Water filled milk jugs as insulation?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bonder, Dec 26, 2010.

  1. bonder

    bonder Out Of The Brooder

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    My family drinks a ton of milk. At least 5 gallons every week. What I'm wondering is... If I fill the empty milk jugs with water and put them inside my chicken house, along the tarp which divides the building, would they provide additional insulation?

    The water itself will freeze but would a frozen jug of water make it warmer, colder or have no effect? The jugs would be on the mostly empty half of the building, not the chicken half.

    Eskimos built houses out of ice and stayed very warm, so why not chickens? OTHO, ice is cold and tends to make the stuff around it cold.

    I realize there are better insulators, but I'm trying to use what we have on hand.

    Thanks for any input!!!
     
  2. Cindiloohoo

    Cindiloohoo Quiet as a Church Mouse

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    Fill them with salt water so they don't freeze?
     
  3. HorseFeatherz NV

    HorseFeatherz NV Eggink Chickens

    Frozen water jugs are a huge favorite for helping to cool the coop and/or shade areas in warm weather [​IMG]


    Maybe filled with foam and stuffed/wedged in the wall?
     
  4. jmagill

    jmagill Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Water acts as a mass that buffers temp swings. It will only work to keep the coop warm if the water warms up
    enough during the day to slow the heat loss at night.
     
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    The water itself will freeze but would a frozen jug of water make it warmer, colder or have no effect?

    Water-filled jugs are totally NOT insulation at all (whether frozen or liquid).

    What they are is thermal ballast -- they will store some of the heat of daytime and release it slowly into the evening/night.

    This can be useful when the amount of thermal ballast is large relative to coop size AND the coop is very well insulated. Otherwise, some jugs full o water in a big poorly insulated building would not do anything meaningful for you.

    A big difficulty with using milk jugs is that they tend to split when frozen (at least when frozen repeatedly) and then leak all over the place when they thaw. Which is obviously a bad thing in a coop where you're trying to keep things dry.

    So, I don't know exactly what your coop is like but it does not sound to me like a situation where milkjugs will do you much good.

    Sorry, good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     
  6. Barry Natchitoches

    Barry Natchitoches Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I wouldn't think that filling the jugs with water would be helpful --


    but have you considered filling the jugs with playing SAND instead?


    Earthen materials should insulate, I would think.
     
  7. CityGirlintheCountry

    CityGirlintheCountry Green Eggs and Hamlet

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    I don't know about as a permanent insulation, but I do fill some with hot tap water on the coldest nights and sit them in the coop. They act as a heat sink or themal ballast as Pat calls it. They are sometimes frozen the next morning, but I figure it helps on the front end.
     
  8. Wifezilla

    Wifezilla Positively Ducky

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    Water acts as a mass that buffers temp swings. It will only work to keep the coop warm if the water warms up
    enough during the day to slow the heat loss at night.

    Exactly.

    I use water jugs to keep plants alive in winter. It has worked well so far, be we are about to get below zero temps next week [​IMG]
     
  9. ChickensAreSweet

    ChickensAreSweet Heavenly Grains for Hens

    When the milk jugs freeze at night, they will make the coop colder during the day as they thaw out.

    You would have to fill them with nice warm water in order for it to be helpful, IMO.
     
  10. MTopPA_18707

    MTopPA_18707 Chillin' With My Peeps

    What breed(s) of chickens do you have ? Are they cold weather hardy ?

    And how cold is it getting ?

    If the coop is well insulated (but still well ventilated up near the roof) then I wouldn't worry about heat at all until it got down around 0'F

    Give the birds some cracked corn in the evening - so they have the carb's to generate their own body heat.

    Have wide roosting posts to keep their toes warm.
    (Thin posts result in toes curling underneath where they can't be warmed by feathers.)

    -----------------

    But yes warm water from the house technically would act as a warm thermal mass and would bleed off heat during the night.

    If you heat your house with a wood stove you could heat fire bricks and then take them to the coop in the evening.
    Be careful where you put them as you don't want a fire, or burned birds.

    But I kinda think - unless it is wicked cold ~ like 0'F, then just let the birds adjust to it.

    If human heating tactics aren't consistent then the birds may really suffer if those heat sources fail.

    food for thought,

    Xriva
     
    Last edited: Dec 26, 2010

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