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LateBirdFarms

Songster
Apr 17, 2020
858
1,906
216
Ontario
In Niagara region with 12 lovely chickens. Am wondering who has insulated their coops and if they recommend doing so for our Canadian winters?
I'm in the Barrie-ish area and I don't insulate or heat. I may block off a bit of my coop this year due to some predation loss brutally bringing flock numbers down, but in my many years of chicken keeping, I've never insulated and only have used a heater for the silly broody hatching in January. The ladies are shockingly warm little things, so unless you've got some rare breeds, I personally wouldn't suggest it. I'd be too worried about moisture buildup in an insulated coop. As long as you've got a draft free, dry spot for them, they can be quite snug. With plenty of ventilation, I don't see even frostbite on the largest of combs most years.
The -30 days usually are pretty okay too, I do line my run walls with vinyl table cloth protectors and plexiglass to keep the bitter wind out, and everyone's happy!
My daughter and I have ducks, peacocks, and chickens. Gets pretty cold here but none of the coops are insulated. All the groups are able to be out of drafts, but usually choose to be out in their runs if the sun is shining. I was amazed the first year by the peacocks and how well they did. They would wade through the fresh snow, then roost in the sunshine.
My girls adore fresh snow! The ones experiencing first winters are usually a bit timid, but a bit of straw tossed onto of the snow (or a path dug in those pesky super deep days) and everyone's happy again!
 

MollyWobbs

Songster
Jul 14, 2021
53
215
106
Nova Scotia
This is my first year with chickens in Nova Scotia, Im a little concerned there isn't enough ventilation. My partner insists that we have enough. We took a custom board and batten shed and inside we halved it, the half where the chickens live has vinyl flooring, and plywood on the walls (air space) but the half where they do not live was left bare. There is a ridge vent along the top of the roof and soffit along both sides (12 feet long). That is all. I feel we need something on the west and east sides near the roof peak, but he says the way that the wind blows here in the winter plus the ridge vent and soffit will allow for more than enough passive air flow. There are 6 chickens housed in the coop. He knows a lot more about this stuff than me with his engineering, but Im also curious on others experiences with passive air flow for ventilation.
 

IQL

Chirping
Jul 29, 2020
56
64
83
I insulated with this stuff in the walls and ceiling. I did not do the floor.
View attachment 2869055
The nest boxes stick out the side and are only insulated on the bottom. I check the boxes often when it is very cold.

My coop is a walk-in. I do not use a heater or a lamp and my chickens are fine through the winter. I only had 8 last year, this year I have 26 (need to remove some before the snow hits as it will be too crowded in there :hmm). They will keep each other warm and they have very good personal insulation with their wonderful downy feathers.
Thanks Chickstarrs. Another option to explore. I need to get moving on this very soon! Sorry that you have to part with some chickens😞. I have been resisting increasing my flock - even though there are so many other breeds that I like - for the reason you're facing: my coop would be too confining in the cold weather when they are used to free ranging the entire day in good weather. Some of my girls are "divas" and a crowded coop would be pandemonium!
 

IQL

Chirping
Jul 29, 2020
56
64
83
My daughter and I have ducks, peacocks, and chickens. Gets pretty cold here but none of the coops are insulated. All the groups are able to be out of drafts, but usually choose to be out in their runs if the sun is shining. I was amazed the first year by the peacocks and how well they did. They would wade through the fresh snow, then roost in the sunshine.
Totally agree that the sun makes a huge difference as does being draft free. We purposely set the coop in front of a barn wall that blocks the predominant west winds and there is some protection from the north winds too. Peacocks are on my list! Do they get along with the chickens, even roosters?
 

IQL

Chirping
Jul 29, 2020
56
64
83
I'm in the Barrie-ish area and I don't insulate or heat. I may block off a bit of my coop this year due to some predation loss brutally bringing flock numbers down, but in my many years of chicken keeping, I've never insulated and only have used a heater for the silly broody hatching in January. The ladies are shockingly warm little things, so unless you've got some rare breeds, I personally wouldn't suggest it. I'd be too worried about moisture buildup in an insulated coop. As long as you've got a draft free, dry spot for them, they can be quite snug. With plenty of ventilation, I don't see even frostbite on the largest of combs most years.
The -30 days usually are pretty okay too, I do line my run walls with vinyl table cloth protectors and plexiglass to keep the bitter wind out, and everyone's happy!

