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Insulation and the coop!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Heme, Jan 7, 2015.

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  1. Heme

    Heme Chirping

    Mar 28, 2014
    For the most part, unless you have a heat source inside of the coop, insulation of the walls and roof is not a big factor. Yes a few degrees may be the small difference from the outside temperature; but, the main factor is to maintain a comfortable temp for the girls at all times.

    First and foremost blocking the extreme cold air entering the coop is important. If the North and NW side are open, any blocker made of wood, cardboard, or plastic material, should be attached to the coop from top to bottom. Some folks like to drape fabric or plastic sheeting on the other open sides.

    Depending of the size of the coop; one or two 250W infrared heat lamps attached to the roof keep the hens warm. If the temp is freezing or below, keep on 24/7 and when at 40 or above keep on from dusk to dawn.

    The floor acts as an Insulation in a way. If the floor has a mix of shredded paper and hay over the dirt sub-floor, it absorbs the heat from the lamp/s and keeps the hens warm. Heat rises, thus the upper levels where the hens may nest or roost will be warmer than the outdoor temperature by several degrees.

    I used some black plastic from a trash bag and wrapped it around the water fount and that absorbed the heat from the lamps, keeping the water from freezing.

    No Smell: I spread ample PDZ on the floor to absorb waste material on the hay/paper shedder materials. Worked like charm.

    AS for Insulation material being applied to interior walls of a coop; my heating contractor said it was not a productive thing to do. In the summer heat is retained and the inside temp gets very hot, and in the winter; unless you have a method to heat the inside; the insulation will help retain the COLD making the coop colder. Thus insulation in the winter (without heat lamps) is a waste of time.

  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Free Ranging

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    I'm with you that an unheated yet insulated building with sufficient ventilation will be no warmer than the ambient temperature.
  3. JackE

    JackE Crowing

    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    I'll agree with you as far as insulation in a chicken coop goes. After all, the chicken already comes with perfect insulation of their own, and don't need any help from us. But as far as adding heatlamps, no way. My electric bill is high enough, and I don't need to add to it, needlessly trying to help chickens stay warm. Heatlamps are also infamous for burning coops to the ground. You are talking about using heatlamps when the temp is in the 40s? Totally unnecessary. Unless you have some kind of thinly feathered exotic birds, you do not need to add heat at all. I do have a cookie tin water fount warmer in there, but that's it. Chickens can handle cold weather. My birds are kept in an uninsulated, unheated open-air coop. The whole front wall is open, covered only with hardware cloth. We get temps into the single digits here, and none of my birds have ever had any problems.
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  4. HandsomeRyan

    HandsomeRyan Renaissance man

    Feb 18, 2013
    Music City, USA
    Most chickens will be just fine with no supplemental heating in sub-freezing temperatures as long as they have some protection from wind. I am unaware of _any_ breed of chicken which needs supplemental heat when the temp is 40°+.

    It will be 9° tonight, -6° with the wind chill and my hens will be just fine in their uninsulated, unheated coop. I only use a small heat source to keep their water from freezing.
  5. RonP

    RonP Crowing

    I would say keeping them dry is much more important than warm, for cold hardy fully feathered healthy birds!

    Lots of information about the importance of proper draft free ventilation!

    Heat lamps are a documented cause of coop fires.

    Heat lamp fire!
    Another heat lamp fire!

    Yet another issue, and fires!
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  6. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Crowing

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada
    Warning: I will agree that lightning and heating the coop have it's advantages greater egg production be the only one in my opinion; This is what can and did happen with extra heat just a day or so ago.

    Just a warning to anyone else that thinks heating their coop is beneficial make sure you have a safety chain to hold the light securely if your first attachment fails. You would not be the first to burn down your coop with that same sort of set up. Sorry for your loss Cohl0406 maybe this post will help some one else from your fate. Most chickens once fully fledged do not require supplemental heat is my personal experience once acclimatized.

    I think heating your coop does more harm than good how will your pampered un-acclimatized birds fair when the power goes out???

    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
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  7. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Songster

    Jan 27, 2013
    Northern Wisconsin
    Like I have mentioned in another thread there is a right and wrong way to use a heat lamp, most of these fires involve the clamp on work light type fixture which either are not secured so they fall or they're faulty and melt or short out our they're too close to combustibles. Hard wired lighting with ceramic light fixtures and properly sized wire is a far safer alternative. I don't feel heat is overly necessary unless there are extended periods of major sub zero temperatures but it does certainly improve laying and keeps laid eggs from freezing and breaking.

  8. RonP

    RonP Crowing

    With extended periods of major sub zero temperatures, for the health of your flock, do you have the opinion that heat is more important than draft free ventilation, which helps remove excess humidity and odorless ammonia?

    I believe hard wired lighting, with ceramic light fixtures and properly sized wire, is great for keeping fried chicken warm before eating [​IMG]
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  9. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Songster

    Jan 27, 2013
    Northern Wisconsin
    no where have I ever said I would heat and not ventilate my coop it is possible to do both, sure you will lose some heat but you will still be able to get the temperatures up quite a bit a still maintain ventilation. I would not be trying to maintain room temperature in the coop I would strive for getting the temp well above zero. I have a normal rate of lay and don't lose eggs to freezing as long as it stays above 5-10 degrees
  10. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Songster

    Jan 27, 2013
    Northern Wisconsin
    Also as far as the health of my flock goes, yes chickens can take a good amount of cold weather however extreme temperatures are definitely harder on them. I have never lost a bird during moderate temps, I have lost a few during the extended cold snaps. I am sure they had underlying issues that the cold simply exposed, but these long sub zero periods will definitely weed out weak birds, if I could keep the temps more moderate and still have ventilation I am sure I wouldn't have lost some of these birds.
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