Insulating the brooder

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by carolthom, Mar 3, 2014.

  1. carolthom

    carolthom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 3, 2014
    We are getting our first batch of chicks this month and didn't want them to be in our house if we could help it. We are building a chicken coop inside a lean-to and I wanted to know if I could insulate it with rigid insulation along the inside walls to keep the temperature at a good level. I want to keep it safe and am thinking the chicks would pick at it so we would need to cover it somehow. But, if we could make it safe, would it be an option to help keep them warm enough (we would have a heat lamp too)? We live in north Alabama and the temps this time of year average in the mid 60's/day and low 40's/night.
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I have brooded many, many time outside in unheated barns, sheds, garages, etc. It isn't very difficult to keep a four sided box, with 50% of the top covered, warm enough, plenty warm enough. I don't think you need to insulate but if you wish help contain the warmth, consider putting card board top over half the brooder. Heat rises, so covering the top to prevent all the heat merely radiating out. There does still need to be good air exchange, so be careful about making the trapped air too foul with the gases that do build up in a brooder.

    As for trying to insulate the inside walls, it likely isn't a good idea. Chicks love to pick and that wouldn't be something good for them to eat.
     
  3. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in middle GA and we are still getting nights in the 20's. I personally would NOT risk it as I can't think how a lean too could possibly be insulated enough. If you insist on keeping them outside I would suggest testing the heat in the brooder a few nights (with no chicks) to see how to insulate it to maintain temps in the high 80's without going TOO high.

    I don't think it can be done but I ain't no expert and I personally would feel awful if I went out and discovered a bunch of dead chicks (but I realize other folks would just feel bad they wasted their money and had to buy more chicks). Maybe wait a few weeks until the temps warm up to get your chicks?
     
  4. carolthom

    carolthom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The coop, which would be walled in, would actually be inside the lean-to so it would be more protected than being a stand alone. Good idea about testing the temps before we get the chicks, we'll do that. I think I'll put a temporary ceiling in lower to the ground and insulate that so the heat won't escape so easily.
     
  5. Sonya9

    Sonya9 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jones County, Georgia
    Oh when you said lean-to I was thinking of a wall-less thing.

    I don't know what type of brooder you plan to use but if the coop has walls I would also consider using an old comforter over the brooder (with the heat lamp carefully inside) to trap the heat. My chicks are in a wire dog crate and the heat lamp is suspended inside the crate so when it gets chilly at night (older house, temps fluctuate) I drape a blanket over the top of the crate to trap the heat in.

    A couple of blankets or an old comforter would probably be more effective and a heck of a lot easier than a temporary ceiling.
     
    Last edited: Mar 3, 2014
  6. shmccarthy

    shmccarthy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I insulated my outdoor brooder with finerglass insulation, almost the same way you would insulate the walls of a house. Instead of covering it with drywall, I covered the insulation with cut up empty feed bags, so they couldn't peck through it. I built it from scratch, and sided it with old barn wood. I also used the shingles we had in the attic to shingle the roof, and built a plexiglass latching top hatch door. It has ventilation holes under the roof and under the hatch door. I don't have permanent electricity to it yet, but I will work on it. It's got a bottom part, that if I remove part of the floor of the brooder, under the shavings, it connects to the bottom floor that connects to the run. That's all closed off right now though for safety for the chicks. It's 5.5x3x5 foot tall and stays 95 in the warm part, and between 70-75 in the cool part.
    [​IMG]

    Before I had chicks in it, or their feeders and waterers, I've made some slight modifications since this picture was taken a few months ago.
     
  7. carolthom

    carolthom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 3, 2014
    Sonya, I think a blanket would do the trick for insulating the top. Great brooder, shmccarthy, I thought about covering the insulation with feed bags. It looks like it works for you. Thanks for the great ideas, everyone. My husband will be happy to see that the chicks won't have to come inside.
     

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