Opinions on winterizing my coop? Picts

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by khable, Sep 2, 2007.

  1. khable

    khable Songster

    Mar 16, 2007
    LaGrangeville, NY
    Hi all,

    All the talk on winterizing has got me thinking about my coop. This is our first year ever with chickens. Never been thru a winter before. I have been reading alot of different versions of what to do.

    Insulating? Not Insulating, Heat Lamp or not... etc....

    So I thought I would post my facts and pictures of my coop and get some opinions on what you all think I should do to get ready for winter.

    So, here are the facts.

    * I have 6 Buff Orpington Hens that are currently 19 weeks old.

    * I live in New York (Dutchess County) It does snow here. Sometimes 6 to 8 inches at a time, sometimes more, mostly less tho.

    * Hen house is 6ft x 4ft elevated off the ground 2ft. Currently NOT insulated. Outer walls are 1/2" plywood. House is located "just" behind our garage. So the northern face of coop is blocked by garage. (should help some)

    * We use the deep litter method

    I keep reading about "draft free" which has made me concerned about the gaps around my doors. Should they be covered or something??? Take a look, I took some close ups of the gaps.

    Here are pictures:

    The Coop:


    Close up of coop:


    The gaps





    My definate plans:

    * I most likely will put plexi-glass around the bottom of the coop to close off an area to be draft free / snow free over the winter.

    * Will be purchasing heated water dishes


    * Should I insulate?

    * Use a heat lamp - I have heard various thing like it can create condinsation making the girls sick from temp changes and will reduce their "Natural hardiness"

    * Do something to cover the gaps?

    * Any other recomedations based on my facts and pictures???


    Last edited: Sep 2, 2007
  2. BeckyLa

    BeckyLa Songster

    Jan 11, 2007
    N. Louisiana
    My opinion (I just love your coop!):

    First, if I understand correctly, your coop is on the south side of your garage where it will get the eastern and southern sun in the winter and be blocked from the harsh northern and northwestern winds. And it's made of 1/2" plywood.
    Second, you have Buff Orps which are bred for cold weather which is why they have such heavy plumage. And they are in deep pine shavings. For these reasons I see no need for you to insulate. Even if you were in Canada I don't think you'd need to insulate due to your impressive planning. I also would not use a heat lamp, they'll get too hot. However, also a problem in "draft-free" coops is ventilation. Even if it's snowing and the wind outside is howling, if the birds don't have adequate ventilation they can still get too hot and the buildup of "poopy fumes" can make them sick. So, I would not worry about the space around the doors until you get into winter and see if it is a problem. I think the plexiglass around the bottom is a grand idea and I know you're girls will appreciate the sun. Just a suggestion, you may want to cover the run with a tarp or something when you are expecting a heavy snow so your girls can still come out and play.

    Nice setup!
    Last edited: Sep 2, 2007
  3. WoodlandWoman

    WoodlandWoman Crowing

    May 8, 2007
    You have a beautiful coop and run.

    I think that working on drafts may be more important than insulating, for your particular coop. What are the coldest night time temperatures there in the winter?

    I'm a little concerned about the gaps around your doors, mainly because they are such large doors and take up the entire wall. That's a fantastic idea for cleaning out the coop and servicing, but it does allow air flow all along that entire wall. When you think about drafts or ventilation, air is going in one opening and flowing to another opening. If a chicken is roosting in an area where the air is flowing across, that's a draft. If the air is not flowing over the chicken, that's ventilation.

    What I'm wondering about is what other openings your coop has and where they are? I see that you have a pop hole door on the lower right side, opening into the run. It looks like that inside picture is of one end and I see gaps there. Is that from access doors for egg collecting? Is that on the left side? Do you have any other openings, like ventilation openings at the top of your walls? My last question is, where are your roosts situated in the coop?
  4. greginshasta

    greginshasta Songster

    Jul 26, 2007
    Mount Shasta, CA
    With hubby's obviously significant building skills, I'm certain he could easily weatherstrip the gaps in the doors, even if it means tacking some 1x2 furring strip along the inner surface so that the doors fit flush against the wood. That's an easy fix. If you want to make it better, set the furring strip in a bit, then apply some sort of rubber weatherstip to the edge. I'd use something that is a solid (smooth-surface) door seal as opposed to the foam insulation so that the birds won't be trying to make it lunch.

