If you’ve ever seen a chicken coop, you’ll notice that rather like a lot of people’s homes, they tend to have slanted roofs. You may be wondering why this is and if it’s just tradition or whether there are practical reasons for this design choice? Well, we’re pleased to tell you it’s traditional because it’s practical and this is why.
Chicken coops have slanted roofs to stop it from caving in if things start to build up on top of it, it also prevents certain types of exposure damage to the roof, it means your birds won’t poop on the roof. It stops your chickens from roosting on the roof and saves you a lot of effort reinforcing a flat roof from inside the coop.
Here’s what you need to know.
5 Reasons To Ensure A Chicken Coop Has A Slanted Roof
Let’s begin with a practical study as to why every chicken coop that you see has a slanted roof. It’s not, thankfully, one of those arbitrary decisions which have become traditional – there are genuinely good reasons that a flat roof is a bad design choice for your chicken coop.
Stops The Roof From Caving In
When it rains or worse, when it snows, you tend to get a buildup of material on a roof. In fact, flat roofs, over time, tend to turn into something like a functional swimming pool in the rain and they’re just a giant snow catcher when a blizzard comes through.
Water is heavy when there’s enough of it and when you allow snow, in particular, to stack up on a flat roof – there’s a good chance that the snow will eventually break through the roof and fall onto some very unhappy chickens below.
If you have a sloped roof, this can’t happen, of course, because the snow and rain roll off of it. There may be a light coating on the surface of the roof but as soon as there’s enough mass – it will fall off.
Prevents Damage To The Roof
It’s not just the destruction of the roof that you’re preventing. You’re also stopping the roof from getting damaged. Rainwater is enough to stain. Eventually, if it puddles for long enough without draining, you’re likely to get mold and rot forming in the water.
This is going to eat into the wood of the roof and make it a less usable coop in the long run. A well-made chicken coop can last for a period of decades or more but one which is constantly subject to rot? That’s not going to last very long at all and the spores from the mold might make your chickens sick too.
Stops Chickens Pooping On The Roof
If there’s one job that we really don’t love when it comes to chickens, it’s collecting their poop and cleaning it up. We know it’s necessary but it’s not something you can look forward to. So, don’t make things worse by deciding to have a flat roof on your chicken coop.
Chickens can fly and they can always fly up on to a flat roof and while you may think it’s a roof, they think it’s a nice new place to use as a toilet. The roof will end up covered in poop and you will end up cleaning all that poop up.
Stops Chickens From Roosting On The Roof
The place for chickens to roost at night is inside the coop not on top of it. You know that but your chickens are less clear on the subject. Fortunately, a sloped roof makes it uncomfortable for chickens to hang out on and they naturally choose to go inside the coop when it starts to get dark.
A flat roof, on the other hand, confuses the chickens and they will try and settle in for the night. Given that this is an open invitation to predators to come and eat them – you will then spend much of the night trying to persuade them to get down and go inside.
Saves Reinforcing A Flat Roof Inside The Coop
Because of the problems above, the only way that a flat roof on a chicken coop can survive for more than a few weeks without coming tumbling down is to shore it up from underneath. That means getting into the coop and building supporting beams and structures for it.
We’re tired just thinking about that idea – it would be very uncomfortable to do, particularly in summer. So, all told – the slanted roof you see on chicken coops everywhere isn’t a moment of capricious whimsy, it’s a very practical thing, indeed and one that will save you a lot of time and unnecessary effort. Time you can spend enjoying your chickens, instead.
How Do You Get The Right Angle Of Pitch For Your Slanted Roof?
The angle of the roof on a chicken coop is determined by the length of the rise (that is the bit above the wall at the back) and the length of the pitch (the sloping part of the roof) or the length of the run (the straight bit between the rise and the front wall).
This is quite an easy thing to calculate because it’s normally given as a ratio between the rise and the run. You can then use a bit of schoolkid trigonometry to figure out the angle. However, we’ve put together some basic figures for you here:
Flat Coop Roofs
The ratio for a flat roof coop is from ½:12 to 2:12 and this gives an angle of around 9.5 degrees or less. This is something you want to avoid, as a general rule, as while there is a slope to this kind of roof – it’s not steep enough to provide the benefits you want.
Low Pitched Coop Roofs
The ratio of a low pitched coop roof is from 2:12 to 4:12 and this gives an angle of around 14 – 18.5 degrees. If you live in an area with very little snow, this is going to be the ideal shape. The gentle slope is enough to bring the benefits you want and it’s easier to build a low-pitched roof.
Conventional Coop Roofs
The ratio of a conventional coop roof is from 4:12 to 9:12 and this gives an angle of around 18.5 -37 degrees. In most places, where there are winter snows, a conventional coop roof is fine. It brings all the benefits you need and is still fairly easy to construct.
High-Pitched Coop Roofs
The ratio here is from 9:12 to 21:12 and this gives an angle of around 45-60 degrees. This is very steep, and you’d only employ this kind of slope if you get more snow than Canada does during the winter.
When Should A Sloped Chicken Coop Roof Overhang And By How Much?
The overhang you see on many chicken coops is also known as “eaves”. While it may look a little peculiar, it too has practical purposes and you should consider using them if you have materials and space to do so.
- They keep rain out of the coop. The farther rain and snow go before falling to the ground, the less likely they are to blow back in on your birds.
- This prevents mold in the coop. If things get wet and cold inside the coop, mold will grow, and your birds will get sick.
- They provide shelter for the birds in summer. Sometimes, chickens need a bit of shade and instead of providing it separately, you can use the eaves to provide it for them.
To be effective your eaves/overhang should be at least a foot long and ideally, even a bit longer.
We hope that our guide “This is why chicken coops have slanted roofs” has been useful and helped you to better understand why it’s a good idea to ensure that your chicken coop has a slanted roof too. Fortunately, it’s not too hard to work out the numbers to get a slanted roof that fits your coop effectively.
It’s important not to forget that you can choose to let this part of the roof overhang too and that there are some definite advantages, in certain situations, to doing so. Why not make your chicken coop roof even more functional when you design the coop?