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Author Topic: Covering a polytunnel  (Read 2747 times)


  • Joined Aug 2012
Covering a polytunnel
« on: December 18, 2014, 06:53:50 pm »
I'm considering housing my hens in a polytunnel. Getting fed up with the winter mud so a nice big tunnel with deep litter should mean they have lots of shelter on wet days. In the summer though it's going to be way too hot in there for them. Any ideas on what I could cover it with in the summer? Canvas or something?


  • Joined Feb 2012
  • Durham
Re: Covering a polytunnel
« Reply #1 on: December 18, 2014, 08:37:32 pm »
What about the green netting that you can get to line the poly. The plastic would still need to be removed or vented well and with doors either end too in the summer but the green mesh could stay put all year. Our poly gets freezing in winter so probably still need a coop, and ventilation  to prevent respiratory problems.


  • Joined May 2010
  • South Lanarkshire
    • Wester Gladstone Hebridean Sheep
Re: Covering a polytunnel
« Reply #2 on: December 18, 2014, 08:46:29 pm »
You can get tunnels with roll-up sides, which then have green mesh inside.  So in winter you have full polythene to ground level, but in summer the bottom 3' or so is mesh.
Be careful to get a tunnel with plenty of inbuilt ventilation ie a door at each end, plus louvres at each end - depends on the size of your tunnel of course.  Ours is 21' wide, and there is room for double doors and two louvres, one on top of the other, at each end.  For poultry you would need to cover the door and louvre spaces with green mesh. Unless you want the hens to free range when the weather's good.
In spite of all this ventilation the tunnel can still get up to 100F in the sun, so be prepared with a large fan.
You could of course change the cover entirely , with polythene for the winter and mesh for the summer, but that would be totally inconvenient.
I wonder if you can get shading paint for polythene, such as is used for greenhouses?
Maybe you could put the tunnel under a large shady tree, then deal with the falling leaves somehow in Autumn.
« Last Edit: December 18, 2014, 08:48:13 pm by Fleecewife »

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  • Joined Aug 2012
Re: Covering a polytunnel
« Reply #3 on: December 18, 2014, 11:27:40 pm »
It's the summer heat which worries me. Essentially we use electric netting to SA standards (10m2 per bird) so the tunnel would be within a net, possibly being able to create a rotating pen around it to rest the ground, or just alternate on end to the other. The idea of using a tunnel is to give them much more space when the weather is awful or in extremes like snow when the fence won't work, I can shut them in all day.  In terms of cold, I think most breeds can pretty much cope although an interior coup may be an idea. It's wind and rain that gets most livestock.

It's probably going to be a DIY build so I can sort ventilation no problem. I just wandered if you could throw a shade cloth over it or something and how effective that was on a bright summer day.


  • Joined Nov 2013
Re: Covering a polytunnel
« Reply #4 on: January 09, 2015, 02:08:20 pm »
I'm planning to resheet a commercial one, its not mine so not wanting to spend a lot. Local farmer suggested buying a thick black silage sheet!

Stellan Vert

  • Joined Apr 2013
Re: Covering a polytunnel
« Reply #5 on: January 11, 2015, 10:15:10 pm »
Hi Jamie, Stereo

Have you looked at the First Tunnels website?

There is a lot of information on using a polytunnel for livestock, plus they do a range of plastic for tunnels with a useful tool for working out the required size and cost.



  • Joined Nov 2013
Re: Covering a polytunnel
« Reply #6 on: January 12, 2015, 10:38:14 am »
Yes I have but it works out expensive, I think I need new wood and joins too, not wanting to spend a lot for the landlord to take the pi$%


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