In the Brooder
5 Years
Apr 20, 2014

I've been lurking around the forum for a couple of weeks, and jumped on to make an account now. I'm from Norway, and my main focus right now is to make a small, functional and insulated coop that will stand the winters up here in the north. I'll loosely try to answer the newbie questions listed...

I'm new to chickens as a grown up (we had some on the farm when I was a little girl, which we hatched in wild bird nests).

I'm getting chickens some time next month, 2 Silkies (for the kids), 1 Bantam Cochin and 1 Plymouth Rock.

I found BYC while searching for great coop ideas, and wow, what amazing creativeness there is amongst people here! My other hobbies include photography and scrapbooking.

I'm a high school teacher who grew up on a farm with trotting horses, about 70 sheep, 2 pigs and some chickens (12).

Love all the ideas and knowledge around here, and I'm looking forward to participating!
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what kind of winters do you have? Maybe we could link you to a state that has similar weather - so they can share advice on how & what to build etc.
Thank you, and thanks for helping out!

We have winters with a lot of snow (the snow will likely leave my garden today, still some small spots of white left) with temperatures down to -5F (-20C). Apart for insulating (5cm enough - or should I go for 10cm), I'm thinking that my run has to be covered with a roof (thinking about clear polycarbonate) for the chickens to want to go out during the winter heavy months (January-February). :)

My main concern is ventilation vs insulating - how much ventilation openings should my coop have... etc.

I'm thankful for any help/suggestions and pointing to interesting threads. :)
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Welcome to BYC
Here is a great article on coop ventilation:


On whether or not to insulate the coop, you'll hear many different opinions. Here are some discussions on the topic to help you decide, based on others' experiences and also a wonderful thread on preparing for first winters with chickens with lots of tips and advice:





If you're after more info, opinions, advice etc you are welcome to start a thread in the Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance forum section.

Best of luck with your chicken venture and enjoy the site!
Awesome! Thanks!

I should probably add that I'm also thinking about insulation to hopefully keep sound (rooster) a little down in the morning... ;)
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Welcome to BYC!

So glad you could join our community!! Sumi has really left you with some great reads there! I personally don't think a coop needs to be insulated. It needs to have all cracks sealed and have no drafts, but not insulated. Chickens are designed to adapt to the outside temps, even the most brutal of them. And if given the time to adjust in the fall, they will do just fine in extreme temps. I like my birds to be able to go outside in the winter. It is good for them to get exercise, fresh air and keep up with their normal routines. But too much insulation will cause the temp in the coop to be much warmer than the outside air. So when they do venture out into the run, it can be too cold for them. If the coop and run or outside is the same temps, then there is no shock.

As for ventilation....chickens need to roost in quiet air low to the floor with venting in your eaves or ceiling. When chickens breath and poop all night, they are letting out great amounts of moisture. This warm moist air has to go somewhere. Since it is going to rise because it is warm, you don't want it falling back down on them when it cools, as water or frost. You want that warm moist are to be caught in your venting air and sucked out the roof. Your birds stay dry and their bubble of heat near the floor keeps them warm. (chickens themselves put out heat as well) They say about 1 square foot of ventilation per bird. I have a slanted roof with the eaves open on the low end and the high end. This creates a positive air flow...in the low side and out the high side. Now if it is going to be a really cold night with high wind, you can close off SOME of this venting, but not all of them. You are only trying to slow the air movement down around the roosting birds. I will close off a few vents on the low side and keep all the vents open on the high side. We have seen temps of -30 degrees F and have never had any frost bite issues.

Now, there may be occasional nights that are -30 or -40 that you might need a heat lamp. You don't want to add so much heat to make more moisture or really heat the birds. You only want to take the chill off around them, maybe bringing the heat up to -15 or -10 around them. Make sure all heat lamps are permanently attached to the wall or ceiling. Clamps are not reliable and the lamp can fall and start a fire.

Good luck with your new adventure! Make yourself at home here on BYC and welcome to our flock!
Oh and I also like to tack an old towel on the roost bar in the early winter. Birds loose heat thru the feet. Warm feet mean warmer birds. :)

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