How to wrap your chicken coop for the winter

The Garden Coop chicken coop design wrapped in plastic for the rainy winter season* UPDATE: For more tips, also see our four-part series on preparing your chickens and chicken coop for the winter. 

For the past few winters, I’ve wrapped our Garden Coop in plastic sheeting to keep driving rain and snow (mostly rain here in the Pacific Northwest) out of the run area.

I’d love to say I do this for artistic reasons, à la Christo, but it’s really all about practicality. Plastic film is inexpensive, easy to put up, and keeps your hens dry and happy. And in the spring, you can just take it down, roll it up, and store it out of the way.

There are other solutions, of course — sheet siding, acrylic panels, canvas, landscape fabric. Let me know in the comments what has worked for you.

Tips on wrapping your chicken coop and run with plastic sheeting

  • Use plastic sheeting that’s durable enough to hold up in the wind. Thickness is measured in mils. I used a roll of 4-mil polyethylene film, which you should be able to get at any hardware store. For comparison, a heavy-duty garbage bag is around 2-mil thick.
  • Roll out your plastic sheet to the length you need and cut it to size. You decide how much your chicken coop or run that you want to enclose based on your local weather, angle of the sun, etc. I’ve found that on our Garden Coop, covering the back, right, and at least part of the front side works well to keep out driving rain and up-splash from the drip line in the back. I bring the plastic up about 2/3 of the way, since the roof overhang does a good job of shielding the top third or so. I might cover more, including the area under the henhouse, if conditions become particularly harsh.
  • Cut a couple of one-by-twos to the width of each section of the chicken coop that you want to cover, one to attach the film at the top and one at the bottom. If you want to secure any side edges, cut one-by-twos for those too.
  • Roll the edge of your plastic sheet around the upper one-by-two a couple times, then attach with a screw on either end (1 1/4″ should do), driving through the plastic and the one-by-two into the studs on the coop. At the bottom, you can do the same thing, or just sandwich the plastic sheet between the one-by-two and the sole plate.
  • You’ll see in the pictures below that my plastic sheet was wide enough to simply fold in half and still cover the height I needed, so instead of rolling at the edge, I just tucked the one-by-two into the fold to mount it at the upper end.

Install your plastic sheeting using one-by-twos at the top and bottom edges

Use a one-by-two on any side edges you want to seal as well

Another one-by-two board at the bottom of the chicken coop keeps the plastic from billowing out in the wind

Here's a close up of the plastic sheeting, attached with a one-by-two at the bottom edge of the chicken coop, one screw on each side

Another view of The Garden Coop chicken coop wrapped in plastic for the winter

That’s it! Feel free to add any tips or questions in the comments below.

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