To insulate my coop walls or not to insulate my coop walls?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Christin, Jan 8, 2015.

  1. Christin

    Christin Out Of The Brooder

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    I have lost all of my hens this winter due to the cold. So this year I am "remodeling" my coop. I have the plans drawn out and everything laid out neatly on paper. I know that I will be insulating the ceiling and under the sub floor. But should I insulate the walls even though I will be wraping them with house wrap? If so should I use regular insulation or should I use the reflective insulation I see people using in their home made cabinet incubators? Should I insulate the outside walls of the nest boxes that will be built onto the side? There will be a window for ventilation and there will be a screen door on the inside of the big door for ventilation in the summer and I plan on having four or five heat lamps for heat (my coop will be 10ft by 12ft with a brooder for bigger chicks in the middle) The floor will have rubber floor liners for easy clean up from tractor supply and there will be a built in feed trough and two built in water stands to keep the water off the floor. My coop will be raised about three feet off the ground with a run enclosing the space behind it and for a ways in front of it which will be dug about a foot under ground to keep critters out that will have its own screen door.
     
  2. HandsomeRyan

    HandsomeRyan Renaissance man

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    Where do yo live / How cold does it get that it is killing your chickens?

    Regardless of what insulation you use, you need to make sure the coop has enough ventilation to prevent moisture buildup which will chill your chickens a lot faster than just the cold.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I
    have the same question as Ryan, also I believe you need to adjust your plans. You need a good amount of ventilation up high above the birds to allow moisture to rise and exit, the air needs to be able to flow, simply opening a window won't give you good flow and a open door and window could draft the birds, though it wouldn't hurt in summer, you need good ventilation in winter as well it just as important in winter if not more so.

    As far as heating, I don't know where you are but I don't feel the need to heat the coop unless it is extremely cold for a long period, normal winter temps in my area are from 0-25 with cold snaps as low as-30 for a week or two at a time with the exception of last year which was far colder for longer than usual. If you do heat 4 lamps would be overkill and a waste of money for a coop the size of yours. I am currently not heating but we heated my dad's coop when I was younger with 1 bulb that was more than enough with the heat from the chickens. I would not want to heat too the degree that it is comfortable for a human in a t-shirt, my goal for heating would simply be to thwart the sub zero temps while maintaining ventilation. My choice for insulation would be 2 inch foam in walls and ceiling I won't insulate the floor because a straw bedding will keep it plenty warm, you will have to cover the interior walls if you use foam because they will eat it.

    What kind of chickens did you have, how many, and how cold do you get in your area?
     
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2015
  4. carladababe

    carladababe Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't use a heater, do much risk for fire and potential power loss. I do believe greatly in the deep litter method and I do line the coop with straw bales on the windward side. My chickens are bred more for the cooler weather than the warmer, but I did lose a Jersey Giant late in the winter once. I'm also a little OCD with the water which I change a couple times a day when it starts to freeze. My girls seem to do fine. Stay simple, less to go wrong. [​IMG]
     
  5. Christin

    Christin Out Of The Brooder

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    I live in sw Missouri. I had production reds that I bought from my brother in law who had bought them from a guy that had been mass breeding them so they were not in the best condition when I got them (they looked mal nurished and most of their feathers were gone) But they had filled out nicely and regrew their feathers once I got them on a steady diet so when it started getting cold they were in top shape and very diligent layers. This last cold snap that came in completely decimated them even though they had plenty of straw, food, unfrozen water, and a heat lamp. We recently took over payments on our property from my husbands mom and she had the coop door facing north.(She is not the brightest bulb in the box) When I am finished tearing down the old coop and building the new one the back of the coop will be facing north and will be up against the back of the house to give them a good wind break in the winter. I am still undecided about the roof but I am leaning towards a one sided roof(I am not sure what it is actually called) and leaving about an inch or two between the roof and wall at the taller side of the roof covered by 1in by 1in fencing to keep critters and small birds out. I also like the barn type roof though but I am sure my husband would rather I did the one sided roof bc it will cost less. lol :)
     
  6. Happy Dad

    Happy Dad Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Like the others said, you really don't need insulation, there are a lot of threads on this site that made me choose this route. I live north of you in Nebraska and do not insulate and do not use any type of heating device. We have been the negatives quite a few nights this winter. I even leave the coop door open 24/7 as the run is secure. When I check on them at night they look at me like, hey you wanna come in and snuggle with us?

    I wrapped the run with sheeting to block the wind and I also insure good ventilation in the coop.
    Dry chooks = happy chooks

    [​IMG]

    This is a pic of them today enjoying the sun even though it's below freezing.
    [​IMG]

    The only thing heated is this dog water bowl for their water in the run.
    No food or water is kept in the coop.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015
  7. blucoondawg

    blucoondawg Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The door facing north shouldn't be an issue as long as the door closes solid and doesn't let the wind through, my coop stands alone with no wind break and the birds are fine, I have a shed type roof like you are thinking of with the eaves open on both sides covered with quarter inch hardware cloth, go at least half inch wire at the biggest to cover your vents or you are inviting weasels to kill your whole flock.

    You didn't say how many birds you had but for your whole flock to die due to the cold is quite odd if you had any kind of coop at all, you had a heat lamp which should have knocked the edge off the cold somewhat, bad ventilation could have done it or maybe your birds were weak from being older and in possible poor health from their prior living conditions and the cold weather was just too much in addition to their other weakness, hard to say, that really stinks losing your whole flock
     
    Last edited: Jan 9, 2015

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