insulation? no insulation?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by nuchickontheblock, Apr 12, 2011.

  1. nuchickontheblock

    nuchickontheblock Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 16, 2010
    south portland, maine
    So my DH and I are getting a new coop for our girls. I would like it to be insulated, but he leans towards no insulation, as he has read that it can increase the humidity to much in the winter.

    This winter we had an uninsulated, unheated tractor style and the girls did fine. Everyone survived. But, if we are going to the expense of building bigger with lots of my "wish list" items (like head room, a person door, space to keep extra food/ shavings/bird care-medicine items, linoleum floor, windows etc.), it seems like having insulation would make sense.

    We live in Maine and it is pretty damp/cold where we are in the Winter (and a fair amount of fog in other months of the year). I know the little fuzzy butts have those nice warm down vests under their outer feathers, but. . . what do you do?? [​IMG]
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Don't insulate. It provides this HUGE rodent hotel and that's about all. What can one really hope to achieve when it is zero? +10? When it's -30, -10?

    Now, rather than trying to insulate and heat the entire coop, investigate radiant over-head heaters, if you must. You could install over the roost and at least heat the birds, not the entire coop. I'd still not want the heating bill. And yes, I raise chickens here in northern Michigan with two months of sub zero nights, night after night. The gals did very well. No frost bite issues. Laying was steady, if a bit down, which is to be expected.
  3. CoyoteMagic

    CoyoteMagic RIP ?-2014

    We've got folks who live in Alaska who don't insulate. Chickens make a lot of heat under those feathers. Thing to be worried about more is ventilation and drafts.

    ETA---Covered run where they can get out during the winter would be a big +
    Last edited: Apr 12, 2011
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    What Fred'sHens says is true IF you have a fresh-air style coop as he (she? they? sorry, not sure [​IMG]) does.

    However if you have the more common (these days) backyard coop that has all four walls on during wither, then even with good ventilation (always necessary) it often DOES make a real difference if you insulate. If you have a low enough chicken population to not require huge amounts of air exchange, and/or if the coop has features that tend to give it significant internal heat going into evening (if you're using electric heating; or if it is a large slab- or earth-floored coop; or if it incorporates other passive-solar-and-thermal-mass features into its construction) then insulating will really keep it considerably warmer at night.

    Even if you choose breeds of chickens that CAN withstand extremely cold temperatures, I see no reason why they should HAVE to if an alternative is available; and they'll lay better if they aren't super cold.

    It is NOT true that insulation automatically creates a breeding ground for rodents. What creates a breeding ground for rodents is BADLY INSTALLED insulation, i.e. with gaps in your carpentry that give mice or rats the idea of trying to chew the opening wider to get in there. With good careful carpentry it is not a problem (unless you have an enormous galloping rodent infestation to begin with, which is a whole nother matter!)

    So IMHO it is not *necessary* to insulate in most regions, if you pick your breeds carefully. However it is still DESIRABLE to insulate in many instances, and you can get substantial benefits from it if your coop is designed to do so.

    Good luck, have fun,


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