Insulation question: fiberglass or styrofoam?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by backintime, Apr 12, 2008.

  1. backintime

    backintime Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2008
    Northern Wisconsin
    Building my first coop. Have read how important ventilation is . . . Am putting heavy OSB on inside and outside walls over 2X4 frame. Floor is concrete. I was thinking fiberglass insulation would breathe better than styrofoam, but husband wonders if styrofoam would work. Will have window that opens and a vent, of course. Our winters in northern Wisconsin get pretty nasty, sometimes 20 or 30 below zero. What R-factor will keep them warm enough without adding heat, if I buy cold-hardy hens? Or is a heat source mandatory? Coop will be 4X8 by 6 feet tall and I am planning on 9 hens.
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Not much 'breathing' is going to occur *through* the solid part of the walls. Either fiberglas or foamboard insulation will be fine. Mice can make a mess with either of 'em, not a whole lot to choose between 'em, it's sort of whichever you prefer to buy and work with.

    Your coop plan sounds good, and I think as long as you have some sort of insulation in your walls and get reasonably cold-hardy breeds you should be fine. Worst case, you can always add a lightbulb just above the roost on really nasty nights (you will need electricity run out to the coop to keep your water warm) (well, you don't *need* need it but you and the chickens will be MUCH happer with it).

    Have fun,

  3. backintime

    backintime Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2008
    Northern Wisconsin
    Thanks for the advice, Pat. Since I'm starting from scratch, I'm trying to avoid making any serious mistakes that I'll have to live with for the next 10 or 20 years. Also want those chickens to be as comfortable as I can possibly make them! Thanks again for your input.
  4. Brian

    Brian Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 30, 2007
    Jacksonville, ORegon
    With such nasty winters, your birds will be spending a lot of time "inside", with less than 4 sq ft per bird, it will be tight in there. If you can expand what your building, that would be good 8x8 would be a lot better.
  5. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    In the link below I have pics and thoughts on insulating for a Canadian winter and I assume yours are equally severe. We used mainly fibreglass, vapor seal (very necessary), tuck tape and screwed the panels rather than using nails. If you use foam, and we did use a little over some sills, it has to be covered because your chickens will peck it, leaving you with no foam and possibly no chickens!

    Oh and using platforms can increase your space. We have one under a window ledge accessible via ramp and a space one in the run for winter sunning.

    It sounds as though you have a lovely space to modify...



    Last edited: Apr 13, 2008
  6. RedTailRanch

    RedTailRanch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 19, 2008
    Portland, OR
    My Coop
    Styrofoam insulates better but fiberglass is easier to work with. You have to be very axact with your cuts on styrofoam or you will end up with gaps where air will get through.

    I am working on mine right now, and have opted for fiberglass.
  7. camille

    camille Out Of The Brooder

    Jul 6, 2008
    My father just made me a nice coop- like 8x8x8 feet or something like that for 11 hens. He brought it over and assembled it. He had glued foam insulation on every wall space. The chickens took one look at it and started eating it furiously. Luckily when my father was setting it up, I knew the chickens well enough to wonder. Then I caught them when they started to do it and stopped them. Till I find something to cover the insulation with, they have to sleep outside. Luckily it is only Sept and there doesn't seem to be any hungry raccoons around recently. I guess I'll try cardboard. What happens if they eat the styrofoam? Even my ducks ate it!!! I have 2.
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2008
  8. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    We are working on a second, portable coop and run set, and we are using three layers:

    outside - pine siding treated with Thompson's Water Sealer
    middle - foil-backed foam insulation
    inside - thin cabinet plywood

    The floor is vinyl, and is caulked around all edges so it will be water and bug-resistant. I'll post pics when I am finished, but it's looking like it just might work. I use clamp lamps in winter with ceramic bulbs and a Thermo-cube thermostat so they only kick on below 35 F.

    Hope that info helps. More to come!
  9. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    We put both Styrofoam and fiberglass in between our walls. Just all left overs from others who gave it to us. We ran electricity out there because we too are in WI and last year we had a -33 degrees here and -50 with wind chill so we figured we should run electricity so we can add heat light in there (the red, so they are not disturbed as much and can still sleep). This will be our first winter with chickens so I am anxious to find out how it goes. Which part of WI are you in? Are you going to the big chicken show coming up in the beginning of Oct?
  10. Jenski

    Jenski Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 17, 2008
    Middle Tennessee
    Whoa! You Wisconsin folks have some c-c-c-cold weather! Here, you are welcome to check out my info on the heat lamps I use. Ceramic bulbs are more expensive, but they are less breakable, quite safe and give off no light.

    [to increase the font size on my web site for better viewing, go to the top left corner of the page and click the A+ until it looks comfortable to you . . .]

    - Tennessee Winter Wimp
    Last edited: Sep 24, 2008

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