Next time you are in the coop have a look up. Do you have a roof over your run? Is it made from netting? Are there gaps in it, either where the joins are, where the netting has rusted through, or heaven forbid, where something has chewed through the netting?
If the predator is getting in through the joins in the netting there is a relatively easy fix. Use a few pieces of heavy duty wire to ‘sew’ up the joins.
If the cheeky thief has chewed through it then the best solution is to cover the existing netting with some hardware cloth. One of things that people forget to tell you when you build your own chicken house is that chicken wire may keep the chickens in, but it doesn’t keep many predators out! Unfortunately your thief will have got a taste for your chickens and won’t like being denied his dinner, so you may have to set traps and put locks on all the doors into the coop.
If the chicken wire has rusted through then you will need to replace it with something much stronger like 2’x2′ bound wire netting. It is also an idea when you build your own chicken house to make your roof gabled. This will mean that anything that lands on your roof will just roll back off again. This prevents wet leaves and other sodden materials from remaining on the roof and damaging the wire.
One thing that is often asked when you build your own chicken house is whether or not clear plastic should be used as roofing over the run or even over the coop itself. At first glance this seems like a really good idea. The chickens would be kept warm and dry without sacrificing that all important light. But actually it is a really bad idea.
Chickens do not need to be kept as warm as you might think. The biggest factor to temperature is consistency. They will perform at their best when their body temperature is less than 75 degrees F and if they get to any hotter than 90F they will start to suffer from heat stress. So unless you live in the North Pole, the clear plastic will have a detrimental affect on the hens.