Winter housing

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by fishfarmer, Jan 7, 2010.

  1. fishfarmer

    fishfarmer Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 7, 2010
    Twin Cities
    Okay, I am confused/lost with housing chickens for the winter. I have read that chickens can live outside with insulation. What is meant by insulation? Is it fiberglass stuck between the walls of the coup or just tarp wrap to prevent excessive draft? I live in Minnesota, where temps usually drops below 0 F during the colder months if that makes a difference.
    Last edited: Jan 7, 2010
  2. Buck Creek Chickens

    Buck Creek Chickens Have Incubator, Will Hatch

    Nov 26, 2008
    Neenah, WI
    Alot of it is where your chickens are, like on the south side of a stand of pine trees, a building. when someone says insulation it also depends on how much protection you building/coop has. I'm in WI, one coop is an old cow barn no extra insulation, but the chickens are in an enclosed space. my chick shed is fully insulated, fiber glass in the walls, foam in the ceiling and particleboard walls it faces north, but my new shed has no insulation just particleboard walls but is on the south side of the other shed, plus I've got 2 calf hutches, Poly Dome from MN I just added a door works great.
  3. JMPE

    JMPE Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 1, 2009
    Western Wisconsin
    I'm just across the river in WI, and I have kind of a two part coop inside an old 10x10 shed. There are pictures on my BYC page (link on the left). The enclosed part where the roost and nesting boxes are has a veriety of foam board insulation in the walls and roof (sandwiched in between the boards). Nothing with much of an R value. The trick is keeping the drafts out and still having ventalation. You simply can't button things up tight. Good luck!
  4. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Chickens don't need added heat or insulation. They need fresh air, food, water, and ventilation. Or in other words, keep the, coop clean, dishes full, and allow the moist smelly air out. They will do fine.
  5. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Insulation means insulation -- draftproofing is a separate thing (though also necessary).

    You do not 'need' insulation to keep chickens alive unless you are in a super duper insanely cold place like northern Alaska.

    However, IMHO insulation is often DESIRABLE and worthwhile, because it keeps the chickens from being any colder than necessary while still allowing you to have plenty of ventilation open. A cold chicken eats more food, and even aside from that I just generally don't see the point in letting them to be colder than can be avoided, it is not like they specially enjoy -20 F as opposed to -10 or 0 F [​IMG]

    In a small coop or tractor, I think insulation is especially valuable, because there you have a pretty harsh and difficult tradeoff between three things, fresh air and draftiness and temperature. If your small coop or tractor is well insulated (including the ceiling) it has a better chance of staying warmer than the outdoor air despite having ample ventilation.

    If you are one of the people contemplating running electric heating of any sort, insulation will save electricity and money.

    And finally, in cold climates with a normal "indoor" type coop that has very thin walls or ceiling (esp. metal roofing/siding, but corrugated plastic or thin plywood can do it too in cold enough temps) then insulation is necessary to prevent really bad condensation on the inside surfaces of the coop and resulting frostbite from humidity problems.

    There is zero downside to correctly-installed insulation, other than the initial labor (minor) and cost (can be low or zero if you scrounge). you do need to cover it anywhere it's accessible to chcikens, as they will eat fiberglass or styrofoam or any of that, and you should make your carpentry very TIGHT so that mice don't get in there and set up house.

    Good luck, have fun,

  6. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    This is one way to insulate a coop using fibreglass, vapor seal and tuck tape. Listen to those in your situation before you decide- experience in the same climate is worth its weight in gold.

    We decided to insulate even though we have only 12 hens. We live in a hilly region and the winds are fierce so we paid attention to draft-proofing too, using Typar sheathing on the outside of the barn/coop then covering with barn board. The coop is dry and smells clean, we got it right thanks to good advice from others...[​IMG]
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010
  7. Bridget399

    Bridget399 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 8, 2009
    South Western PA
    Quote:I agree! Just be sure to get some hearty chickens, too. My RIRs and Sex-Links do just fine. I just make sure the water doesn't freeze. I change mine a few times a day, no heater needed if you don't mine going out to the coop every few hours. Scratch can help keep up their body temps, too, but be sure not to give them too much.
  8. CARS

    CARS Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Cold hearty breeds are a must. BYC's database does a great job of listing what breed does well in cold and heat. I cheat with the water, I use heated bases to keep them thawed.
  9. 2txmedics

    2txmedics Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 5, 2009
    Manvel Texas
    SOS!!! Im in south texas...Houston area, we are having a hard freeze for us here...temps are down to 18 next few nights at present 23...this morning I went out to feed my chickens....

    5mos old Buffs
    5mo. French cuckoo maran
    10 EEs that are 4mos old,small

    Main flock 10 hens/ 1 roo
    leghorn and mixed breeds: marans, Prod. reds, splash etc

    There water was frozen!!! My main flock has shelter in a nice size coop:
    My Buffs dont:
    at least I dont think so, but I have the wooden door cracked alittle and lots of hay in the play coop

    But my EE's worry me:
    this is on one side on the other side of this one is another mini coop:
    What I did was tarp off all around the sides of each of these coops and put tarps and wood laying on top, one coop has a plastic dog house with hay, the other has a 6 drawer chest, no drawers and roost put in...Ive also put board leaning against the sides of these coops and LOTS OF HAY....there water froze,.......

  10. LynneP

    LynneP Chillin' With My Peeps

    One more option in that set-up would be to circle the runs with plastic or vinyl. It won't affect the needed ventilation but it would baffle air flow to assist your birds. I'm assuming your birds would not be used to this at all...and give them as much dry bedding in the nest boxes as possible and in any corners or under things where they may like to rest in the day...
    Last edited: Jan 8, 2010

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