Insulate or not; windows or not?


In the Brooder
10 Years
May 16, 2009
My DH has finished the flooring, walls are up, and roofing is done.
Coop is 4x8 and front wall is 8' back wall is 6'.

Now we just have OSB board on outside with the 2x4 studs on the inside. I would like to put in a lineolum/vinyl floor and also have it go up the walls a few inches. With that being said, should we put OSB boards on the inside of the coop? Or do we not need to finish the inside? Should we put insulation in? We are in Southeastern PA.

I was thinking to put plexiglass for windows with the hardware wire but not exactly sure how to do this if the inside is not finished? And the ones on the one wall would not be able to be opened since they will be up too high and the run is on the outside of this wall below.

And from what I have read on BYC, vents and windows are different?
So do the vents need to be closed up during winter time too? How many vents are enough? There are some small ones under the roof on the back side of the coop. Would this be sufficient as vents if they are covered with hardware cloth?

Insulation is certainly optional in SE PA (you do not NEED it), but if you have ambition and materials it *will* make your coop somewhat easier to manage in wintertime (b/c you can have more ventilation open) and pleasanter for the chickens. Also if you ever mess up and need a heat lamp -- and really, in the Philly area the ONLY reason you'd ever need a heat lamp is b/c of ill-timed chicks, ill-chosen breeds, or a coop management problem -- insulation will save you $ on your electric bill.

Windows for sure, and I'd make them all openable, ESPECIALLY the high-up ones (that's where your very hot summer air is going to need to exit!)

Vents need to be open in the wintertime, just maybe less than in summer (the high-up ones atop the walls are most important in winter) and it is awfully, awfully good if you have the ability to decide which ones are open depending on the weather. E.g. in a windy snowstorm you close the upwind ones. Flaps or sliders work well, although lower-tech 'staple some cardboard over it' type solutions are possible in a pinch.

Have you tried cruising some of the BYC coop pages to see what others do? Not all examples are equally effectively/sufficiently ventilated, but there ARE a lot of good ones there that you might use for ideas.

Good luck, have fun,

Oops, forgot to address a few things:

Not necessarily; windows are one way of providing ventilation, but you can also have openings meant mainly just FOR air circulation, which is what people are calling 'vents'. It just means 'doesn't look like a window'

How many vents are enough? There are some small ones under the roof on the back side of the coop. Would this be sufficient as vents if they are covered with hardware cloth?

How much vent area your coop needs is actually quite a complex question, not really answerable in the general case because it depends on so many specifics (down to things like how windy/still the location is). I would suggest, though,it is better to have and not need, than to need and not have, and also that it really sucks having to hack holes in your coop when it is 0 F in January.

Thus, I'd suggest most people should aim for something A MINIMUM that is somewhere between 1 sq ft of vent per 10 sq ft of coop area, and 1 sq ft of vent per chicken. (the latter is usually the higher number). If you're in a hot climate or the coop is in a hot site (against the S side of a house, for example) then you will want more, possibly MUCH more, than these numbers. Of course, in a climate that gets Winter, you will not necessarily use the full am't of ventilation every day of the year.

Does that help any?

Good luck, have fun,

Oh okay! I got it -- I think? I still need windows. and the Vents should be always open. There are vents up near the roof on the back wall where there is a large over hang of the roof so I will keep them and put hardware cloth on them. Then stick with plan A for the windows.

Thanks again!

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