warm, insulated coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chickenchalupa, Aug 6, 2008.

  1. chickenchalupa

    chickenchalupa Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 6, 2008
    Eau Claire, Wisconsin
    Where I live, the winter temp. can fall below 0 degrees, so i'm wondering how i can insulate my chicken coop and make it draft free.
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  2. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I have that same question with a twist..... [​IMG]

    I got the coop, but how do I make it draft free AND properly vented AND not freezing?

    I am totally lost. [​IMG]
     
  3. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    To insulate: apply insulation [​IMG] No really, it is about that simple [​IMG] You can use batts (fiberglas or rockwool) or rigid foamboard; either one will need to be covered by something so the chickens don't peck at it. Obviously the windows and ventilation openings will not get covered in insulation. That is perfectly totally ok.

    To ventilate: ventilation is air exchange that doesn't bother the chickens. Draftiness is air exchange that does [​IMG], usually in the form of 'cold drafts aimed right at the chickens'. The easiest way to get ventilation without draftiness, in a full-height coop, is to put yer winter ventilation openings high up on the walls, preferably protected by roof overhangs so the snow and rain don't blow in so much. You'll want them on at LEAST two opposite walls; on all 4 walls is much better. Hinged or sliding covers will let you close off openings as the weather requires (you will very seldom want to close off *all* ventilation, and then, not for long). Additional ventilation area for summertime use is an awfully good idea too, be it openable (predator-proofed) windows, large screened openings in the walls that you cover with flaps or doors during winter, or etc.

    The thing to remember is that dampness is really bad for chickens (frostbite, respiratory disease) and chickens produce VAST amounts of water vapor (as well as ammonia fumes). Truly, you cannot believe it til you've seen it [​IMG] Yes, you will lose some heat in the process of allowing ventilation in winter, but unless you are experiencing a -40 degree sideways blizzard it's unlikely to be a problem as long as you're managing your ventilation intelligently. Plus which chickens generate a good amount of HEAT as well as water vapor, so there's that too, offsetting the ventilation.

    Does that help?

    Good luck,

    Pat
     
  4. keljonma

    keljonma Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 12, 2007
    8A East Texas
    It is really important to make sure that there are no drafts. Because for some silly reason, chickens won't move if they are in a draft ... they just sit there freezing. [​IMG]

    Our hen house is part of our old barn. So when we were building our hen house, we wanted to make sure we didn't miss any drafts when insulating. We sat on the floor at chicken level, stood near the roosting area and knelt by the nest boxes. If we felt any drafts they got closed up.

    Then in late autumn we checked the hen house again - sitting on the floor, kneeling by the nests and standing by the roosts. We found a few areas that needed plugged up, but for the most part found we were okay.

    If you are in an area that gets really windy during winter, you can put some straw bales around the hen house to help keep it warmer. Just make sure you don't block any ventilation areas.


    edited: now if I could just type! [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Aug 6, 2008
  5. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    I guess I have problems understanding the

    "insulate the coop" then "cut holes in coop"

    why insulate if I am putting holes all around the top, exactly where the heat is going? (the heat rises thing. I envision all the heat that the chicks make going up then blowing out the holes)

    Also, I am stressed about how many holes to make since I am WINDY. In order to garden I have big solid plastic sheets as fencing.
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Make lotsa holes, then only uncover 'the right amount' for the weather that day. Very simple [​IMG]

    As for your first issue, look at it this way. "Why put a winter coat [=insulation] on my body in January, when my face and neck and maybe even hands are going to be sticking out and my legs are just in uninsulated pants? What's the point? The heat will just escape elsewhere. Clearly there is no point in winter coats!" Also note that your house windows have a really cr*ppy R-value (even if they are double-pane), yet does that mean it's pointless to insulate your walls and ceiling?

    Coop insulation *reduces* heat loss. Truly. Doesn't eliminate it (isn't intended to) - but reduces it. Which makes it easier for the chickens to keep the space reasonably-heated despite that much-needed ventilation.

    It's not a theory thing, it is how it actually *works*, honest [​IMG]

    Pat
     
  7. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    Pat, I really like all of your responses!

    I find them stated kindly and clearly! [​IMG]

    OK...so my next question...

    Since it is so windy here,and NEVER warm (truly, if we hit 70 it is a super big deal), can I put lots of vent on two adjacent sides (the least likely to be windy ones) and the only a little one on an opposite side?
     
  8. sunnydee

    sunnydee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 17, 2008
    Maine
    I am in Maine and are winters get very cold and windy. I have insulated my whole coop with 1/2" stryofoam board insulation on the inside and covered it with cheap paneling. I covered the outside with black tar paper and am working on putting wood shingles to make it look better. The floor is wooden and covered with vynal flooring. I am going to put bales of hay around it this winter to stop drafts through the floor.

    As for vents, I bought 4 "floor" vents at a yard sale. They are 4" wide and 8" long and open and close. I have one on each side of the coop. I am planning to cover two of them up w/ heavy plastic this winter and keeping the other two just partly open. I also have one big window and am working on a plexi glass covering for it for winter. Right now it is just covered with a heavy mesh and when it rains really hard or the wind is blowing I cover it up with plastic for the night. I want to be able to let in as much light as possible this winter but want to cover it up somehow to keep cold/snow out.

    This will be my first winter with my girls. I also am planning on purchasing a heated base for their water and possibly a couple of heat lamps to shine on them while at night roosting.
     
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Sounds reasonable to me. All I'd add, w/r/t what "only a little one" actually measures, is that it is way WAY easier to partially or mostly-close a good sized vent than it is to break out the Sawzall in mid January [​IMG]

    Have fun,

    Pat, in a pretty open and windy location too, but probably less so than yours [​IMG]
     
  10. Alaskan

    Alaskan The Frosted Flake

    Sunnydee,

    I like the floor vent idea. I had two floating around too!!! But where in the world did I put them??? [​IMG]
     

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