Uninsulated coop in northern areas

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Kylacat, Nov 12, 2019.

  1. Kylacat

    Kylacat Chirping

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    We are new to having layers. We built a sweet coop this summer and decided not to insulate it. A neighbor told us that the birds will tolerate the cold just fine. Everything went well this summer but now winter is here and I am worried that the chickens are freezing out in the coop at night. The water does freeze in the coop. I am wondering if anybody in northern Vermont has an uninsulated coop?
     
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  2. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Enabler

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    What is important in a coop,,,,, is VENTILATION. Poor ventilation leads to moisture in coop ,,, which leads to frostbite on extremities ,like comb, and wattles. Poor ventilation also contributes to ammonia buildup . (NO GOOD)
    Proper ventilation, means air movement without a draft situation, that would ruffle chickens feathers.
    Another factor to consider, is your breed of chickens. If you have cold hardy breeds, then you should be fine. If your chickens are not cold hardy, insulation would not be the answer regardless.
    Hopefully your ventilation is proper. Vermont is known for some gusty winds. Try to provide/fashion wind breaks if you need them.
    It is good to feed your chickens extra carbs during cold weather. Carbs do help chicken generate heat calories. I know there are flocks of people that will disagree, and debate me over that.:he There are also equal amounts of people that agree with me.:thumbsup I give scratch to chickens during winter. They don't lay eggs anyways. (I don't have production chickens, or leghorns AKA egg machines)
    Besides good food, make sure they have plenty of liquid water. Snow is not a good choice as water source.
    WISHING YOU BEST,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, :highfive:
     
  3. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Enabler

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    You may consider one of these if you have electricity available to coop.
    [​IMG] I use one but it is not inside coop. (outside in run area)
     
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  4. gtaus

    gtaus Crowing

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    My Coop
    I live in northern Minnesota, and I did not insulate my coop. Although the nighttime temps have been getting down to 2F, so far my water in my metal 3 gallon waterer has not frozen - I use a metal heater base for the waterer. I have raised small animals for many years and my biggest winter concern is having fresh water. The chickens have nice down feathers to keep them warm, but if they get dehydrated because the water is frozen, I don't know how well they would do.

    And yes, this is also my first winter with laying hens and I am learning what works for me. There are different opinions on insulating the coop or not, but I have come down on the side of thinking that proper ventilation is key to keeping the coop dry. A well insulated, but humid coop, would not be good. Hope I'm right.
     
  5. gtaus

    gtaus Crowing

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    My Coop
    I have also heard that it is good to give extra carbs to the chickens in the winter. I have scratch, but also am mixing in whole corn for them. They have their commercial layer feed available 24/7.

    I am using the dry deep litter method in my coop. To encourage the chickens to turn their nightly droppings into the wood chips litter, I throw the chicken scratch and whole corn directly into their coop every morning. So far, I am not seeing any build up of chicken poop under their roosts. The girls are turning the wood chips to get the scratch and keeping the coop clean by themselves in the process.
     
  6. cavemanrich

    cavemanrich Enabler

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    I always went with cracked corn. I have bantams, and worry (maybe needlessly) that the whole kernels could pose a choking hazard.:idunno
    I have given whole corn to my pigeons though.
    I assume your chickens have access to grit, one way or another.
     
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  7. gtaus

    gtaus Crowing

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    My Coop
    Yes, I have a bowl of grit in the coop alongside their food and water. I'm looking into making a grit feeder of some kind because the hens keep scratching litter into the grit bowl.

    For @Kylacat, although my coop is uninsulated, I am using a dry deep litter method in my coop. I have about 8 inches of wood chips in the coop which keeps everything pretty dry. The chickens scratch the wood chips and the poop disappears into the litter. The litter remains dry and there is no smell in my coop. I have extra wood chips set aside for the winter in case I need them. But, so far, the girls are turning the wood chips over enough so the chicken poop disappears and I have not needed to do any cleaning. If the poop freezes and starts to build up in the coop, I will cover it with new wood chips. My goal is to not clean out the coop until spring.
     
  8. Kylacat

    Kylacat Chirping

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    I am trying the deep litter method as well but the chickens don’t seem to scratch under the roosting bars. I am also having a problem with a chicken sleeping in a nesting box every night. She is a new girl and lowest in rank. I am not sure if that’s the issue or that I had a roosting bar lower than my nesting boxes. I thought they needed a step up to the upper bars but it appears they don’t so I removed that yesterday and added another higher bar. I am heading out in a couple minutes to see if it helped. Our coop is off the ground a couple of feet. I was worried about the cold air underneath it and the fact that the chickens like to take dust baths under there so I made a wall of bagged leaves on the two sides where the winter wind comes from and keep a path shoveled so they can still go under if they want. I am afraid our coop is drafty instead of properly ventilated. We used a board and batten construction but didn’t add the battens to the top because I was worried it would be too stuffy. Now I am afraid we have gone to the other extreme The boards were tight together but I am sure there has been some shrinkage. I do wish I had put the chicken door on the other side. It is on the side the wind blows from so I hate to leave it open on cold windy days. It took months of picking away at it to get this one built. My husband loves it when I tell him I want it different or maybe just a new one (bigger )
     
  9. Kylacat

    Kylacat Chirping

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    Here is a picture of the coop this morning
     

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  10. Cryss

    Cryss Free Ranging

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    Adorable looking coop, love how you used the wheels. I was fooled for a moment (or two).
    Cold isn't a problem but drafts are. Ventilation needs to be well above the heads of the flock as they stand fully up on the highest roost. Anything that lets wind blow directly on the birds is a draft. If you are having drafts can you cover them from inside rather than covering the pretty outside with plywood? If not then plywood outside might be the answer.
    Is there ventilation at the top? Under the eaves is ideal.
    Is there a way to baffle the pop door?
     

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