Because you don't live day and night inside your chicken coop, you may not always be aware of the conditions inside your hen house. It is important to go inside daily and inspect the coop's interior and watch for any water damage so you can make sure the necessary repairs are completed. Maintaining the integrity of the coop's roof is an important part to having happy and healthy chickens. Here are some tips to help keep your chicken coop roof water-tight and in good condition and to keep the coop's interior dry.

Protect Your Chickens

Your chicken coop does not have to be insulated and climate controlled like your home is, as different varieties and breeds of chickens can survive in different types of climates. Although the chickens you are raising are most likely bred to survive your summers and winters without heating or air conditioning, they do need to be kept dry. 

Your chicken coop roof is the only protection your chickens have from wet, moldy bedding and frozen wattles, combs, and feet. When water is allowed to leak into your chicken coop, it can create muddy conditions that can cause illness and other health problems for your chickens. When your chickens' feathers become wet from water dripping inside their coop, they can be at risk of getting hypothermia from a cold wind, or frostbite when winter temperatures drop at night.

Check the inside of your chicken coop for any water dripping from the ceiling onto the floor of the coop or down the walls. If you see any evidence of water dripping, then you have a leak in your coop roof that you will need to have repaired. You can hire a professional roofer to do the repairs to the coop roof or buy your own supplies from a roofing supply company and do the work yourself.

Common Roof Leaks

In a roof constructed with asphalt shingles and felting, excess debris on your roof can be a common cause of leaks. Be sure to clean any fallen leaves, pine needles, or tree branches from the roof. The debris on the roof can trap rain water on your roof and allow it to seep beneath the shingles by capillary action. Once the water is under the shingles, the felting and underlying roof deck become saturated and will begin to leak inside your coop. 

Another common cause of roof leaks can be from a roof that does not have a steep enough slope. Your coop roof needs to have a slope of at least 1:6, which is a one inch vertical rise for every six horizontal inches. A roof with a slope less than 1:6 will allow water accumulation and can lead to leaks. A shallow slope can also allow wind to lift the shingles and push rain underneath them, leading to roof leaks. If your roof is not steep enough, you or a professional roofer should remove the roof and install new rafters to accommodate the appropriate slope.

Repair the Roof Leaks

If you choose to do the repairs yourself and replace your roof shingles and felting, make sure to do it on a warm, dry day so your shingles are pliable. When you are replacing damaged shingles, you don't want them to be hard and rigid because they can crack. Cracked shingles will allow moisture to get under your roof and into your coop once again.

When replacing the entire roof of shingles and roof felting, overlap the edges of your strips of felting two inches beginning at the bottom of the roof and progressing up the slope. Also overlap the shingles by starting at the bottom of the slope and working your way up. This will help prevent moisture from getting under the roofing materials during bad weather.

After you have completed the repairs on your coop roof, check the ceiling inside the coop for any roofing nails or screws that are protruding from the roofing deck. As the temperature falls inside the coop, moisture in the air will freeze on the exposed nail or screw. Then, as the temperature warms up during the day, the frost will melt and drip into the coop. You can fix this problem by snipping off the end of the nail or screw with a pair of metal snips. Then, you don't need to worry about you or your chickens becoming injured on the protruding fastener.

These tips can help you keep your chicken coop roof free of leaks all year as you do the work on your own or hire a professional roofer. For more information, contact a local roofing company like Welty Custom Exteriors, Inc