Can insulating your coop be a bad thing?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by All about the EGG, Nov 7, 2008.

  1. Originally I thought of insulating my little coop. But I thought, you would insulate to keep heat in, right? Well, you can also insulate to keep heat out as well. On a cold winter day, with sun, it will take quite a bit of time to heat that coop up vs. the sun doing it naturally. I just dont see the point in it, unless of course you will provide a heat source.
  2. Omran

    Omran Songster

    Jul 26, 2008
    Bagdad KY
    hello, I did read a thread about ventilation, and I am glad I did, because I was going to insulate my coop too, may be you can find it on BCY again, but one of te most important issues in that thread was That chickens produce a lot of moisture when the breath so it is very important for them to have enough air in the coop, so I would read more about it before I start insulating my coop.
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    Omran is right. One of the biggest concerns with a good insulated coop is the moisture/condensation that can then occur inside the coop. Moisture is an enemy to your chickens - they need to be dry and draft free. However, you must have good ventilation.

    If you can offer the proper ventilation then an insulated coop can be great. However, most chickens will do just fine through all but the most severe winters as long as their coop is dry and draft free.

    If you have chickens with large combs you can put Vaseline on them to help prevent frostbite in the winter.
  4. columbiacritter

    columbiacritter Songster

    Jun 7, 2008
    Scappoose Oregon
    Insulating a coop is different than insulating a house. Chickens put out a LOT of moistoure and their poo releases some less than desirable chemicals so you want a well ventilated, but NOT drafty space.

    I insulated my coop very well since I live in a cold wet state. I also have several vents that are either far above or below roost level so the birds don't have a cold draft blowing on them. The vents are adjustable so I can regulate the temperatures inside the coop pretty well. If the windows are steamy inthe morning the vents weren't open enough.
  5. I never even thought about the moisture. I may have to install another vent as well. Thanks for the info!
  6. Nugget

    Nugget Songster 10 Years

    Sep 2, 2007
    My coop is insulated as a house would be. I thought I'd put in enough ventilation until this very humid summer, when I fought mold the whole season. (It had been fine the year before)

    I'm happy with the insulation, but am going to put in a whole lot more ventilation next spring.

    With or without the heat lamp turned on, the chickens body heat keeps the insulated coop warmer, and the temperature stable day and night. It's cooler in there in the summer and warmer in the winter. Lots to consider.
  7. We insulated (details in the link below), but we have a window to let the sun heat in winter and lots of ventilation. We are also rodent-free thanks to a feral cat colony and I think you need to consider rodents if insulating- you don't want to provide in-wall nesting sites.[​IMG]
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:First, you DO have a heat source in the coop already, everybody does. The chickens. Seriously.

    Second, an insulated building with windows will heat up quite well on winter days. THis is not theory, this is reality. And i don't mean 'greenhouse-like expanses of glass', I mean just the regular amount of windows that a typical coop would have.

    Third, heating the coop in daytime in winter is not generally a problem -- it is night time cooling that you want to minimize.

    And finally, here is the big thing, the more insulation you have, the more VENTILATION you can also have.

    Quote:I'm sorry but this is entirely incorrect.

    Insulation is NOT in any way going to cause condensation or humidity. Quite the opposite, it reduces condensation and allows your ventilation to more effectively remove humidity.

    There is a BIG difference between a coop and a house. In houses, ventilation is relatively low, thus a build up of humidity is more of a problem. However, notice that in olden days, when houses were (often inadvertantly!) pretty well-ventilated, because there were drafts coming in all over the place and sometimes you had to leave windows cracked to keep the fire burning properly and safely, and furthermore there were no vapor barriers other than the paint on th wall, humidity was *not* much of a problem. Mold and mildew in bathrooms and around windows is a fairly modern feature of houses, since they became so much tighter.

    In a coop, you need to have a good bit of air exchange to get rid of humidity and ammonia. Your best way of removing that stuff is to get as much into the air as possible so that removing X amount of air removes as large a parcel of that staleness as possible. Warmer air holds more humidity. Thus the warmer the air is at the ceiling of your coop, where it is leaving your vents, the more humidity you are removing from the litter and atmosphere.

    I want to stress that this is NOT theory. It is well worked out from decades and centuries of raising animals in barns. Honest.

    You are always better off insulating, because it allows more ventilation and better air quality (not just because of keeping the coop warmer). It can also in some circumstances keep the coop cooler in summer (depending how well your nights cool off).

    The only downsides to insulating are the initial extra cost/work, the fact that mice sometimes nest in the insulation, and the fumes given off by foam insulation in a fire (but frankly, in a coop fire you're likely losing your chickens no matter whether you have foam insulation or not). Also in some circumstances you may have to take care to provide sufficient summertime ventilation in a well-insulated dark colored coop with considerable exposed thermal mass.

  9. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    I was going to just leave this thread as is but decided that I should explain my answer. My husband, who is a building contractor read this and said that Pat is wrong.

    First, I have the utmost respect for patandchickens - he always has great advice. And, I totally believe he is right with his answer. However, in this case, I'm right with my answer also. So, since we are both right then my only conclusion is that there are other factors involved that neither of us has taken into consideration.

    I've walked into a well insulated shed and had water drops dripping onto my head from the ceiling. And, yes, there was good ventilation in that shed. So, since I've experienced what I said in my above post I can only assume that the other factors at play here could be the climate (arid, humid?) of where this is happening or the type of building materials? I don't have the answer but I stick by what I said.
  10. Well, it has to be said that every situation has numerous variables. Whether you insulate or not, you have to be sure you can make air flow without drafts and take into account that the birds, assuming you have many, are going to create a lot of heat/humidity for their size. Some people swear by one thing, some by another.

    In additon, there are several ways to insulate. We went with the fibreglass/vapor seal/tuck tape method, sheathing the interior walls on the warm (chicken) side and we've been very happy with the results. That said we have a pop door and a large exit to a roofed run. The ceiling of the coop is the floor of the barn loft and the warm air rises to it, wafts through and out the eaves of the barn. (in link below).

    If you are insulated and getting condensation for the roof, either the coop is too tight or the roof is too cold. Is it also insulated? Metal or not? Even when you think you are getting things right, experimentation over a full year is required and modifications can be made as required. Whatever you decide you have to become a student of your flock and of your work.[​IMG]

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