Insulating the coop seemed like a good idea.. MOLD!!! Now what?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chantald, Apr 5, 2009.

  1. We went and fully insulated our coop this winter.. it seemed like a good idea at the time. There was adequate ventilation via 2 air vents and a window..

    I was cleaning the coop today and looked up, the insulation was stained with water.. We tore it down, thinking the roof was leaking.. and to our horror, MOLD everywhere. We ripped it all out.. and the entire coop was covered in mold..

    No wonder the chickens were all sneezing [​IMG]

    I've washed/sprayed a strong clorox solution on every part of the coop. My asthma is about ready to kill me from the fumes. We left it open (chickens confined outside to their run) to air and dry out..

    Did I kill all the mold??

    Oiy vey.. this is just over the top....

  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    That's unusual. This is fiberglass batts, or what? Wood or metal coop walls?

    Either you've got *fierce* humidity and condensation inside the walls, or rain/snow leaks somewhere. The first problem is solved by greater coop ventilation and/or a vapor barrier (on the inside wall, not the outside), the second is obviously going to be a matter of finding and fixing the leak(s).

    Good luck,

  3. The coop is a converted Amish shed. The insulation was standard fiberglass with a vapor barrier applied to the inside, barrier towards the coop, fiberglass towards the outside wall.

    DH feels it is a humidity issue, as every board was moldy.. he says a leak would have impacted a few boards around the area.. not every piece of wood in the whole coop..


    The coop is so much colder this am (we got down to the mid 30's) last night.. sigh.. and now I'm worried about "black mold"
  4. ging3rhoffman

    ging3rhoffman Songster

    Feb 23, 2009
    Im not sure why so much mold but i was wondering if keeping a heat lamp on at night would help get rid of the humidity. I have a 250 watt heat lamp in out 8 x 10 insulated coop and it feels warm and dry. Let us know if you figure out why all the moisture. Good Luck.

  5. Interestingly, I had a heat lamp out there most of the winter.. until the coop nearly burned down.. [​IMG]

    If that works, at keeping the humidity down... what does one do in the summer when it can get up to 85% humidity here?

    Guess they'll have to adapt to a cooler coop..

    I did have 25 chickens in there this winter.. maybe that was why? I'm down to 5 and am going to keep the number under 10.. I was fostering chickens for a friend until Spring when they could start their flock..

    oiy.. I am worried the mold won't die off.. and then I was worried I'd go out today and find them all dead due to the clorox I used on every surface...

    can't win.. (the chickens were fine this am)
  6. AHappychick

    AHappychick Wanna-be Farmer

    Dec 16, 2008
    I dont know if this is helpful cause I have not had to del with humidity yet but maybe those cans that absorb humidity would help. You would have to put them in a box with a mesh top or something so the chooks could not get at it and poison themselves but they are pretty good at rdrawing all extra moisture away. I have used them when dealing with wet basements and such in realestate. you could also drag a de-humidifier out there if you wanted but that would probably be silly.

    the bleach probably killed it all so I would not worry about black mold but obviously you need some solution so that you dont have to go through this again. I have been reading an older poultry book that says the more ventilation the better for their health as well, and that we as humans instinctively worry about them getting cold and usually dont put enough ventilation in.

    good luck, sorry about the mess!
  7. CityChook

    CityChook Songster

    Apr 9, 2008
    Minneapolis, MN
    My Coop
    Wow, that is a real bummer. I don't know what black mold is.... but if you're worried about the mold returning, maybe a coating of oil-based stain to seal the wood (after it's all clean, of course)? I'd also make sure that your ventilation is adequate. Now that you have fewer birds, you'll probably be fine.

    Also, I hardwired a light socket to the wall for my heat lamp so that I wouldn't obsess about it falling and burning the coop down. It operates on a switch. Best move ever.

    I'm no expert - just spewing an opinion. Good luck.

  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:If the mold was on the coop side of the vapor barrier, it's a humidity problem and you need lots more ventilation.

    If the mold was on the fiberglass-and-outside-wall side of the vapor barrier, then it is *probably* a leak problem... rain permeating gaps between siding boards? wicking up from snow banked around a not-very-tight bottom? It is not impossible to be a humidity problem even if the mold on the outside of the vapor barrier, if the vapor barrier was not put on correctly i.e. is not a continuous sheet all round the coop with all seams and edges very well taped down with the right kind of tape. (Such as if they tried to just apply strips of vapor barrier between studs). If that were the case, again the solution would be more ventilation.

    If there is a defect in how the vapor barrier was put on and less than ample ventilation, running the heat lamp probably made the problem worse, perversely -- it decreases *relative* humidity of the coop air, but only because warm air can hold more moisture; it can allow your *absolute* humidity to really creep up there, and then if it is leaking through and condensing inside the walls, all the more moisture to condense out.

    This is especially true if your coop is less than 8x10ish, given the size of its chicken population. The more you have in there, the more you have to ventilate, even at the expense of colder air temperatures.

    As far as the mold itself now, you know what, mold was not invented recently. Yes, there are some types that are quite bad for certain people and generally not-good for anyone, and you want to avoid living in moldy places and all that, but quite honestly if a bit of mold were *normally* catastrophic, none of us would be here as our ancestors (and their livestock) would have succumbed long since. I really would not worry about it. Do what you can to kill it; if the inside walls are plywood and easily removed/replaced, maybe replace them without insulation for the summer and put in new (perhaps rigid foamboard) insulation in the winter if you wish; and obviously try to fix whatever caused the probleml but I would not lay awake at night worrying about the mold, you know? The chickens will probably be *fine*.

    Good luck, hope you get it figured out,


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