Coop Questions


Mar 31, 2015
Antigonish County, NS
We live in eastern Canada so we have varying weather year round. Our summers are hot and humid and our winters are windy and cold. we see temperates in the summer in the 20s Celsius and can see -40 in the winter. I am building a new coop to accommodate our growing flock and I am wondering what is the best way to insulate it, or if I should insulate at all. I have large windows for both sides and there will be a door on either side as well. I will be putting in gable end vents as well as roof vents. I am a carpenter by trade and have a good understanding of how much ventilation they need and how to accommodate them in that sense but I have read a few different things on insulating the walls. Should I leave the walls uninsulated and insulated only the floor of the coop?
Please check out the first two links in my signature line. These excellent articles were written by a Canadian member and should help you out a lot.
Insulation is not needed, having the coop be draft free on the birds is the key. That said, my coop is built from a shed built with 2x4 construction that happened to be insulated, and the coop typically stays at least 20 degrees warmer than the outside air. We had many nights this winter where the temp at night was -20 with 30-40 mph winds, and the coop never dropped below 25 degrees. Moisture will be your enemy in an insulated coop, so don't have your food or water inside the coop, and plan on keeping a window or two open part way all the time.
Thanks for all the great info. I don't think I'm going to worry about insulating. I have had moisture problems in the past and thats when I learned about ventilation. I will post pictures of the coop when its build in a few weeks
Insulation and ventilation are compatible, IMO. Insulating at least the roof will help in summer heat, which is a real issue for chickens. My coop has afternoon shade, and some shade on the south side in summer, and still has been much more comfortable since I added insulation. It's also been better in winter. Mary
I'm in Northern Wyoming. I use no supplemental heat and my coop is uninsulated. The floor of my coop and run are just the ground we built them on, with deep litter for the substrate. They spent most of their time all winter out in the run, and they'd dig out little holes in the litter and snuggle down in it. In the hot summer, they also dig holes in the litter, but then they lay in the holes with their wings stretched out. So it warms in winter, cools in summer. I have lots of ventilation. If bad weather is coming, I have the option of closing off the vents on the side the snow or super cold winds are coming from. Didn't lose a single bird, and no frostbitten combs or wattles, either. But it's always a judgement call - you know your particular situation better than I do.
I don't see any point to insulating. There's no problem with the coop interior being the same as the exterior. The inside air should be replaced constantly with outside air anyway. I wouldn't insulate my house if the windows and doors were open.
Wind, however, is another thing. They do need protection from breezes. When outside the coop, they will naturally seek protection from wind by hiding along natural windbreaks.
Where in the coop should the heat lamp be?

For fully feathered (5-6 weeks of age or older), healthy birds and chicks being raised by a broody hen -- nowhere, as there is no need for supplemental heat. A heat lamp poses more danger than it offers benefit.
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