To insulate or not to insulate?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by getandistr, Jun 22, 2011.

  1. getandistr

    getandistr New Egg

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    Feb 18, 2011
    So I am located in North Jersey and it gets pretty cold up here. I'm planning on building an A Frame coop to house 4-8 chickens and the base of the inside section of the coop will be 4x8. My question is should I insulate the walls or will the chickens create enough heat to keep it warm in the winter?

    Just as a frame of reference, my design is very similar to Im4Eggcellence's design found here:
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/web/viewblog.php?id=27127-a-classy-a-frame-tractor

    With the exception of mine having a run attached and not being a tractor.
     
    1 person likes this.
  2. ReikiStar

    ReikiStar Chillin' With My Peeps

    I'm not a contractor but insulation works both ways...to keep heat in and cold out. We're in the Cascade foothills so we get some brutal winter days and in the summer we can get some scorchers. We're insulating our coop. Figure, it will make the most of the heat the chickens generate and then will keep the coop cooler in the summers (with proper ventilation).
     
  3. obaan1

    obaan1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I would take the time to insulate now. It's going to be hard to do in the dead of winter when you wish you had done it.
     
  4. duckinnut

    duckinnut Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Its better to have and not need it than to need it and not have it!! My coop is 8x8 with a straight pitch roof,walls and roof built 16" on center. I insulated the walls with R13 and covered with 1" lap board. Also insul. the roof with R13 but left room at the top of the bay for air flow,but in winter I cover the bay where it runs out to the soffit/overhang. Like Star said it keeps both heat ond cold out and draft is a big issue more so in winter. Dont get me wrong my coop gets cold on the winter,but even when its fridgid its about 35-40 degrees in the coop. In the summer it stays pretty cool,its gets warm but not hot. So I would insulate.
     
  5. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I agree with the others above. I have come to the conclusion that it is virtually always better to overdo than underdo it, when it comes to animal care. That way you spare yourself a lot of worrying during extreme conditions (not to mention that you spare them a lot of suffering). I recall our 1st coop, skimpy, flimsy...it tormented to me to watch them huddle in winter. Now they're in a fortress, always safe, and always comfortable.
     
  6. ChrisG

    ChrisG Out Of The Brooder

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    Jun 22, 2011
    I'm confused now. Everything I have read says that chickens should be able to withstand any winters we get here in the states without the benefit of insulation. I didn't insulate mine and we're in SE Michigan. I hope that wasn't a mistake. [​IMG]
     
  7. JackE

    JackE Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 26, 2010
    North Eastern Md.
    I don't have ANY insulation in mine. And besides that, the whole front is open, year round. I've never seen my chickens huddled up from the cold. They would be hanging out near the front screen watching the weather do it's worst. They all didn't like walking in the snow, but cold weather didn't make any difference to them. What difference will insulation mean? If you have you coop properly ventilated, it's going to be as cold inside, as out. I mean, you don't want to shut them up tight, in some misguided idea of "Keeping Them Warm". The ONLY insulation I can see that may be useful, is insulating the roof. And that would be for the summertime, to help with the heat soaked up by the shingles.
    Jack
     
  8. janinepeters

    janinepeters Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I live in Mass., somewhat colder than Jersey. In our case, insulation made the walls more wind proof, and a bit warmer, despite the air vent in the upper part of the wall. They have more indoor space to move around in now, during winter. I used to see them up during cold/windy days in our old, uminsulated coop, and they don't seem to do that anymore. After insulating, we kept a thermometer in the coop during the 1st winter and found temp about 5 degrees warmer inside than out.

    But even more important than insulation, choose breeds appropriate for your climate.
     
  9. briteday

    briteday Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 16, 2008
    Northern NV
    We live at ~5000' elevation in the Sierra foothills. We usually have a month of nights that can be below 0 and definitely in the teens, daytime highs often don't get much above 35 during the day. We had some days this winter that didn't get out of the teens and 20's. Our summers always have a few weeks in the 100's...but it's DRYYYYYY heat! Doesn't matter, hot is hot.

    I originally started out with an A-frame and 6 RIR hens. They did just fine uninsulated summer and winter. There were a few nights that I put a one gallon milk jug filled with the hottest water I could do without melting the plastic, to generate a bit of heat for the coldest part of the night. But they really didn't need it. A good layer of straw under the roost and sealing out any drafts really seemed to do fine. For the run below I did have a piece of plywood that I would lean against the side where the wind and snow would blow in. My girls went out every day during the winter as one of the beauties of an A-frame is that the coop on top keeps the heavy snowfall out of the run.

    For the summer the coop keeps the run shaded as well. No problems with the A-frame, summer or winter.
     
  10. bryan99705

    bryan99705 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dry birds that are in a ventilated but draft free area should be ok to -15 or colder, if they are a cold hardy breed. Below that, give them a lamp to sit under.
     

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