Insulating Coop & Ventilation Questions

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Kyle241, Jun 12, 2011.

  1. Kyle241

    Kyle241 In the Brooder

    Jun 6, 2011
    We are ready to insulate our coop as we live in Eastern Ontario and winter nights hover between -15 to -20c or 5 to -5f. My question concerning insulation is we are planning only R16 for walls and ceiling, is this enough? Also proper building method includes vapour barrier on the inside, is this what everyone who has insulated their coops has done? If we do not vapour barrier, moisture coming through the walls will be an issue in winter.

    For ventilation, this is a big concern and I'm a little confused. I have read the page on ventilation which is very helpful. It states 1sq ft per chicken for ventilation - we will have 6 chickens so 6 sq ft of ventilation seems like a lot. The coop itself is 8'Wx8'Lx8'H so we are dealing with 64sq ft of which 10% will need to be ventilation in some form or another. Our plan was to have two windows and one man-door with a window that opens so with all three open, this would provide approximately 3 sq ft of ventilation and all of these will not be at the top of the coop as recommended especially for cool winters. I could install vents along the top of the walls that can be opened and closed and was thinking of using what they use for vents for furnaces up here, approximately 4"x12". I would need 9 of these vents all along the top which is doable however it would also mean opening the windows all the time to obtain the 1sq ft per chicken. I don't see this in most of the coops unless I am not looking close enough and can't imagine during the winter to have ALL of these open especially at night. Can someone allay my concerns or suggest alternative ways to get the required ventilation?

    Thank you!

  2. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Songster

    The big issue that you have is to stop the wind, birds need the shelter. Chickens generate a lot of heat so insulation it's really not required but does contribute to a cooler coop in summer and a tighter coop in the winter. A lot of people up here don't insulate but their coops are tight so they can control the ventilation to clear the coop air. If it drop below about -20, they turn on a heatlamp.

    Ventilatation is REQUIRED due to the huge amount of moisture chicken put off and the ammonia fumes that develop from the poo. This air must be cleared away to have dry healthy birds and a dripping ceiling. Also you can figure in a open chicken door in the ventilation plan as it's nice to let the the birds out in the winter to get fresh air, scratch in the dirt and snow, and to sun themselves. The winter draft cannot come down on the roost as the birds will be there a lot and sitting still, not generating as much heat as when moving on the ground. Remember they need fresh water as much in the winter as summer.

    What I've seen done is a series of 3" holes in the peaks and eaves as well as along the floor that have a cover that can slide over them to close them off. This allows you to adjust the amount of air exchange occuring and the direction of the air flow. (kinda like a draft on a woodstove) Just be sure to wire them for summer use and predator protection. This gives you more ventilation control than cracking a window although the windows need to open or be removable in the summer for heat ventilation. Another source for info is PATNCHICKENS. they have some great advise regarding ventilation too. Have fun with your birds
  3. Judy

    Judy Crowing Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Especially that far north, I would recommend a vent at the highest point of the coop. To me the simplest construction is the roof sloping all to one side with the vent under the high end. Probably the simplest way to do this is just cover the opening with hardware cloth and build a simple wood shutter which can be adjusted. And with the vent on the downwind side. With the roost at the other side of the coop, at the lower end of the roof, this avoids draft on the birds and still gets rid of noxious fumes and humidity. There will be plenty of air exchange at the vent; you don't need an "incoming air opening."

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