Notherners, do you insulate your coops?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mr.hutch23, Nov 2, 2010.

  1. mr.hutch23

    mr.hutch23 Out Of The Brooder

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    I've heard some do and some don't. If you get cold hardy birds what's the cheapest way to keep'em healthy and safe from frostbite through the winter? I'm planning my coop now and I'm in Northern Vermont. Thanks for your help.
     
  2. patman75

    patman75 Chillin' With My Peeps

    No insulation but great ventilation.

    Good ventilation is much more important for preventing frostbite
     
  3. harleyjo

    harleyjo Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We live in Iowa and this is my first winter with chickens and yes, we are insulating the coop. I don't know what all he is doing but he is doing it.
     
  4. jacksboro_red

    jacksboro_red Out Of The Brooder

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    i raised rhode island reds and sex links near lake erie in pa for years. never had an insulated coop and always had good production. never lost a bird due to weather either
     
  5. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Don't know whether you consider Indiana north or not... [​IMG] But we insulated. We only get moderate snow here, but have many nights in the single digits plus lots of wind in my area...
     
  6. chicmom

    chicmom Dances with Chickens

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    Mine aren't insulated either. I do put up tarps around the chicken run to shelter them from the wind, rain and snow. It gives them an additional space that is almost like another coop. (I really wrap it up good.)

    And of couse, you've got to have ventilation, up high. That way your chicken coop doesn't smell like ammonia. Also using the deep litter method as well. I do think that preventing drafts is more important than insulation.

    The first winter made me kind of nervous, but we all got through it OK.
     
  7. Resolution

    Resolution Chillin' With My Peeps

    mr.hutch23 :

    I've heard some do and some don't. If you get cold hardy birds what's the cheapest way to keep'em healthy and safe from frostbite through the winter? I'm planning my coop now and I'm in Northern Vermont. Thanks for your help.

    Starting with the right breed(s) is the first half of the battle. The second issue is bedding ( dry leaves -keep acres of dry leaves stored in a safe dry place for use all winter AND mud season + as chick bedding come mid spring and summer). Leaves are incredibly insulative if you pile enough of them on the ground of the shelter. The most important issue is going to be the peak of the roof- the sharper the peak- the better- perches should be as wide around as a big piece of firewood so the feet are insulated beneath the bird's feathers- rather than exposed and frost burned. Once you have your peaked roof just right you might want to use bubble wrap and landscape cloth to insulate with.
    I staple landscape cloth against the walls and then at least one layer of bubble wrap- then staple another sheet of landscape cloth over that.

    I keep a small window WIDE OPEN at all times as air circulation is critical.

    Best breeds for VT from my experience:

    1. Green Mountain Copper Scotch
    2. Quechua/Ameraucana
    3. Mapuche
    4.Wynadotte
    5. Brahma


    Increase animal protein and fat during cold spells.

    Millet is highly recommended as a winter supplement for all cold weather months.
    Chia seed is highly recommended as a winter supplement for weeks that dip below zero. Chia seed absorbs water and as such enables the birds to hold on to more adequate stores of water during extreme temperature drops.​
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2010
  8. PaulaJoAnne

    PaulaJoAnne Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 30, 2009
    Frostbite prevention is centered around low humidity levels in the coop, and not insulation.
    There should be good airflow through tha tcoop, regardless of temp.
    Our coop is insulted on 3 walls, but the rest is left single walled.
    Bedding is frozen solid all winter, so we just keep adding dry hay on top.
    WHen it hits 30 below, we have a small ceramic heater running, along with a regular 60 watt bulb hanging near the floor, so that the temp comes up a few degrees.

    They get more shelter then the wild birds, but that does not mean that they require it.
    We also allow for only 4 nest boxes with 40 birds, to ensure no frozen eggs.
     
  9. mr.hutch23

    mr.hutch23 Out Of The Brooder

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    Green Mountain Copper Scotch?
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Insulation (done right, not done in a way that becomes a mold or mouse farm) is never a bad idea. Particularly if you'll be using some electrical heating, but even if you won't.

    (e.t.a. - admittedly this works less well, though still usefully, for small coops, but for the record, my chickens are in a 15x40 building with 6" insulated walls and a heavily-insulated drop ceiling, and slab floor, and even with popdoors open during the day, despite nighttime lows down to -35 C, the coop temperature has never been below about -8 or -10 C [like 20 F]. Yay insulation and thermal mass [​IMG])

    Insulation is also not usually *essential* though, til you start talking about very extreme situations.

    See my "cold coop" page, link in .sig below, for my thoughts on winter and chickens and how to design/manage a coop for cold weather.

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Nov 2, 2010

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