Do I need insulation?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Nigellas, Jun 14, 2008.

  1. Nigellas

    Nigellas Songster

    Jun 14, 2008
    Ann Arbor, MI
    Hi everyone. [​IMG] I'm a soon to be new chicken mama, and my husband and I are currently working on the coop. We live in Michigan, near Ann Arbor - the weather can get quite cold in the winter... My question is - Do we need to build insulation into the coop, or is a heat lamp sufficient? Most of the coops I've seen online are not insulated, but perhaps they are southern-owned coops?

    Thanks for helping a newbie!
  2. lurky

    lurky Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    We are in Ma. and we insulated our birds coop to keep them comfortable. Just be sure it has ventilation [​IMG]
  3. Anny

    Anny Songster

    Apr 24, 2008
    Detroit Michigan
    Welcome! I grew up in A2 and ypsi area! I love it! I now live in Detroit though...although I'm in A2 alot and it's still my home at heart.

    I think it depends on how many chickens you are planning to keep and where you want to keep them.

    Personally I am insulating my coop when I build it, I am making a small coop large enough for 4 chickens. I also don't want to use a light...or only use one as little as possible. I mean people have had chickens for 100's of years with out a light or heater and they do just fine.

    Make sure you have high up ventilation and that your coop isn't drafty where the chickens will be (the floor and roosts...nesting box and such)

    I'm sure the more chickens you have the better they will be at keeping each other warm though .

    Good luck!!!

    (it's nice to see some one on here near me!)
  4. kelliepulido

    kelliepulido Songster

    Mar 18, 2008
    st.john's mi
    I grew up in Brighton! I lived on Winans Lake! I am new to chickens but my coop is not insulated so I hope they will be ok.Mine are in my pole barn.
  5. Creek-Chub

    Creek-Chub In the Brooder

    Aug 2, 2007
    Niles, MI

    To be sure, some folks can take "chicken comfort" too far, on occasion. We live in SW Michigan and just wintered two chickens in a 4x8 chicken tractor. I placed it on the East wall of a garage, to block the prevailing winds. On the N and S (short) ends of the tractor (which is made of nothing more than 2x4's, chicken wire, and a vinyl siding roof) I stacked bales of straw. Most of the East wall of the tractor was left open, although part was insulated with straw bales. I used a water heater, and kept them fed. No issues, whatsoever. On good days I opened it up for them to range a bit, and then they would head on back in for bed. The straw certainly helped, but you're talking about "coop" that is far from what most would consider to be insulated, and I had zero repercussions. Something to think about...
  6. tazzy

    tazzy Songster

    Apr 2, 2008
    we live in Kentucky and we insulated our chicken coop. it keeps it cool in the summer and warmer in the winter. We also piled bales of hay on the one exposed side last winter to keep the worst of the winds off the chickens.

    of course, Kentucky is way warmer than where you live. but way colder than where we're from, southern California! so we were a bit overprotective of our chickens since 25 degrees is bone-chilling cold to us!!!!!
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2008
  7. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    Nigellas, Welcome to BYC!

    Do searches on insulation and ventilation. There are MANY threads and so so so many people with wonderful knowledge and experience.

    I am in MN and understand what kind of winters you are talking about. LONG and bitter. We are in the process of building our coop now and I have decided to insulate. We likely won't use a heat bulb except on the coldest of nights - we are wiring for electricity none-the-less. And you'll still need to keep the water unfrozen, so that's something to consider.

    With our climate, coop construction is something I've taken pretty seriously. It's not cheap. The ventilation issue is real. Do some homework (this site is a GOLDMINE of information) and save yourself some time and money by only having to build this ONCE.

    Good luck and welcome!
  8. Sparks

    Sparks Songster

    Aug 10, 2007
    Yes! insulate your coop. We are in WI and just went through a very cold winter. It`s better to do it now than have to redo it later. On below zero days we left two 60 watt bulbs going. it worked well. Have a heated waterer. Chickens can take cold much better than heat. If you have enough chickens in the right size coop they keep it nice and toasty. Ventilation is very important as it can get very humid, moist from their respirations. Happy chickening!!! [​IMG]
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Be kind of silly NOT to insulate if you're going to use a heatlamp, eh? [​IMG]

    But you are unlikely to need a heatlamp anyhow. (Which, please realize, will be noticeable on your electric bill and are a fire hazard, plus if the power goes out and your chickens are used to heatlamp-warmed coop, then what?)

    Insulate. Cover it with plywood or panelling or whatnot on the inside so the chickens can't peck the insulation. Then make sure you have good ventilation (yes, you will need ventilation in winter too), preferably a buncha vent space high on the walls that can be closed off, weatherproof, when not wanted e.g. on the upwind side in a blizzard. Openable hardwarecloth-screened windows are good for summer use, of course, but not the best in winter.

    Have fun,

  10. Melilem

    Melilem Songster

    Jun 14, 2008
    Holy cow, don't put a heat lamp in there! Of course you meant, use a regular light bulb [​IMG] I live in Maine and I do not insulate- though I know it is colder in MI. I do not use a light bulb with my cochins, but I did when I had laying hens (such sissies! They wouldnt even leave the coop if there was snow on the ground.) It gets so cold in there that if I don't get the eggs in the morning, they freeze and break. I think it is unhealthy to make them go from a warm coop to a cold outside, so I would not insulate the coop AND add a heat source such as a lightbulb.


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