1. black_jade18

    black_jade18 New Egg

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    Mar 30, 2009
    I am a student that has been given an assignment of designing a chicken coop. I have not seen this anywhere, but it does not hurt to ask. Do chicken coops need insulation? I know that most of the coops are rather small but the assignment says I have a big lot and to maximize the amount of chickens I can hold in the coop. If the coop is about 10 feet by 10 feet, is that too big of a coop and would that required insulation if it is not too big? Thank you for your help.
     
  2. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Feb 5, 2009
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    Coop size is related to number of chickens, not insulation. Some insulate, some do not, even in northern climates. Chickens require some ventilation as a way to get rid of the humidity they generate and the ammonia odor, which is generated by the poo. Patandchickens did an excellent writeup on ventilation. Insulation assumes minimal ventilation to hold the heat in, so that is already a problem. There are so many factors besides temps: humidity, elevation, on and on. Chickens tolerate cold much better than heat. Many people use heat lamps, which heats the chickens more than the coop, mostly for young birds or to prevent frostbite. However, frostbite is related to humidity much more than temp, and ventilation lowers humidity.

    The rule of thumb is 4 sq ft in coop, 10 sq ft in run, so a 10X10 coop would hold 40 chickens. If the assignment assumes they will not have a run, that would be a whole other problem.

    Have you talked to people in your area with chickens, perhaps?
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Only if you are in a very, very cold climate or have an unusually cold-sensitive breed of chickens do you "need" insulation, but it is ALWAYS a good thing to have. (There is no down side except the extra cost and work to install it). It makes it far easier to keep good air quality and reasonable temperatures in the coop; and if a person finds they still have to use electric heat during part of winter, insulation reduces your electric bill [​IMG] Insulation can be eaten by chickens and must be covered by thin plywood or sumpin' like that.

    I have a big problem with the whole concept of 'design it to hold as many chickens as possible' but I realize you are not in control of your assignment [​IMG] so I would say that the best way of maximizing chicken capacity is to maximize ventilation. Also, it helps a lot IMO to have droppings boards under the roosts that are scraped off (poo removed in bucket) every morning, takes next to no time and removes about 50% of daily poo right then and there!

    Assuming the chickens have ample, pleasant outdoor space, the coop itself needs AT LEAST 2-4 sq ft per chicken (more is better though; I have 15 sq ft per chicken, because we have unpleasant winters here), and you will need 8-12" of roost length per chicken.

    Have fun,

    Pat
     

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