tasty foam insulation...?


In the Brooder
Jul 11, 2017
I'm planning to add insulation to my coop here in the frozen north of Massaschusetts. I am planning to use foam panels since that seems easiest, but I'm afraid the chickens will pick at them and eat them. Do I need to cover them so they won't?

I walked around Home Depot trying to find possible coverings:

  • Some boards come with reflective vapor barrier and/or a simple facing. Are these enough to dissuade my hens?
  • thin ply is a possibility
  • thin pressed hardboard is even cheaper
  • cardboard? or will they eat that too? same goes for paper floor covers/dropclothes?
  • plastic sheeting? this seems gross
  • stick on floor tiles, or vinyl flooring
I'm trying to avoid having to cut and recut pieces to fit precisely, so I'd kind of prefer to skip wood. Vapor barrier/facing would of course be simplest.

Ideas? What have you used?


Mar 26, 2020
Lansing, NY
They will ABSOLUTELY eat the foam insulation. Mine are currently eating my house. :rolleyes:

I don't think the vapor barrier would be enough, but a layer of wood should do the trick, regardless of whether that is thin ply, hardboard, etc. Paper or cardboard would work temporarily, but probably would get torn at some point and then they would find the foam. Mine enjoy tearing up cardboard boxes and paper (as a toy) - they don't eat it, but once there's a torn corner it's fun to keep tearing at it.


Mar 26, 2020
Lansing, NY
I think the better question is do you need to insulate the coop at all? How did they do last winter? Do you have enough ventilation to avoid frostbite? Do other chicken keepers in your area insulate? Is this idea to make you feel better or to benefit your flock? People in Canada have uninsulated coops.
I agree - if you have cold hardy breeds, you likely don't need insulation at all. It's more important to have good ventilation and to make sure you don't have drafts directly blowing on the chickens (where they roost).


In the Brooder
Apr 26, 2020
Kansas City, Mo
At first, I tried a sheet of Styrofoam in the ceiling. They immediately pecked it to bits in less seconds than it took to staple it in! I opted no insulation in the ceiling.Try to ensure that major drafts are sealed, covered with cardboard or screw on1/8 " thin plywood. If you believe snow will enter, duct tape heavy plastic outside the cardboard/plywood layer to prohibit moisture next to the interior. Don't use anything that mice can make a nest inside the walls. My body is sore today after 4 hours winterizing the coop <sigh> with sheets of plywood and plastic.
Remember, chickens are well insulated by down feathers... mine were SO happy when the weather cooled off, that they started laying eggs.


Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
Nov 27, 2012
SW Michigan
My Coop
I'm trying to avoid having to cut and recut pieces to fit precisel
Skip the insulation.
It's not going to do much good, except to harbor rodents and insects.
Ventilation is much more important for poultry housing.
It's not a people house, eh?

What does coop look like?
Pics would help here.

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