Questions about Winterizing my Coop

Ann With A Plan

Chirping
Jun 23, 2020
146
368
83
N. Carolina
As you can see in my profile pic, the sides and door are mostly wired with no covered walls. The sides have plastic that slide up and down on the outside of the wiring, which has been helpful because I can close them up at night, when it rains, etc.

When I got the coop it was only covered with chicken wire. So I reinforced every inch of it with hardware cloth.
I just started putting plastic covered insulation between the wiring and outside plastic. One side is done now.

I thought it was odd that the outer top edges of the nesting boxes were left open, so I put hardware cloth on one side and the other I closed off with something solid. Should I cover the wired side as well or leave it open for a vent? There is a large vent area above it and there will be one at top of the door after I cover the lower section and sides of door.

I'm trying the deep litter method and I'll be putting reflective insulation on the inside of the roof. You may see in the pictures that there are spaces at the upper sides of the coop after the sides go up. My chickens are just about at that level when they roost at night, so I don't want the cold air/wind blowing on them. I did put a bunch of bricks and a long pvc pipe along those edges to keep them from trying to sleep there. But the wind still comes through.
So I'm thinking of still pulling the plastic up but not insulating the other half (since it's near the bushes and doesn't get the wind on that side), but covering the entire coop with a 10x20 tarp and securing the bottoms to the ground on either side.

Any other suggestions will be appreciated.

Thanks.
p.s. I'm in N. Carolina, about an hour north of Charlotte.
 

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thepick4uchicks

Songster
May 23, 2020
982
1,639
143
Mississippi
As you can see in my profile pic, the sides and door are mostly wired with no covered walls. The sides have plastic that slide up and down on the outside of the wiring, which has been helpful because I can close them up at night, when it rains, etc.

When I got the coop it was only covered with chicken wire. So I reinforced every inch of it with hardware cloth.
I just started putting plastic covered insulation between the wiring and outside plastic. One side is done now.

I thought it was odd that the outer top edges of the nesting boxes were left open, so I put hardware cloth on one side and the other I closed off with something solid. Should I cover the wired side as well or leave it open for a vent? There is a large vent area above it and there will be one at top of the door after I cover the lower section and sides of door.

I'm trying the deep litter method and I'll be putting reflective insulation on the inside of the roof. You may see in the pictures that there are spaces at the upper sides of the coop after the sides go up. My chickens are just about at that level when they roost at night, so I don't want the cold air/wind blowing on them. I did put a bunch of bricks and a long pvc pipe along those edges to keep them from trying to sleep there. But the wind still comes through.
So I'm thinking of still pulling the plastic up but not insulating the other half (since it's near the bushes and doesn't get the wind on that side), but covering the entire coop with a 10x20 tarp and securing the bottoms to the ground on either side.

Any other suggestions will be appreciated.

Thanks.
p.s. I'm in N. Carolina, about an hour north of Charlotte.
Just remember that it has to get really really cold for chicken coops to need insulation. They put off a great deal of heat themselves. If they are like my nine girls they sleep huddled together no matter what temp it is. Now mine came to me a couple of days old from Meyer Hatchery and they are three breeds with three of each and they all think they are sisters not just three sisters a piece. So they really get along great and I think that it is really sweet that at 19 weeks old that they still sleep clumped together like they did in the brooder. Sometimes I wonder if they are going to suffocate one another here in Mississippi and I believe they almost did one of them that sleeps in the corner of the roost against the wall. She is the lead and gets her pick of the roost and gets on first each night and they were packing her in too close when it was 90 degrees at night. Our summers as you know have been terrible. If you are up in the mountains it does get cold but not too cold for them to need that much insulation in a decently warm coop. You need that ventilation to get those ammonia levels out and away. I use the deep litter as well but I have a poop board that I clean off every few days and I also clean out my top layer lightly of the shavings where they roost if I have missed a lot just to be sure. I have two hardware cloth “windows” in my coop which I can cover up as much or as little as I need to when it’s cold but it will have to get very cold for several days in a row- like in the twenties or lower before I shut the “windows” more than half closed. On both sides. I will probably just close the one by their roost board three quarters and then close the other one and a quarter of the way. Then leave it. If they get too cold they can jump down and sleep on the floor on the shavings which are warm and deep. Mine will because their coop is very secure. They like their coop. They will go into it if they get scared etc. I just am very Leary of all that plastic. I think you may have too much insulation. The other experts may disagree but more ventilation is better. It takes cold weather like Alaska, Canada, or deep deep snow drifts to get chickens down and frost bite in the combs and wattles. The best thing to keep them warm is some energy before bed at night like Scratch grain or some corn for a few extra calories to keep them warm that way.
 

Ann With A Plan

Chirping
Jun 23, 2020
146
368
83
N. Carolina
Ok thanks. Mine all huddle together, too. I got them when they were babies, too (except 2). Got 8, then the next week 4 more. Then a few months ago, got 2 more that were 2 weeks older than the others. And they got picked on. They in turn, picked on Chubby Cheeks (the little cross beak that just passed away). Those two are still a bit on the outs and usually end up sleeping with each other. Now that I have 2 roosting branches up there they can at least go up there with the rest of them.

Well, I read not to let the chickens roost where there's a cold breeze comes in. That's why I was concerned about those open parts on the left and right.
My reflective insulation just arrived. Is that overkill?

