How would you modify this coop for cold weather?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by BedHead, Jan 14, 2010.

  1. BedHead

    BedHead Out Of The Brooder

    Dec 17, 2009
  2. joletabey

    joletabey SDWD!!!!

    Apr 9, 2009
    western NC
    Insulate it. Otherwise I think you should be OK.
  3. cposz

    cposz Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 5, 2009
    Twin Cities, MN
    I agree - insulation might be all you need. We installed 2 mason-jar light fixtures in our henhouse to add a little heat - it gets really cold here. Even if the hens don't really need it, it at least makes us feel better.
  4. Scott

    Scott Ozark Bantams

    Apr 11, 2007
    Southeast Missouri
    It's small enough that I think the chickens themselves would keep it relatively warm. Particularly if the door to the house was kept closed after they go to roost and if there weren't any gaps between the door for cold air to get in. Otherwise, it could be made double walled with insulation inbetween, but then you would loose valuable floor space. I think if the door were closed at night, the birds would keep it plenty warm enough. As long as kept dry and away from winds, chickens can handle relatively cold tempatures.
  5. jjthink

    jjthink Overrun With Chickens

    Jan 17, 2007
    New Jersey
    My roo doesn't like temps below 40 above zero so even in New Jersey where below zero temps are not an everyday thing by any stretch, I have an insulated and heated coop. I only have 2 birds so they don't get much benefit from lots of body heat.
  6. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Quote:Really nice job and really would compliment any property. I would add two gable vents near peak of gables. Or, you could do a ventilated cupola at center of roof.

    ]For cold weather, you might consider nailing strips of wood on each side at tops of side walls. Then you could slide in a lightweight panel with styrofoam glued to upper side for wintertime insulated ceiling. Just allow a bit of ventilation for fumes/ammonia gas but will still contain their own body heat in a smaller area. Side walls could be permanently insulated, but cannot be styrofoam because the chooks will peck it to destruction and likely eat it too. With temps like you are experiencing, insulation is a must I would think. For heat, use a series of 75W heat lamps at ceiling ht (Or maybe 4 total, one in each corner angled out and down) with reflectors and also mesh light bulb guards to prevent breakage and fire. 6" litter on floor will take care of insulation for it, but also strips of fiberglass insulation could be added to the subfloor from the storage area.[​IMG]

    My coop has been as low as 8 above in AM when I go out to do morning chores. I suppose that with the proper insulation and a few heat lamps, you should be able to keep it above zero inside.[​IMG]
  7. RocketDad

    RocketDad Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 25, 2008
    Near US 287
    Nice looking coop. Looks like you have 1 1/2" of depth to insulate into.

    You won't lose much floorspace adding foam board insulation and 1/8" or 1/4" ply or masonite paneling over that. I used Melamine-faced masonite, and caulked the seams so I can hose it out. It makes for a brighter interior, but if you want it darker just putting on plywood (with or without paint) would be a sturdy interior.

    I recommend using foil-faced insulation instead of bead foam or pink foam. The foil layer reflects the IR (infrared, ie, heat) so you will keep solar heat out (dark coop will get hotter in summer) and the interior heat will stay in. For the thickness, it's very effective and you won't have to buy much for that size coop.

    As far as the chickens keeping it warm, you need to have some vents open all year 'round, and one chicken is about a 10 watt heat source.

    I would also add a layer of insulation under the floor - either between the floor joists or on top of the decking with your linoleom on top of that. For the floor 1/2" or 3/4" foil-faced would work.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2010
  8. Tony K T

    Tony K T Overrun With Chickens

    Jul 28, 2008
    New Hampshire
    I would just wrap the outside (wired)cage with poly.All you need to do is keep the dratfs off from them,they will climatize to the cold.
    In N.H.,Tony.
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    I'm going to disagree with the previous posters, here, and say that's actually *not* going to be the easiest coop to use in a very cold climate such as Alberta. Chiefly because it is so small. I would absolutely not put more than 3 chickens in that for a Northern winter, myself, and honestly if I were going to build something for 3 chickens I'd build something different and with much bigger 'indoors'.

    But, that said, if you *want* to try to adapt a design like that for very cold winters, I would suggest the following:

    -- install a raised wooden floor in the run for wintertime, high enough that you won't get rats living under it too badly. This will prevent you from having the nekkid ground serving as a humidity source (see below for reason). It would not be *too* hard to do this in a removable way so that they could still have the 'real' ground as the run floor in the warm months.

    -- close in the run so that it effectively becomes indoor space for the winter. I would put plywood on the N/W side(s) and clear or translucent plastic (sheet or panels) on the S/E side(s), except that I would leave the top 12-18" or so of the S side open as a vent with a hinged flap to cover it so you can adjust how open it is on any given day. If you are enclosing the run this way, you really will do a lot better (in a very cold climate) to have that raised wooden floor I described above, otherwise you will find that enough moisture evaporates/sublimes from the ground, at least on sunnier warmer days, to create a serious humidity problem despite the vent. And that humidity will give your chickens a high risk of frostbite.

    -- insulate the 'coop' (indoor) part real well, but maintain large, adjustably-closeable vents on the S side and also on the side facing into the run. You will often want it ventilated into the (itself-ventilated-to-outdoors) mostly boxed-in run area.

    -- use very deep bedding, in the raised-floor run as well as in the 'house' portion.

    -- then leave the popdoor from house to winterized run open as much as possible, certainly all daylight hours every day, to give them maximum indoor-type space to use.

    Even so, it's still only 50 sq ft. That's only 10 sq ft apiece *total* for 5 chickens, only slightly more if it's just 3. My chickens all have 10-15 sq ft apiece indoors, and even with that they are really not thrilled about being on lockdown (in just that indoor space) when I'm away over the holidays -- they are not normally very outdoorsy but they are THRILLED to be allowed out into the runs again when I get back. With grumpier chickens you could easily get into social problems (picking, cannibalism), plus they just won't be as happy and relaxed as they could be.

    Just my $0.02,

  10. 2txmedics

    2txmedics Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2009
    Manvel Texas
    The warmth of a flock keep each other warm especially since you have windows that close/doors...I would wrap it to block wind which can make it alot colder than it acutally is at times....I would use tarps or maybe even put up boards that have hinges that you can hand on and clamp with hinges for enclosure....but take off when its nice out.

    Very nice coop!!! If it got really cold, I would put hay down inside as it get warm with hay, but you have to remove it almost daily as it becomes matted and holds smells in.

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