Comparing my insulated and non-insulated coops

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Hickorychickens, Feb 14, 2018.

  1. Hickorychickens

    Hickorychickens In the Brooder

    Mar 29, 2015
    Perhaps an end of the insulation debate?

    I built two coops, nearly identical with the exception that one is insulated and the other is not. I live in Northeastern CT. Both coops are identical in size and build, they each measure 6x8 with an interior peak height of 6'. Both have 2x4 16oc wall and roof construction and 2x6 floor joist also 16oc. Both coops have R-19 insulation in the floors. The insulated coop has R-13 wall insulation with the interior of the walls covered with 1/2" OSB plywood, the ceiling has reflective radiant heat barrier attached to the underside of the rafters. The uninsulated coop only has the R-19 insulation in the floors, no wall insulation, no interior wall, no radiant heat barrier on the ceiling. In the attached picture the insulated coop is on the left.

    The insulated coop was built in 2015 while the uninsulated coop was built in 2017. I designed and built both coops. The insulated coop houses 10 chickens (3 buff orphingtons, 3 barred rocks, 3 new Hampshire reds, 1 black sex linked) while the uninsulated coop houses 12 chickens (4 speckled Sussex, 3 silver wyandottes, 3 black austrolops, 1 copper maran, 1 olive egger). Coops have the same windows, same automatic door, same ventilation, same roofing material, same number of nesting boxes, etc..

    What I have found is that during the summer months the uninsulated coop runs about 2 degrees warmer than the insulated coop during the day but the uninsulated coops cools down much quicker at night and runs about 2-3 degrees cooler than the insulated coop as soon as an hour after sunset. During the winter the insulated coop is warmer during the day and night. The uninsulated coop is at ambient temperature during the day and generally 2-4 degrees above ambient temperature at night. While the insulated coop runs 4-6 degrees above ambient temperature during the day and generally 6-8 degrees above ambient temperature at night. I do not heat my coops at night. I have made sure that both coops are as draft-free as possible. Both coops have electricity and have heated waterers inside.

    I monitor the temperatures in my coop with the Ambient Weather WS-3000-X3 Thermo-Hygrometer Wireless Monitor with 3 Remote Sensors. My coops are about 100ft from my house.

    We had a brutal 2 weeks in late December through early January with nighttime low temperatures for several nights in a row of minus 2 to minus 8 degrees. The uninsulated coop got as low as minus 2 degrees on the coldest night while on the same night the insulated coop had a low temperature of +6 degrees. Regardless, all my chickens did fine with no evidence of frostbite.

    I will let each reader of my experience draw their own conclusions on whether they choose to insulate or not. If I can help clarify any information, please ask.

    Attached Files:

  2. Ptera

    Ptera Songster

    Oct 9, 2017
    Excellent analysis and information! Thank you. Here's my observations for a very small coop. I insulated my pigeon house with reflective foil/bubble insulation and found that when I tested it, it kept the inside of the house well above freezing even with single digit temps outside. However, keep in mind that my pigeon house is very small (about 20"x 30". It's for sleeping only), I only had 6 pigeons, it was sealed shut at night, had about 4" of straw on the bottom and their body heat, IMO was a major contributing factor in raising the indoor temps. in such a small space. In other winters I've left the 5" x 6" entry door open at night and they did just fine, but I didn't measure the inside temp. with the door open because I assumed it would be the same as the outdoor air. My mom once kept 25 chickens temporarily in a large, well built wood garden shed for a couple weeks (emergency situation) and even though there was snow on the ground outside, when you would open the door in the morning it was very wet & humid inside, from their body heat.
  3. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Crossing the Road

    Nov 7, 2012
    Excellent thread, and worth while posting of relevant information. If there was a "post of the day" award, you would get it!
  4. Hopperkiller

    Hopperkiller Songster

    Dec 8, 2013
    slidell, tx
    Almost scientific testing. Very interesting article and testing method. I would have to second the nomination for post of the day!
    Texas Kiki and ButtonquailGirl14 like this.
  5. Suzi18

    Suzi18 Crossing the Road

    Apr 4, 2017
    Sandusky Ohio
    Love your coops and thanks for the info.
    Texas Kiki and ButtonquailGirl14 like this.
  6. TalkALittle

    TalkALittle Songster

    Dec 15, 2014
    @Hickorychickens any info on the humidity levels in the two coops, specifically during winter nights? I'd be curious to see how the 6-8° difference at night affected humidity levels.

    Also, do the coops have equal exposure to sun/shade in both summer and winter?
  7. Howard E

    Howard E Crowing

    Feb 18, 2016
    Excellent information!

    BTW, what USDA climate zone are you in?

    And how many birds in each?
    Texas Kiki and ButtonquailGirl14 like this.
  8. Texas Kiki

    Texas Kiki Egg Pusher

    Jul 31, 2015
    Houston, TX
    My Coop
    ButtonquailGirl14 likes this.
  9. Hickorychickens

    Hickorychickens In the Brooder

    Mar 29, 2015
    I do have a humidity reader in each coop and they both had humidity levels that match the ambient humidity. Both coops have a ridge vent, soffit vents, and gable vents so I have plenty of airflow. I have never had an issue with frostbite on any of my chickens.

    As you can see in the picture the coops are attached with a run inbetween them so they get equal sun/shade exposure.
    Texas Kiki likes this.
  10. Hickorychickens

    Hickorychickens In the Brooder

    Mar 29, 2015
    My Hardiness zone is 6a.
    Texas Kiki likes this.

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