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winterizing coop

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Elly, Aug 26, 2008.

  1. Elly

    Elly In the Brooder

    Aug 18, 2008
    living in southern Ont. I need to think about winterizing my coop. I have a 10X8 metal shed what we put an opening in leading to a run. There is a window facing east and right now there is a screen door made to fit in the sliding door opening. I have five pullets about 18 weeks old.

    I bought one inch foam insulation that I will put against the inside walls, but I heard these would need to be covered as the hens will peck at the foam. I don't them to get sick.

    Does anyone have an idea for a cheap way to cover the foam?? I was going to get plywood till I saw the cost.[​IMG]

    I amputting in a heat lamp also once the temps fall below zero (32)...or does it need to come on sooner?

    I love my girls and I hate the thought of loosing one to the cold winter:(

    any suggestions would be great:)
  2. Badhbh

    Badhbh Songster

    Nov 16, 2007
    Southern Indiana
    Plywood is probably the cheapest way to go... I'm personally going to put my heat lamp on at about 38*, but that's just me being a whimp about my chickens [​IMG]
  3. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    I'm thinking plywood is the cheapest way also. However, you can get that type of board that people put on their garage walls and hang their tools from. It's really thin, brown stuff - sorry I can't think of what it's called. We actually used it in our coop and it's working great.

    I'm thinking that your winters are much harsher than ours but we have below zero temps for a few weeks at a time here and I've never used a heater in my coop. The biggest concern is having your chickens get cold AND wet. That's a recipe for sick chickens. If they are kept out of drafts/wind and they are dry, they can handle pretty cold temps.
  4. pkeeler

    pkeeler Songster

    Jul 20, 2008
    OSB panels are usually cheaper than plywood. Because it is an interior use, you can use thinner plywoods not rated for exterior exposure.
  5. Elly

    Elly In the Brooder

    Aug 18, 2008
    OK, thanks for the tips...I was thinking to also just ask at the local wood place to see if they have any scrap plywood...I don't care if they are different sizes.

    Last winter we had several nights of -30 ( with the windchill)...I think that is about -22 Fahrenheit.[​IMG]

    I'm pretty sure I will need the heat lamp...maybe two?
  6. Momo

    Momo Songster

    Mar 16, 2008
    Nelson BC
    Hi, Elly. I'm in BC and although this is my first year with chickens here, none of my neighbours heat their coops and we get down to -25C. I haven't seen any damage to combs, toes etc either so I don't think you will need to add heat as long as it's insulated and ventilated.
  7. fourfeathers

    fourfeathers Songster

    Mar 7, 2008
    Western Kentucky
    OSB is cheaper than plywood. I used the foam insulation boards and paneling over the top so they wouldn't peck at it. On another house I used old Election foam board signs and stapled them up, which seemed to work pretty well.
  8. orbirdman

    orbirdman In the Brooder

    Aug 25, 2008
    OSB is the way to go. if you want something thinner you could use masonite, its the stuff used in garages. as fas as the OSB goes look around for home construction sites. i built my coop from salvaged wood that came from a home being built down the street. they are more than happy to give it away so they dont have to pay to dump it.
  9. LindaN

    LindaN Songster

    Jul 28, 2007
    I wouldn't worry about a heat lamp, either. We had a very cold winter last year here in Chicago (I remember one morning that was -10 F, not counting the wind chill) and my 3 hens were just fine without extra heat. Their small coop is insulated, though.

    Keeping their water from freezing is the biggest concern at that temp.
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If you're not going to use plywood, I'd suggest at least getting one sheet and cutting it to cover the bottom 1-2 feet of the walls. Run well-primed well-painted OSB above that. Plywood is more resistant to moisture, and having a zone of plywood on the bottom a) gives you more time before the bottom of the inside walls starts to rot out, and b) makes it much much easier to replace that part once it does start to rot (you can just remove the plywood strip and replace with another, rather than taking off whole wall panels.

    If this is a standard-issue metal yard shed, you may well need to add a goodly amount of ventilation to it - the little gable end vents they have are NOT going to cut it, and chances are the window is not sized/located such that you're really going to want it hangin' open in February. You want vents high up on at least 2 walls (preferably more, so you can close off the upwind one and still have vents on 2 walls). For just 5 chickens in that size space, you may be able to get away with the existing state of things (especially if you are not going to let litter accumulate but will do total bedding changes every month or so) BUT if you think you might EVER get more chickens, it will be vastly easier to add ventilation now, before the insulation and inside walls go up, than to retrofit.

    If you insulate under the roof too -- which would be really smart, as otherwise a bare metal roof is going to give you bad condensation drips if there is the least bit of humidity, the only other cure for which is to have *even more* ventilation -- then I think you may well not need a lamp. You can just put bare foamboard (no plywood or whatever covering it) on the underside of the roof btw, as long as you have no roosts highenough that chickens could peck at it.

    Even if you did find you were wantin' to run a lamp during a cold snap, please consider a REGULAR lamp not an actual high-wattage heat lamp per se. A 100w red floodlight bulb will warm an area of roost large enough for 5 birds to sit under, and poses a lot less fire risk.

    Good luck and have fun,

    Last edited: Aug 27, 2008

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