Anyone regret not insulating?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by HickChick Wannabe, Jul 17, 2008.

  1. HickChick Wannabe

    HickChick Wannabe In the Brooder

    May 8, 2008
    North Ridgeville, Ohio
    I can get 5 used windows for $10 that I could use for the coop. They're all aluminum though, so DH wanted to know why bother insulating the coop if we're not going to get good windows? For that matter, why insulate the walls if he wasn't going to insulate the roof. Well, I did intend for him to insulate the roof, he'd just prefer not to; says it will be too difficult. And all of the insulation and extra wood is expensive. So the questions are:
    1. It seems like not everyone does insulate, though a lot do. Has anyone that hasn't regretted it or had to do it at a later date?
    2. Is there any value to insulating the walls without doing the roof?
    3. Is there any point to insulating anything if I use used single-pane, aluminum framed windows?
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2008
  2. spook

    spook Songster

    Apr 21, 2008
    North Central Florida
    Our hen house is not insulated, yet it is surrounded by tar paper to prevent drafts. 1 single pane aluminum window that I do not put plastic over (did cover that window with wire and shingled over). Chickens are hearty, they can tolerate cool temps, not drafts or breezes. This hen house I do have cardboard on the ceiling to help insulate. Yes the water freezes, you have to give them fresh water more often in the winter.
    Personally I feel that the deep litter method has its own organic way of keeping the floor warmer and also insulates from cold toes.
    I will not use a heater, heat lamp, water heater, light or anything of such as I feel that you would be doing more harm to your flock by not having them prepared for the cold. Heavens sake the power should be off for a few days, your flock hasn't gotten enough feathers to protect them. (only my opinion)
    Good luck.
    My first hen house had aluminum roofind, 5 ft high and I would plastic around the house except for the top 4 inches for fresh air exchange. Keep us posted on what you do!
  3. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

    Mar 3, 2008
    We insulated both coops, but figured better/easier to do it while building than to try to do it later. However, we do tend to get a tad bit colder in the winter months (sometimes MN is colder, though! [​IMG]) My first winter I worried about them so much, and wound up keeping them warmer than they should have been. This year all they're going to get is a heat lamp on the waterer to keep the water from freezing, and maybe one more lamp to keep it just above freezing in the coop. That's it. I don't want the eggs or water to freeze, but the girls will be fine. Now, having said that, I picked up a few chickens from someone that was keeping them in a drafty old barn with no heat, and they didn't seem to have any problems. Just your preference, I guess. But if you do insulate, be sure to ventilate.
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2008
  4. HickChick Wannabe

    HickChick Wannabe In the Brooder

    May 8, 2008
    North Ridgeville, Ohio
    We did put up the tar paper, so that should help. I also was going to try the deep litter method, so that's good to know! I don't want to add a heat source, either. Hm, cardboard... Maybe we'll give that a try.

    Thanks spook!

    Gotta run, my little boy is crying for me...
    Last edited: Jul 17, 2008
  5. cjeanean

    cjeanean Can't Decide

    Mar 5, 2008
    I didn't insulate anything, and I think that's the best way to go. Their bodies give off quite a bit of heat, and as long as you have enough chickens (LOL, enough chickens) for the space they should be able to keep themselves warm during the winter. I have 2 windows that I did put a shutter over to keep out the drafts in the wintertime, but that's about it. To keep out drafts in other places foam insulation (Great Stuff) is can goes a long way for filling cracks. I think I used 6 cans total on my 16x8 coop (it was taken apart, moved, and reassembled, and things just don't go back together the way they should) and I have virtually NO open cracks other than around the doors. Even those have weatherstripping, which works wonders. Bottom line: there are cheaper ways to go than actual insulation!!! Drafts are bad, cold is not, unless you don't have enough chickens to fill the space of your coop - in which case I suggest getting more ASAP - or you have special breeds that are not cold tolerant. Check out Henderson's Chicken Breed Chart to see how cold hardy your breeds are. Good luck!!!
  6. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    We insulated everything...walls, ceiling, floor and we are so glad we did. It's SO much cooler in the hen house in the summer. It stays at least 10 degrees cooler in there.
  7. RedTailRanch

    RedTailRanch Songster

    Mar 19, 2008
    Portland, OR
    My Coop
    I insulated all walls and ceiling and bought new vinyl windows and doors. I did this due to the fact that the existing structure that I converted into the chicken coop was a 12x16 lean-to with an aluminum exterior and roof. Plus, it faces the sun most of the day and there is no shade. It has been staying much cooler in there that expected, even though it is still warm. I also have several mediterranean breeds that can get frost bite in the winter.
  8. pepper1

    pepper1 Hatching

    Jul 17, 2008
    we brought our birds from FL to southcentral PA. They are in a 10x16 manufactured shed - it is insulated - has two doors and three windows (aluminum) - no prob with the alum windows - coop was very efficient this winter - we also do the deep litter method - like 8 inches in the winter - we used to hang two red lamps facing the two roost rungs that are 10 feet across the coop. Then this winter we tried a very inexpensive heater which we hang from the ceiling for safety, sometimes with a lamp but most times with no lamp. The heater has a numbered dial and we have a thermometer in the coop - so we kept our coop at 35 or above in the winter. When we turned out the light, our girls took a vacation and enjoyed the dark nights once again. We prefer to give them a night time, too. Yes, our coop is also cooler than the outdoors in the summer when it is in the 80s and 90s - and we put a box fan in one of the open windows (they have screens to keep out predators) and pull out the hot air. I guess some may say our girls are "spoilt" - we say they are "special" - and they are 4 so we love them very much. AND we bought a really cool waterer that has an electric cord attached to the bottom - we place our waterer on a large stone - and water did not freeze. We let our birds choose to come out every day - even in the snow - a few of them really liked the snow. We have a shelter in their pen - BTW we are enclosed in hardware cloth - with 12inch pavers outside around the perimeter to prevent the diggers (raccoons, etc) from getting into the coop. And we close them in every night. Hope I gave some ideas and encouragement. Enjoy your chickens!!!! Maryellen in SCentral PA:love
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Huh. That's like saying "why bother wearing a coat when you go outside in January if you're not going to also wear gloves and hat?" [​IMG]

    The answer of course is that having the structure *mostly* insulated will lead it to hold in heat a whole lot better than no insulation at all. It is not like a blown-up balloon where heat will whoosh out whatever opening is available so it doesn't really matter what size hole -- heat loss is mostly by *radiation* and the more of the walls (and roof) are fitted out to minimize it, the warmer the coop will be.

    Heck, even with double-pane low-e-coated argon-filled window like you'd use in a house, the R value of that window is HUGELY less than the R-value of your insulated house walls. And yet of course it is still worth insulating your house even though you have windows [​IMG]

    Good luck,

  10. Wynette

    Wynette Moderator

    Sep 25, 2007
    I think it really depends on how much space you have and how many chickens you've got in the space. In my case, I've got 9 hens adn a roo in my main coop, which is 4x8 and 5' tall. It's made of plywood, and the roof is tarpapered & shingled with very dark brown shingles. My chickens are quite toasty in there through winter! I have no windows, but good ventilation. I also keep a heated waterer inside the coop through witner, so that may also give off some heat. I live in mid-Michigan, which can get mighty cold through winter.

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