Just remember that it has to get really really cold for chicken coops to need insulation. They put off a great deal of heat themselves. If they are like my nine girls they sleep huddled together no matter what temp it is. Now mine came to me a couple of days old from Meyer Hatchery and they are three breeds with three of each and they all think they are sisters not just three sisters a piece. So they really get along great and I think that it is really sweet that at 19 weeks old that they still sleep clumped together like they did in the brooder. Sometimes I wonder if they are going to suffocate one another here in Mississippi and I believe they almost did one of them that sleeps in the corner of the roost against the wall. She is the lead and gets her pick of the roost and gets on first each night and they were packing her in too close when it was 90 degrees at night. Our summers as you know have been terrible. If you are up in the mountains it does get cold but not too cold for them to need that much insulation in a decently warm coop. You need that ventilation to get those ammonia levels out and away. I use the deep litter as well but I have a poop board that I clean off every few days and I also clean out my top layer lightly of the shavings where they roost if I have missed a lot just to be sure. I have two hardware cloth “windows” in my coop which I can cover up as much or as little as I need to when it’s cold but it will have to get very cold for several days in a row- like in the twenties or lower before I shut the “windows” more than half closed. On both sides. I will probably just close the one by their roost board three quarters and then close the other one and a quarter of the way. Then leave it. If they get too cold they can jump down and sleep on the floor on the shavings which are warm and deep. Mine will because their coop is very secure. They like their coop. They will go into it if they get scared etc. I just am very Leary of all that plastic. I think you may have too much insulation. The other experts may disagree but more ventilation is better. It takes cold weather like Alaska, Canada, or deep deep snow drifts to get chickens down and frost bite in the combs and wattles. The best thing to keep them warm is some energy before bed at night like Scratch grain or some corn for a few extra calories to keep them warm that way.
 

Ridgerunner

Crossing the Road
Premium Feather Member
Feb 2, 2009
26,152
16,860
797
Southeast Louisiana
An hour north of Charlotte, up on the plateau. My guess is that the coldest night you can expect to see this winter is around 0* F. That's cold enough that you will want to block wind from hitting them on the roost.

Your job is not to keep them warm, your job is to allow them to keep themselves warm. With their down coats they can handle those temperatures just fine but they do need some help.

The more moisture in the coop the higher the risk of frostbite. Moisture can come from their breathing, their poop, or maybe the waterer. That's why you need decent ventilation in winter. But you also want to avoid a cold breeze ruffling their feathers. The way I accomplish this is to provide openings above their heads so any breezes pass over them when they are on the roosts.

Insulation is overkill. It won't hurt anything as long as they don't eat it and you still get ventilation. But just think about blocking wind, a tarp can do that well enough.

I grew up in the Cumberland Gap area of Tennessee, probably close to your weather as far as cold temperatures. I saw chickens sleep in trees when it was down to 0* F. They were in a protected area so wind wasn't a problem. By being in a tree they had great ventilation. Those chickens did fine. But a difference is that they had a lot of options to get out of the wind. In your coop they don't have those places to go. Don't put them in a wind tunnel.
 

Ann With A Plan

Chirping
Jun 23, 2020
146
368
83
N. Carolina
Thanks. Yes, that's what I thought. Those areas where the wind comes in on the sides will blow right at them when they're sleeping. I was wondering if I could put something like carpeting around their roosting bars to help keep the bottoms of their feet warm.

I don't have to put the reflective stuff on the ceiling. Maybe since it's a metal roof it'll reflect their heat anyway, not sure.

I think the coldest it's gotten here was around 3o one or two nights. Well, maybe the tarp WOULD create a wind tunnel. When I think about it, there's going to be a space created when it comes down off the "eves" of the metal roof. Scratch that idea. Well, to the right and left sides of the door there is also ventilation that I don't have to block.

I've been keeping the water container outside lately, not bringing it in at night.

An hour north of Charlotte, up on the plateau. My guess is that the coldest night you can expect to see this winter is around 0* F. That's cold enough that you will want to block wind from hitting them on the roost.


Your job is not to keep them warm, your job is to allow them to keep themselves warm. With their down coats they can handle those temperatures just fine but they do need some help.

The more moisture in the coop the higher the risk of frostbite. Moisture can come from their breathing, their poop, or maybe the waterer. That's why you need decent ventilation in winter. But you also want to avoid a cold breeze ruffling their feathers. The way I accomplish this is to provide openings above their heads so any breezes pass over them when they are on the roosts.

Insulation is overkill. It won't hurt anything as long as they don't eat it and you still get ventilation. But just think about blocking wind, a tarp can do that well enough.

I grew up in the Cumberland Gap area of Tennessee, probably close to your weather as far as cold temperatures. I saw chickens sleep in trees when it was down to 0* F. They were in a protected area so wind wasn't a problem. By being in a tree they had great ventilation. Those chickens did fine. But a difference is that they had a lot of options to get out of the wind. In your coop they don't have those places to go. Don't put them in a wind tunnel.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
87,850
106,076
1,737
SW Michigan
My Coop
When I think about it, there's going to be a space created when it comes down off the "eves" of the metal roof.
I stuffed my upper open eaves with furnace filters to keep snow on lower roof from blowing in, can slow down air movement pretty well too.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/ventilation-baffling.75434/

I'll include that in my original post if I can.
Here's how to add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
1600375379761.png
 

Ann With A Plan

Chirping
Jun 23, 2020
146
368
83
N. Carolina
I stuffed my upper open eaves with furnace filters to keep snow on lower roof from blowing in, can slow down air movement pretty well too.
https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/ventilation-baffling.75434/

Here's how to add your general geographical location to your profile.
It's easy to do, and then it's always there!
Thanks. I didn't see where I could click on my name like in your red circle so I just went into the account options and found it there. I thought I had put it in there before. Oh well, it's there now. : )

Wow, quite the operation you've got going. Your furnace filters fit perfectly. I don't think there are any that will fit my sides, but maybe the door and section above the nesting boxes.
 

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