Insulating coops

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Hottchick, Dec 15, 2010.

  1. Hottchick

    Hottchick Songster

    Jul 29, 2010
    We are all having a bad winter so far. My coop is not insulated. How much difference does insulation make, really? Who on here insulates their coop?

    Does the insulation keep it cooler in the summer?

    I live in NE NC and winters are usually not as cold as it has been this year. Summer is almost always hot and humid. Please tell me more about putting insulation in the coop.

    Also, if you leave the insulation up without adding a layer of wood (wall) on top of it, is this dangerous for the chickens?
  2. oldchickenlady

    oldchickenlady Songster

    May 9, 2010
    Cabot, AR
    The chickens are likely to peck at it and tear it up, if not covered with something. I would instead add hay/straw to the coop, make sure there are no drafts, and give them warm water and warm foods (oatmeal, warm mash made from their pellets, etc) before I tried to insulate. It was 9* here night before last and my birds came through fine. I did have to cover up the 1'x8' vent at the top of the coop, but still have plenty ventilation from the eaves of the roof. Their waterers are sitting on christmas tin heaters, so their water isn't ice cold, I think that helps somewhat.
  3. Tdub4chiks

    Tdub4chiks Songster

    Jul 8, 2010
    Constantia, NY
    Chickens love to peck at/eat the insulation. You must put walls up if adding it. I do have insulation in my coop, but only about 1/4" with a thin piece of plywood on the walls. I don't know if it really helps up here in the snow belt, but it makes me feel better. It's been real cold & snowy here, but the girls seem fine.
  4. RIBill

    RIBill Chirping

    Nov 7, 2010
    Every time anyone posts about the temps in their insulated coop, they routinely say they are 10-15 degrees colder than outside temps. Last night, it was 14 degrees in my uninsulated coop. It got to 12 degrees outside. If I were to add insulation, I would add it to the roof first. Stopping air movement, while maintaining adequate ventilation is key. My walls are solid sheets of plywood, but if they were planks, I would wrap the coop in plastic or caulk. I'm concerned about moisture where I am. You don't need to insulate. If you have hearty breeds, below freezing temps will be fine. If you have sensitive breeds, you can heat your coop. The key to heating is doing it safely. Long extension cords cause fires. Exposed heating elements cause fires. Electrical shorts cause fires. Even if you dont have a fire, there is still the burn hazard to the chickens. You need a low, even heat which is fully encapsulated and only used with a thermostat on a timer. That said, in eastern NC you most likely dont need to do anything except keep your water liquid.
  5. Hottchick

    Hottchick Songster

    Jul 29, 2010
    Their walls are solid. They're some kind of composite that looks like wood. We've got wood chips on the floor, which is a plank floor but covered in a solid sheet of linoleum. They have a 2x4 roost and the vetilation is well above their heads.

    I guess I just worry too much. It's our first year. Maybe we'll get back to near normal temperatures soon. I hate the cold weather. I was talking to the girls earlier and joking that we should build a giant chicken tractor and all move to Florida. (Of course, it's even cold in Florida right now so it wouldn't be much help.)

    Oh, and all of mine are hearty breeds. New Hampshire, Marans, Brahmas, Leghorn and one crazy EE.
  6. True Grit

    True Grit Songster

    Quote:I'm assuming you mean 10-15 degrees warmer than outside temps. We insulated with foamboard between plywood and I did notice it kept it cooler in the summer. my mistake was in going with a cheaper single paned window. Should have sprung for for the doublepaned. With the heat lamp on and 5 chickens in my 4x4x5 coop the temp was only 10 degrees over the outside temps which were in the single digit minuses. That was when I just had the window covered with plastic. When I covered it over with a shipping quilt the temp was probably at least 5 degrees higher.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Honestly I do not think it is at all worth your bothering to do (unless for some reason you run a heating device in there sometimes... which you'd have to have *awfully* fragile breeds to need to do in the first place)

    I don't see much point when you don't have hardly any winter temps that challenge chickens' cold-hardiness.

    Who on here insulates their coop?

    Me (it is superinsulated, with 6" stud walls and a heavily insulated ceiling), but I live somewhere that gets fairly cold in winter AND it is a large building with slab floor and thus excellent thermal mass.

    Does the insulation keep it cooler in the summer?

    Insulation will not keep most coops cooler in the summer. The only exceptions are coops with a good source of "coolth" available -- an airconditioner (don't laugh, there are a few who run them!), or a very good and *lasting* source of deep-earth coolth; or if heat radiating off a hot surface is a big problem for your coop in the late afternoon.

    Really the best way to keep a coop cool in hot-summer areas is to have it in as large an area of shade as possible (especially late-day) and to have lots of free air flow (e.g. wholly-mesh walls) into shaded areas.

    Also, if you leave the insulation up without adding a layer of wood (wall) on top of it, is this dangerous for the chickens?

    Well, it's dangerous for the *insulation* for sure [​IMG] Eating a bit of styrofoam isn't going to kill them; but going overboard and stuffing themselves full of it at the expense of food is not good for them, plus which you soon end up with a *non* insulated coop.

    Good luck, have fun,


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