Insulation Question.... don't laugh please!

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bap40, Aug 7, 2009.

  1. bap40

    bap40 Hatching

    May 27, 2009
    I am very new to this chicken raising and live in ND, -40's during the winter. I have 2 plymouth rocks and 3 easter eggers. We are starting to plan out our coop which will be in the garage. I have tons of cardboard and those packing foam thingys that I am thinking of using as insulation. Would this work or not? Any pointers or advice is greatly welcomed. I have learned so much just by reading this wonderful forum. Thanks so much!
  2. Wynette

    Wynette Crowing

    Sep 25, 2007
    That stuff would probably work if you are putting it between layers of if you have some sort of wood panel (T-111 or siding or plywood) exterior, and then some sort of panel interior with a gap between that you could put the styro packing peanuts in. Can you describe how your coop is going to be laid out or, better yet, show pics?
  3. bap40

    bap40 Hatching

    May 27, 2009
    I am just in the planning phase of our coop and am not very mathmatically inclined which is making this a harder project than I thought. Basically I was planning on doing the double walls so I could put the insulation in between. I am thinking of making it about 4x4 not counting the laying boxes which I will do as an add on so won't take up space in the coop itself. Hopefully I can figure it out without too much trial and error.
  4. There are problems with cardboard because pests like ticks and mites can live in the long openings, and because if any moisture hits it, you get mold inside the walls. I think if you stop and consider putting some money into proper insulation you'll be happier. Must be 100% sheathed, though. We went through two savage winters in the past 2 years, one with a long spell of -40C chill factors, and the hens were fine. There's also yourself to consider- can you work in the coop and keep the water from freezing without the proper insulation?

    Some thoughts and pictures here-
  5. Big Red Roo

    Big Red Roo In the Brooder

    Jul 26, 2009
    Waco Tx
    I wished I could help , but in Texas We might have a day or two only that might get below 32 fh [​IMG]

    But ask me about 100 plus and I might be able to help [​IMG]
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Cardboard: not good (will get damp, moldy, collapse, host vermin) and unless you put in a WHALE of a lot of it, you won't get much R-value out of it anyhow.

    Packing peanuts: have some potential if nothing else is available, but you can probably do better. Main problem is they don't have terrific R-value and will make an unholy mess if mice get in and/or there is an accident when you're doing the construction.

    If you ask around at stores, you can often score a bunch of styrofoam sheets, ideally plain flat ones but molded-to-fit-merchandise ones can be used too. They get 'em as packing amterial and often are happy not to have to pay to have them hauled away as garbage. If you use styrofoam (peanuts or sheets) make REAL REAL SURE to have totally tight carpentry, b/c if mice can find a quarter-inch crack or gap to sneak in, they will set up a mouse empire inside the walls and track little tiny gravelly bits of styrofoam all over creation. What a mess!

    Another possibility if you want very, very inexpensive materials is to pack TOTALLY MOISTUREPROOF walls with 4-6" inches of well-packed sawdust or shavings; or stack haybales or plasticwrapped shavings bales along the walls. All of the above can host mold and/or mice problems, but done right you can often get away with it to good effect, especially the version where you stack bales along the OUTSIDE of the coop walls. Shovelling snow up against the coop walls helps too.

    Ultimately though the most effective insulation would be batts (you can sometimes get them secondhand) or rigid foamboard. The former is cheaper but more aggravating to work with. Insulate as heavily as you can -- if you can stagger out studs to make 6-8" insulated walls you will get a LOT less heat loss than a standard 4" stud wall.

    Personally I do not think it is a good idea to use a vapor barrier in a chicken coop under most situations, btw.

    Something you COULD use large sheets of cardboard for, btw, is if you decide you want to make a hover or roost-box or 'coop within a coop' partitioned off for the depths of winter to better hold the chickens' heat around them at night. Cardboard stapled to a light wood frame would work just fine for that.

    Good luck, have fun,

  7. bap40

    bap40 Hatching

    May 27, 2009
    Wow, just shows how much I do NOT know at this point. Thanks so much for your input. I will make sure I get proper insulation so my girls are comfy this winter. We have only been in ND for a few years and since we came from Va it has been a learning experience dealing with such cold and snowy winters.
    Thank you for your responses, it helps me so much as I learn more and more about raising hens.

  8. LittleFeat

    LittleFeat Songster

    Jul 14, 2009
    Spmething else to consider.....those packing peanuts are often made of corn starch and would ATTRACT mice and other pests. Some of them are actual styrofoam but many today are corn starch. You can test by getting some wet....the corn starch ones will get slimy and disolve. They also tend to have a slightly tan color whereas the pure white ones are styrofoam. I think they started making the corn starch ones to eliminate the environmental impact of styrofoam.

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