Covered Chicken Run: Benefits and Design Tips

A covered chicken run, also known as a chicken enclosure or chicken pen, is an essential element of a well-designed backyard chicken coop setup. It provides numerous benefits for both you and your feathered friends. In this blog, we’ll explore the advantages of having a covered chicken run and offer design tips to help you create a safe and comfortable outdoor space for your chickens.

You may also want to read about the best chicken coop.

The Importance of a Covered Chicken Run

A covered chicken run serves several essential purposes in poultry management:

1. Predator Protection

One of the primary reasons for having a covered chicken run is to protect your chickens from predators such as foxes, raccoons, hawks, and even domestic dogs. The cover acts as a barrier, preventing these threats from accessing your chickens.

Covered Chicken Run
A Covered Chicken Run Provides Protection.

2. Shelter from Weather

A covered run provides shade and shelter from adverse weather conditions, including rain, snow, intense sunlight, and strong winds. It helps keep your chickens dry, comfortable, and protected from extreme temperatures.

3. Reduced Risk of Disease

Keeping chickens confined to a covered run can help minimize their exposure to wild birds and their droppings, which can carry diseases like avian influenza. It also prevents chickens from scratching in contaminated soil.

4. Enhanced Foraging

A well-designed run can include areas with natural vegetation, such as grass and shrubs, allowing chickens to forage for insects and plants. This contributes to their mental stimulation and overall well-being.

Design Tips for a Covered Chicken Run

Creating an effective and functional covered chicken run involves careful planning and attention to detail. Here are some design tips to consider:

1. Adequate Space

Provide enough space in the run for your chickens to move around comfortably. A general guideline is to allow at least 8 to 10 square feet of space per chicken. More space is better, as it reduces the risk of overcrowding and conflicts.

2. Secure Roofing

Choose a secure and durable roofing material for the run. Options include wire mesh, clear polycarbonate panels, or corrugated metal. Ensure that the roofing material is predator-resistant and provides adequate protection from the elements.

3. Ventilation

Proper ventilation is essential to prevent moisture buildup and maintain good air quality in the run. Include vents or openings near the top of the enclosure to allow for passive airflow. Ensure that these openings are covered with mesh to prevent the entry of birds or rodents.

4. Accessible Doorways

Design doorways or gates that are easy for you to access while also keeping predators out. Consider adding locks or latches to secure the entrance when needed.

5. Perches and Roosts

Include perches and roosts within the covered run to provide your chickens with places to rest and sleep. Elevated perches help keep chickens off the ground, reducing the risk of pests like mites.

covered chicken run

6. Shade and Enrichment

Provide shade within the run to keep chickens cool during hot weather. You can use tarps, shade cloth, or natural vegetation for this purpose. Additionally, consider adding environmental enrichment items like dust-bathing areas, hanging treats, or logs for pecking and scratching.

7. Predator-Proofing

Inspect the run regularly for any signs of wear or damage that could compromise its security. Reinforce any weak points in the fencing or roofing to prevent potential breaches by predators.

8. Accessibility

Ensure that you can easily access the run for cleaning, feeding, and egg collection. Design pathways and access points that are convenient for you to navigate.


A covered chicken run is an invaluable addition to your backyard chicken coop setup. It provides essential protection from predators, shields your chickens from the elements, and offers opportunities for foraging and enrichment. When designing your covered run, prioritize the safety, comfort, and well-being of your feathered friends. By following these design tips, you can create a secure and enjoyable outdoor space for your chickens to roam and thrive in.

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