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Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by gentlemanfarmer, Feb 20, 2009.
Is it necessary to insulate? And if so, do you insulate the ceiling? And how do you then ventilate?
Someone from "up north" should probably be answering you. In texas, it is not needed. Given that chickens give off so much moisture at night when they are sleeping, I would think you would need good ventilation before isulation.
I found good info on this at www.plamondon.com when I was building my coop. I choose to go with an old-fashioned open faced coop. No isulation or front. You can find an excerpt from the book "Fresh Air Poultty Houses" by Prince T. Woods on this sight and a study done on the subject.
I'm very glad we insulated. I have a discussion on this here, with photos and suggestions. We have no rodents, thanks to our barn cats-and you must sheathe insulation whether fibreglass or foam.
But when the chill factors hit -41C here this winter, the lowest the coop went was -5C. Not only did we avoid frostbite on combs, wattles and feet, but it was far easier to do coop chores. I'm for things that motivate us to get in there and cope!
In Georgia I'm going to insulate my roof and walls, more to keep it cool in the summer and the occasional cold snap in the winter...but where you live, Yes on the insulation and perhaps a house wrap as well....chickens are hardee birds and pets....and we spoil are pets! Do you think the early settlers had insulated walls? Don't forget the electricity for that heat lamp when it gets real, real cold in PA.
Now if you have a small coop and the capacity of birds, their body heat will keep them comfortable as well. Good Luck
Again thank you for the great info. I am building a 8X8 coop, for 12 chickens. Starting the walls now, between snow storms. I am glade to read these post. I will vapor wrap before putting siding on.
You just insulate around the ventilation openings, same as you go around rather than over your windows -- no big deal
Insulation is not absolutely necessary in NW PA (unless you have a metal roof, then you pretty much do need to insulate at least *that*) -- however it will make your life and your chickens' life more pleasant, so if you can, I would suggest it.
Insulation allows the coop to hold more of the heat it acquires from daytime temperatures, sun thru windows, andthe chickens' own body heat. Thus you can have more ventilation open without things getting overly cold.
The ceiling is at least as worthwhile to insulate as the walls - moreso if it is thin and will get condensate forming.
I would not personally use a vapor barrier, though, unless I was just using it to block wind from coming thru gaps in old siding or something. IME livestock outbuildings are really just different from houses in a few important ways, and this to me is one of them. I'd rather have the building structure be able to absorb some humidity when there is a temporary peak. It will, I promise, dry back out soon thereafter when the air is drier. And meanwhile it will have reduced your humidity peak in the coop.
If you have PLENTY of ventilation, there is probably nothing much *wrong* with using a vapor barrier, but it is really not at all *necessary* IMO.
If you use house wrap made for Canadian winters it has a fluffy gray side for the warm part and slick white wind/water barrier for the outward side. Typar is the kind we chose, bought at Home Hardware. It can be put up and left exposed for a while since you're working in winter conditions as we did, then covered later. As Pat says you need to pay attention to ventilation. You can'r see our vents since they are on the inside roof of the coop and flow up and out the eaves of the barn- it looks like planking from inside the coop but there are slots that allow excess moisture to leave the barn.
I'm in NW Pa and I insulated the coop, and am glad I did. My coop is 6 X 8 and I have 9 hens. The coop was delivered already assembled and I added 3.5" insulation to the sides and ceiling, then put a vapor barrier of plastic sheeting over the insulation then 5/16 exterior grade plywood sheathing over that. I also primed and painted the interior walls and ceiling. This has made for a warm and dry coop, with no added heat.
It gets pretty cold and sometimes windy for our LONG winters. I would rather spend a bit more providing a good coop than suffer through damp litter, sick birds and other problems.
it is a simple fact that insulation will keep your coop cooler in the summer and warmer in the winter, that is what insulation does. If you have extra laying around I would do it.