To insulate or not?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by apetelo, May 29, 2008.

  1. apetelo

    apetelo In the Brooder

    May 12, 2008
    I am about to start on our coop. Our girls (5 NewHampshire Reds) will be moving out there in late June. We live in ME where it does get quite cold in winter. It seems like there are 2 different camps on insulation. I was planning on it, because I thought it would help keep things warmer in there. I was not planning on using a heating source, just insulation. My father who has a great deal of building experience says that there is no point in insulating if I am not going to heat the inside. I will certainly do my best to make sure I make it draft free. My concern is that I only have 5 girls and the coop will be approximately 8x4. What do those of you in cold regions think? Thank you so much in advance for your advice!!

    **Edited to add...I would really like to avoid a heat source if possible
    Last edited: May 29, 2008
  2. hensonly

    hensonly Songster

    May 15, 2008
    upstate NY

    I am on my first flock of chickens, and they're only 4 weeks old, so I can't give an opinion based on experience - but I would like to put forth another option (which maybe you are already doing!). One book I read recommended that if you don't want to insulate, you should build inner walls, thus creating dead air space between inner and outer, which insulates some in terms of keeping out drafts. I live in upstate NY, where it also gets dang chilly in winter, and we haven't totally decided whether to insulate, either.

    The other advantage to inner walls is that when you clean the coop, it's a smooth surface, you won't be digging chicken poop out of the corners created by the 2x4s and the walls.

    I'll check back and see what others say, as I am debating about insulation also.
  3. BayCityBabe

    BayCityBabe Songster

    May 1, 2008
    I did not plan to install insulation because I have read alot of confusing things about what insulation materials to use, i.e. "don't use the blue board stuff - they'll eat it!" However, I do plan to use bales of straw, as I have a largish building.
    I will be keeping an eye on these posted replies to a very good question.
  4. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Apr 20, 2008
    Birnamwood, Wisconsin
    My thought...if your going to make an inner wall anyway why not throw the cheapest insulation in there. We are in WI so the temps can get to -30 at times so we DID insulate...and we insulated well and I'm going to stick a heat lamp in there too. The chickens throw off heat so if you have insulated walls it will help them stay warmer and having that few of chickens I would insulate...together they won't be able to generate enough heat I don't think to stay that warm. Maybe if you had 15 or so it would be fine.
    I say do it from the start and then you will have safe birds and won't have to add work later! My opinion.
  5. ronshoney

    ronshoney Songster

    Nov 7, 2007
    Algonac, Michigan
    We are going to insulate and have an inner wall so that they can't eat it. It really helps with drafts...... we did the same with our goat houses. If it was for ducks or turkeys I wouldn't worry about it as much but with chickens in a colder region I would.
  6. ravenfeathers

    ravenfeathers Songster

    May 23, 2008
    i'm in central VT, in the mountains, and i plan to insulate (started on tuesday, in fact) and put up sheathing. i figure with 15 or 16 chickens, they can generate a bit of warm that won't then leak out to the outside. this way, i don't have to have a heat source at all, which would otherwise be necessary with our subzero temperatures, high winds, and deep snowfall.
  7. masschix

    masschix Songster

    Apr 28, 2008
    Central Massachusetts
    Hello...I'm in central Massachusetts and am new with my chickens, so I also can't comment on past experience. However, I can give my own opion based on how I feel. Our nights have been quite cold (last night down to 37) and have been worried about our 6 babies (6-7 weeks old) being in the coop. We currently do not have it insulated, but have 4 inches of shavings down that they nestle in all together. My husband got home from work at 4:00 am and went to check on them and had to wake me up to tell me that we will be insulating it this fall. We will be getting the least expensive insultation and using cheep paneling to cover over it. My theory is that you have to do what you think is right and what would make your chickens comfortable. Good Luck!
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Tell your father that you ARE going to heat the inside. (Because you are, truly). The CHICKENS are the heaters. Honest. They put out a good bit of body heat and the whole entire point is to trap as much of that heat as possible in the coop (while still having good ventilation).

    You WILL need to keep vents open all winter, except possibly on the very very coldest nights, because in addition to heat chickens also put out considerable quantities of moisture and a damp coop breeds respiratory disease etc. Since you cannot have it sealed up tight, then, it is all the more important to retain what heat you can.

    Put the vents high up, preferably on all 4 walls, with flaps or sliders that you can close weathertight so that you can adjust which vents are open, and how much, according to the wind and weather.

    You can use either insulation batts or the rigid foamboard, but either way you will need to cover it over with thin plywood or anything else that will keep the chickens from pecking and eating the insulation.


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