Need Ideas for inexpensive ways to insulate shed/coop


12 Years
Nov 3, 2007
podunk... I mean Wabash, IN
We have an older existing shed approx. 12 X 20 that we are using as a coop along with a smaller insulated coop. I wanted to take the shelves out but since they are all glued down decided not too. I've made roosts on the shelves. It's a bit of a pain to clean but I'll deal.
Sooooo, I had two roo's bach'ing it last winter in the front third with a tarp sealing off the rest and one heat lamp for cold days. They seemed to do fine but I'd like to insulate at least a bit for all my new girls this winter. I will be doing the insulation so I need something easy and fairly quick. I need to be able to do this "a bit here and there" about an hour or two at any given time and get it done by the end of Oct if possible. Another consideration will be getting around the shelves. That means manuvering above and below & they're deep (about 3'). I've been looking and considering reflective insulation both the bubble and closed cell, foam boards, plastic sheeting stapled onto the studs with either syro. peanuts or loose paper fill insulation filling in the gap. I like the reflective insul. but dh said that if it gets dirty (in a chicken coop - go figure
) the R value is lost that means covering the stuff. Peanuts would be cheap but I've read that it can give off toxins and isn't fire retardant. What have some of you used and done? Pros & cons?? I'd like to keep the cost down under $200. if possible. Thanks!
We was luck enough to have the blue styro board....and...we live just about a mile from a pallet place. They make new and recondition old. When they get wood shipped in, there are sheets of thin wood, almost like paneling. They come in 2 x 3 ft pieces. The palet company throws this away, and was glad to let me have all I wanted. We put the styro board in, and covered it with the panels. It gives the inside walls a very unique look!

Maybe you can call around to a palet company, and find some of this??
When I lived in Northern Illinois i simple took 2 foot chicken wire and stapled it onto the studs and then stuffed crumpled up newspaper between the wall and chicken wire. My coop was approx 7 feet tall so I had three sections going up the wall. I stuffed quite a bit in, just kept stuffing until I couldn't stuff any more.
This worked quite well.
One trick, do not drive the staples all the way into the stud, this way they are easy to remove with a pair of pliers and you can remove the newspaper in the spring, it will collect lots of dust and cob webs so you will want to remove it.
If you use nails on the top of the chicken wire and just bend them up to hold the chicken wire up and use staples at the bottom to secure it to the wall might be the way to go.
I see you live in central Indiana, does it get cold enough for the need for insulation. I live just outside of St Louis and I don't insulate anymore and my birds do just fine.
Thanks Scooter. I handn't thought to use chickenwire. That would be a ton of crumpled paper in a 10 x 20 but doable.
Yes, it gets pretty cold around here. The biggest problem is that it gets cold and stays cold. Not too many temps below 0 but enough in the low teens and single digets and snow on the ground. I want to keep the girls happy since they end up "cooped up" for the better part of Jan and Feb. I have a small door that lead out into an small enclosed run and the Old main coop but still ..... My girls have never wanted to go out into the snow plus we usually have some mighty cold wind blowing up the hill into the chicken yard. Not something they enjoy!
Cardboard is another insulation substitue, I use it to cover my ceiling of my coop. I just staple it to the rafters to create an airspace. DH has used styrofoam in the hutch for the Bantams. Use care with styrofoam as chickens love to nibble it! One of the girls just today found a peice to close to the wire and she grabbed, ran and was proud as Jack Horner with his pie! LOL....
In my old coop I stapled vapour barrier to the studs and filled with woodchips. Then I put up the cheapest sheet boards I could find at the time. My present coop is not insulated, but has double walls with just air space between. I am going to see how the birds do this year and maybe insulate next year if I find it a problem. The way I see it is that there are alot of itty bitty birds out there all winter and they stay warm somehow...nature ensures this:>)
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Do NOT use styrofoam or rigid foam UNLESS you cover it up. Chickens have a thing about foam. They can't stop pecking at it! It's like an obsession. Even uncovered pink fiberglass insl. will get eaten! Take my word for it.
I bought insulation from Lowes for $9 a roll and stapled it in place, cut with a retractable knife and covered in thin sheets of plywood. its not the highest R value but I figure I just need something to make it secure and cozy. Someone here also mentioned a while back that they used plastic grocery bags and filled in the space between the studs with them.
Cardboard or crumpled paper will mold, creating potential health problems; also crumpled paper will become Mouse City.

Personally I would not sweat the fact that styrofoam is pretty flammable and gives off toxic fumes if there's a fire. I mean, this is a chicken coop. If you have a fire, the chances are pretty good that you will lose all your chickens no matter WHAT insulation material you use, just because the structure is so small; and humans are not involved so there isn't the usual consideration that way like you'd have in houses.

If you don't like foam products that pretty much leaves you with bags stuffed with sawdust (another Mouse City hazard btw), or batts of fiberglas or rockwool insulation. Any of that will, like styrofoam products, have to be covered. You might see if you can find someone getting rid of cheap 70's style rec room panelling, that would be just fine for covering up insulation and it is certainly cheap enough.

Any of these insulation materials are quite easy to work around your shelves and to put in a little bit at a time, so I am not sure there is too much to choose among in that way.

Good luck and have fun,


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