My girls adore fresh snow! The ones experiencing first winters are usually a bit timid, but a bit of straw tossed onto of the snow (or a path dug in those pesky super deep days) and everyone's happy again!
Good to know LateBirdFarms as I did something similar last year: taped thick plastic around the inside walls and ceilings as a barrier to drafts and piled deeper wood shavings on the floor. If the plastic lining has been working for you in Barrie, then it should be fine in Niagara. I would still like to do a little more, at least on the ceiling with the hope of retaining more heat. I hope that the 2 vents at the top are sufficient as I try to not open the windows when it is too cold. That said, one of the doors is usually open a bit to let the chickens out, if they choose. A few of my "braver" girls would sometimes venture onto the snow - and I do shovel for them! - but this year I'll try throwing some wood shavings on top to see if that will lure out the others.
 

IQL

Chirping
Jul 29, 2020
56
64
83
This is my first year with chickens in Nova Scotia, Im a little concerned there isn't enough ventilation. My partner insists that we have enough. We took a custom board and batten shed and inside we halved it, the half where the chickens live has vinyl flooring, and plywood on the walls (air space) but the half where they do not live was left bare. There is a ridge vent along the top of the roof and soffit along both sides (12 feet long). That is all. I feel we need something on the west and east sides near the roof peak, but he says the way that the wind blows here in the winter plus the ridge vent and soffit will allow for more than enough passive air flow. There are 6 chickens housed in the coop. He knows a lot more about this stuff than me with his engineering, but Im also curious on others experiences with passive air flow for ventilation.
Following 🙂
 

DukesDucks

Crowing
Oct 6, 2019
792
2,662
286
Eastern Ontario, Canada
My partner insists that we have enough. We took a custom board and batten shed and inside we halved it, the half where the chickens live has vinyl flooring, and plywood on the walls (air space) but the half where they do not live was left bare.
This sounds similar to my set up for ducks where their coop is half of a board and batten shed. I have not added anything to the basic construction. I tried vinyl flooring on the floor and part way up the walls but the ducks had a great time ripping it all off. Their run is attached (10 x 20). I put a large tarp on one side of the run to cut down on wind, leaving the south side open to sun. I allow them into the run during daylight hours and they always have the option to go inside which they rarely do. This will be their 3rd winter and I haven't had any problems despite frigid temperatures.
 

LateBirdFarms

Songster
Apr 17, 2020
858
1,906
216
Ontario
Good to know LateBirdFarms as I did something similar last year: taped thick plastic around the inside walls and ceilings as a barrier to drafts and piled deeper wood shavings on the floor. If the plastic lining has been working for you in Barrie, then it should be fine in Niagara. I would still like to do a little more, at least on the ceiling with the hope of retaining more heat. I hope that the 2 vents at the top are sufficient as I try to not open the windows when it is too cold. That said, one of the doors is usually open a bit to let the chickens out, if they choose. A few of my "braver" girls would sometimes venture onto the snow - and I do shovel for them! - but this year I'll try throwing some wood shavings on top to see if that will lure out the others.
Remember too, that insulated walls tend to hide pests in several forms, so the lighter you on the insulation the better! I've also seen poultry go to town on the foam insulation boards! If you decide they might be a good easy idea for the coop ceiling, just be sure they're out of reach. Don't know what's so tasty about it, but the way they go at it makes it look 10x more desirable than a warm mash with a meal worm topper!
My biggest worry in Niagara would be the damp days, so keep an eye on the moisture levels. I added an exhaust fan for those gloriously wet humid ontario summeìrs, to draw some of that moist air out for super easy cheap fix but it could easily work for the winter too (just watch for dust build up if you do)! But if you really want to get an idea of how warm those little ladies can be, snuggle a hen on a cold day!
 

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