Just insulating the nesting box area?

rancher hicks

Crowing
11 Years
Feb 28, 2009
17,685
905
476
Syracuse, NY
Many of the magazine out now have articles on winterizing for poultry. As I was reading one I happen to think about how coops designs have changed. Many are not dirt floored. Many are raise up off the ground and much smaller in sq footage. Nest boxes are now exterior rather than interior.

I personally prefer being required to go into the coop so I can monitor the birds and more importantly the condition. If it smells, is to warm and humid it's time to clean. I don't like a warm coop. 40 - 50 is plenty warm. 30 + will not hurt and is very good in winter. IMO of course.
 
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Wrightsx4

Songster
9 Years
Jun 15, 2012
1,092
68
226
Northwest Michigan
Hi- great thread! I'm in northwest Michigan near the lake and I can relate to winter concerns. I have two wooden coops - a 4x8 and a 10x16. Both are very well ventilated high above the roosts and are kept as draft-free as possible below the vents, with the exception of the pop doors which are closed at night. I insulated the lower 6ft of the west and north walls only since that's where all the icy wind comes from. I used foam board and covered with cheap recycled paneling. It made a huge difference in reducing the draftiness. No problems with frostbite. Funny thing is, when I open the coop in the morning it feels "warm". I do not use heat in my coops except I do have a 25watt (or 40watt when it's super cold) bulb in a cinder block covered by a pizza pan (so high tech!) that their waterer sits on. It's plugged into a thermo cube so it only turns on when it's below freezing. The chickens produce a lot of heat - and a lot if moisture. I think the most important thing is having plenty of ventilation over their heads.
 

Wrightsx4

Songster
9 Years
Jun 15, 2012
1,092
68
226
Northwest Michigan
Oh - forgot to mention, I didn't have much problem with frozen eggs. Even though they have plenty of nestboxes, they all like sharing the same few - especially in winter. I assume that while I'm at work all day those eggs get warmed by sitting hens for a good portion of it. During the winter they must prefer to use a nest that has already been warmed up I guess :)
 

rancher hicks

Crowing
11 Years
Feb 28, 2009
17,685
905
476
Syracuse, NY
Hi- great thread! I'm in northwest Michigan near the lake and I can relate to winter concerns. I have two wooden coops - a 4x8 and a 10x16. Both are very well ventilated high above the roosts and are kept as draft-free as possible below the vents, with the exception of the pop doors which are closed at night. I insulated the lower 6ft of the west and north walls only since that's where all the icy wind comes from. I used foam board and covered with cheap recycled paneling. It made a huge difference in reducing the draftiness. No problems with frostbite. Funny thing is, when I open the coop in the morning it feels "warm". I do not use heat in my coops except I do have a 25watt (or 40watt when it's super cold) bulb in a cinder block covered by a pizza pan (so high tech!) that their waterer sits on. It's plugged into a thermo cube so it only turns on when it's below freezing. The chickens produce a lot of heat - and a lot if moisture. I think the most important thing is having plenty of ventilation over their heads.


Absolutely. Chickens expel a lot of moisture.
 

Budderball

In the Brooder
6 Years
Oct 25, 2013
15
1
23
Australia.
Just read thru all this. Good ideas, and I was going to ask how to tell if an egg had frozen, but Reurra came to the rescue! We only have 7 girls and we are first time chickeners, but are getting about 35 eggs a week since mid-July. Very happy with the production, but we are not going to insulate the coop or the nest boxes. I do like the idea of a 60 watt bulb on a timer or thermo-timer device best, built under the laying boxes. That'd work for us, since we have our nest boxes built on to the outside for easy access. Our girls are not going to get artificial light, so they will slow down soon I suspect.
I love the chook heads poking out of the nesting box! Cute as!
 

smhoekzema

Chirping
6 Years
Nov 15, 2013
174
22
78
Sydney, Australia
Kernel Clucks idea sounds the best in my opinion, I was actually thinking of heated cords that are normally sold for reptile enviorments, good ones won't set bedding on fire, won't electrocute your animals, and are made to work safely even in humid environments. 
In my case, insulating the nest boxes would make them too small for a chicken to comfortably fit in there. A half inch layer of insulation and a half in layer of plywood would make the boxes about 9 1/2" square, but hopefully yours are bigger boxes in the first place. 
The next point is if all this work with either insulating or heating is  worth non frozen eggs for breakfast everyday for the winter. 
This is my first year with chickens and they are yet to live through their first winter, so I'm not going to do anything about the eggs until I find a problem and if I do, I'll first figure if it's worth fixing.
It's up to you, and maybe you should consult your spouse if you haven't already, he might have something figured out.



Just a though and Im not sure how hot they get but I wonder if the reptile heated mats would work well in a nest box. I know they come in many different sizes also. May be something to check into.


From someone who owns reptiles...

Reptile mats and cords work well but they DO need to be put on a thermostat! Please don't just plug them in as they will get hot enough to cause a burn and of left too long will start a fire. Also, cords work much better than the mats and tend to last longer. You can turn the cord into a heated mat by threading it backward and forward through a 10mm peice of corflute cut to the size you need:)
 

valeried

In the Brooder
Aug 8, 2021
13
9
20
We are all about the eggs! Adding a lamp in the coop increases the Winter egg production and the girls love to spread their wings and sun bathe under the lamp on cold Winter days. We sell at least $7 in eggs per day so we don't mind supplying a few dimes of energy of that for the heated water dispensers and a brooder lamp.

thumbsup.gif




What do you do if the power goes out?
 

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