Northerners - insulating coops?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by gottadance, Mar 25, 2011.

  1. gottadance

    gottadance Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 18, 2011
    Wheaton, IL
    Hi there smart chicken lovers living in the cold north - I'm in the west burbs of Chicago and wondering if most northerners insulate their coops? If so, with what? Are you putting up wood or plywood outside, then insulation, then wood or plywood inside? Thanks!!!
  2. Chickenaddict

    Chickenaddict Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 19, 2008
    East Bethel MN
    We went with R19 insulation, then put plywood up over the insulation. Outside is some sore of wood siding.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    No, neither our barn nor chicken coop side are insulated. Mice love to burrow, nest and populate in insulated shed walls.
    Plus, our chickens don't need any heat anyway. We only keep cold hardy, traditional American breeds such as RIR, Rocks, etc. They were developed in New England and upstate New York and were kept for hundreds of years before anyone ever thought they needed any heat in the winter.

    Frostbite is primarily the result of condensation of vapor, ie humidity, which, frankly, insulating in hopes of keeping the coop warmer can actually make worse. A well ventilated coop is far more important. BTW, we live up north in the Mitten next door.[​IMG]
  4. mykl1

    mykl1 Out Of The Brooder

    Nov 27, 2009
    hobart indiana
    I live in n.w.Indiana. I have plastic sheds for coops. No insulation at all. I do put a 250 wt bulb on for the coldest months. This my second winter with no problems
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    IMO it is generally worth insulating a coop if you get real cold winters (Chicago pretty much qualifies) and have any coop features that will tend to lead to it tending to be warmer than the outdoors for a while at night. There are actually LOTS of coop characteristics that do this, ranging from "dirt or slab floor" to "rather large coop" to "I am going to run a heatlamp" to a number of other things including passive solar with thermal ballast.

    It is *not* worth insulating if the coop is so small it simply won't hold any of its own heat and isn't going to be heated.

    Whether you "need" to insulate depends on your breeds and management style.

    More on the subject at my 'cold coop' page, link in .sig below.

    Yes, if you do insulate, you would genearlly want to sandwich the insulation between the outer wall and something peckproof for the inner wall, thin plywood being the most common material. Do your carpentry TIGHT so that mice can't get in there and set up shop.

    Good luck, have fun,

  6. TreeHugger

    TreeHugger Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 7, 2008
    I insulated my first coop and I'm working on coop #2. I'm not going to insulate coop #2 at all. The mice are horrible in my first coop and I'm constantly setting traps. I can hear the little buggers in the walls. I have tried to seal up their entry points but I haven't been successful yet.
  7. san415

    san415 Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 7, 2009
    I live on lake Huron in Michigan, my coop has no insulation nor heat. My hens do fine with out it. My dad told me it was not a good idea to insulate nor to provide extra heat on a regular basis. That on the farm where he grew up that heat was never provided and that people who did had chickens that had trouble with the cold more so than chickens that were provided with no heat and so had to adapt to the weather and did manage to do so. the only thing that you have to watch is to make sure they have water at all times. So I use a heated dog bowl during the winter.

    My Dad passed away a year ago so I can no longer get advice from him. But I do remember as a kid going to Grandma and Grampa's Farm and there was no heat in the barn or out buildings. And they still used an out house and a big wood burning stove in the kitchen, and a water pump in the pantry. While I was still a kid when they got indoor plumbing and new type appliances, but I bet they didn't have electric at the early part of my Dads life. They were up North of where I am so I am sure it was very cold during the winter. Man what memories.
  8. CopperCT

    CopperCT Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 12, 2011
    I'm in CT and I insulated. I used a combination of fiberglass batts... rigid insulation.. and foil backed bubble insulation as I was using up stuff I had around the property and covered it all in painted luan. We've had a hard winter this year and the insulation has kept the coop warmer then the outside temps in winter but it was also cooler last summer. I think if you live in a cold climate it's worth insulating. I know I worry less about the chickens with the insulation than I would without it. I also have cold hardy breeds which helps too. Best of luck with your coop build. [​IMG]

    I should add I have a 6X8 foot walkin coop.
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2011
  9. Buck Creek Chickens

    Buck Creek Chickens Have Incubator, Will Hatch

    Nov 26, 2008
    Neenah, WI
    I got both, all depend on what and how many birds are in each one. bantams don't generate as much heat to keep them selves warm in winter, so the insulation, but don't insulate so much the you build up moisture in the coop, that worse than to cold
  10. rcentner

    rcentner Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 6, 2009
    Le Roy, NY
    We used regular house insulation and covered it with tarp which was cheaper than drywall and OSB. I really love having it, there were days this past winter it got below zero outside and inside the coop it never got below 16 F. When it's in the mid 20's I don't have to worry about having the water heater on. Plus, the tarps are easy to clean when poo gets on the walls. Easy to tell if the moisture is building up too cause the tarps will actually get droplets on them then I know if I have to open the vents up more.

    I know some people say you don't need it, but it's nice to have!

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