    Here's what I have in mind: http://www.doityourself.com/invt/8282048
  5. khable

    khable Songster

    Mar 16, 2007
    LaGrangeville, NY
    Thank you for the compliments! We did alot of research before we got them!

    Becky... Thank you for your advice. You were correct with what you came up with.

    I was thinking about something to cover the top of the run part to keep the snow out, but would be concerned about the weight of the snow. I guess it would work if we cleared it off right away. or we could just shovel the snow.

    WoodlandWoman - Our nights are usually 10's - 20's in the middle of winter but could also go below 0 at times. You were asking about my other ventilation and where the roost was, so I am posting some more pictures.

    Here is the inside of the coop. You will see a long vent along the rear (northern) side of the coop. There is a door on that so it closes off completely. The roost runs across in the picture.


    The front of the coop.


    the back of the coop (opposite the entry door) these are the doors to collect eggs.


    greginshasta -

    If we are going to weather proof the doors I like your ideas! Thank you,

    as far as build up of poopy fumes etc.... I do open those big doors daily and their front door would be open on most days.

  6. aran

    aran Songster

    Apr 28, 2007
    rochester ny
    now you have me worried...my coop is considerably larger but it is also not insulated and I am also in NY. My coop is only about 6 inches off the ground...the girls mainly roost in the rafters though a good 10feet up. I had planned on extending the coop before winter and just planning on shovelling snow each day away from the entrance to the coop so they can come outside and still play for a while...stretch their legs etc. They will be locked in the coop during the day that Im at work because I would think that the netting i have up to keep hawks/owls out will come down with the first good snowstorm.
  7. Chelly

    Chelly Cooped Up

    May 11, 2007
    Speaking of insulating....
    This is also my first winter with chickens - we are cuttently working on the shed to convert it to a coop - its 20X6 pretty large for 8 chickens - I'm worried its TOO big...
    We're putting in insulation (fiberglass stuff) on the back and front side of the coop - the 20 foot stretch on each side, the other two sides are two other sheds, one large and one smaller - those are not insulated.
    Is that enough? we're cutting an opening on the back side - will probably be 2X1 or so and going to put wire and a removable wood door. The front has two windows, one is broken so we've pulled it out - the other, well we've pulled both but will put the other back - it doens't open or close - we will cover the other hole with wire and then one or two smaller wooden doors to open and close as needed for ventilation. The opening will be about 3x3. I hope we have enough insulation and ventilation - any suggestions before we continue tomorrow?
  8. 4myHennyPenny

    4myHennyPenny Songster

    Jun 4, 2007
    Quote:I'm sure you've already thought of it, but be sure to use vapor barrier with your fiberglass insulation and seal it in as best possible. Another recent thread pointed out that damp conditions associated with coops can be a problem with fiberglass insulation as opposed to the foam board. They said fiberglass insulation can become damp and mildewy. DH (a builder) did agree that this was a greater risk with the fiberglass but could be mitigated somewhat by the use of vapor barrier and then fully enclosing with plywood (not leaving gaps for moisture to enter). I'm not the expert here, so some of these details might be off but premise remains the same.

    I'm certain there are several people here who have used fiberglass insulation in their coops; perhaps they can share any problems or how they worked around the moisture problem.
    Last edited: Sep 4, 2007
  9. horsewishr

    horsewishr Songster

    Jul 7, 2007
    West Michigan
    Beautiful coop.

    Why the padlocks? Are your chickens laying golden eggs?
  10. khable

    khable Songster

    Mar 16, 2007
    LaGrangeville, NY
    LOL!! [​IMG]

    That would be for my 3 year old little girl, who always wants to play with them!

    We didn't want her to have any sort of access to just letting them out! So, any door that would allow them out got a pad lock!

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