," which just means that it's higher and the front than at the back, so rainwater pours off at the back of the house where is causes less trouble.
My roofs are just metal, with no plywood decking underneath, and no insulation. This is appropriate for highly ventilated houses with enough airflow that the inside temperature and humidity are about the same as outside. You don't have to worry about condensation in such a house.
In a tightly closed chicken house, you'd want an insulated roof, but you'd have to be nuts to build such a house. Ventilation is the magic bullet for chicken health. (You'll want to read Fresh-Air Poultry Houses, one of the classic poultry books I've reprinted, for complete information.)
My houses have purlins but no rafters. The sheet metal is nailed directly to the purlins with roofing nails, meaning that they are supported only every four feet. This has worked well for me. One thing I've learned, though, is that if the roof sticks out very far in front of or behind the house, you need to nail a 2x4 across the underside of the very front of the roof, and one at the very back, to keep the sheets of metal roofing from flapping in high winds. Otherwise they'll work themselves loose.
One problem I haven't solved is that of keeping chickens from roosting on the roof. Chickens like sleeping as high in the air as they can, and that means the roof. My roofs have a shallow slope and they can sleep anywhere on the roof they want without sliding off. A steeper roof is clearly called for. I haven't done any experiments to discover where the sweet spot is. Maybe I should!