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any alternative coop insulation ?

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1 any alternative coop insulation ? on Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:08 pm

vic's chicks


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Does anyone insulate their coops with anything other than traditional manufactured insulation. We live on the west coast where the winters are not that cold. I am wanting to sheet the inside walls in my coop but I would like to put something between the studs that would make it a little cosier in winter. Anyone have any ideas? Would straw or newspaper be a waste of time?

2 Re: any alternative coop insulation ? on Thu Jun 14, 2012 4:37 pm

uno

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HUbby built me a small building for chickens, for part time use, for the meatbirds, not for all season use. It was studs with plywood outside. (will not take any prizes in Barns Beautiful).

To sheet the interior I used cardboard. Huge fridge boxes cut apart and stapled to the studs. It was pretty ugly. Then i deicded to fill the gap between the studs with cedar shavings. You would NOT believe how much hsavings that takes! Plus as it settled to the bottom, it made a bulge in the wall that got ibgger and bigger until the cardboard ripped off the staples.

So cardboard stuffed from behind with shavings - not such a good plan. I abandonned the shavings idea, but left the cardboard. Then bears broke in and shredded it. I now have a shredded cardboard chicken house.

Whatever you use, make it hostile to bugs and mice. And bears.

3 Re: any alternative coop insulation ? on Thu Jun 14, 2012 7:12 pm

Country Thyme Farm

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Straw works great here on the prairies, but I would imagine a bit of a rot problem on the coast.

You don't get any actual cold on the island though, I can't see it being necessary for you.

http://countrythyme.ca

4 Re: any alternative coop insulation ? on Fri Jun 15, 2012 8:14 am

CynthiaM

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Vic’s Chicks, I am going to spend a little time with you this morning. I will try to help you with understanding some about how to keep chickens nice and snuggly tight. I am almost 60 years old (well, will be in the fall). For my entire life I have lived around the Lower Mainland, and had lived as far away as Gibsons, on the Sunshine Coast. I grew up in East Burnaby and lived the remainder of my years on the coast in the Maple Ridge and Mission area. I know the weather well on these coastal regions, and the Island, if not mistaken, is even more temperate than the mainland. Yes, I know, in January is the colder month and it can dip below 0 C, but for short periods of time. Yes, I know too, that we can get (see I am still saying “we”) freezy, cold weather, but not that deep cold, that goes deep. The frost line to dig water lines on the coast, code is 18 inches, if I am not mistaken. That is pretty shallow, so speaks to how cold it really can get. You know your weather I am sure. We moved up to this area two years ago, today. Now we get cold, let me tell you, we get cold, but not even close to what others get cold, like north and east and I guess somewhat westerly too. We seem to not go much lower than -18 C. The first winter here, it was frozen for a long time, and it was cold, for like a couple of months, frozen right to the deep. The code in this area for water lines dug down is 4 feet. That goes to say, that it is freakin’ cold in these thar woods, smiling. Don’t know why, but feel compelled to help you out a little bit, and probably others with what cold is to a chicken. I don’t recall what breeds you have, if any yet, but on the coast, lots of people have single combed birds, and others do in other places too. On the coast, the combs of those single combed birds can still get a bit of frostbitten action, but not like what can happen in the much more cold climates. In our more colder climates, many people resort to keeping breeds that have the smaller combs, like rose, pea and walnut combs. Many people do have single combed birds, but unless they have coups that are decently insulated, single combed birds are OK. My birds have a bit of insulation in the walls here in their coups and I haven’t experienced such bad frostbitten combs as I would have, had I not had some insulation. Well, my buff Orpington rooster did get some severe damage to his big, long wattles, 1/3 of the bottom of the wattles went black and fell off. But that was my fault, and due to just not thinking. I had an open water dish and his wattles got wet, the bottoms that must have been in the water froze solid, I presume and died off. He is just fine, just as fertile as he ever was, but just a little shorter wattles. The comb on the cochins and orpingtons were fine. But that was at 18 below Celsius. Blah, ramblin’ a little long here, pardon, but got things to say.

So, where was I? Right cold. You want to insulate your coop. Let’s make this a little more simple so I don’t go on forever. I personally, knowing full well what the rainforests of BC are like, would not insulate the coop, just not necessary. Many, many, many folk on our forum and everywhere keep birds in the winter in uninsulated coops, and let me tell ya, some have weather that goes way, way colder than the -18 here I have experienced. If you are doing it for the chickens, you are wasting your time and money. Gotta speak my two cents here and be blatent with what I think. If you are insulating because you wanna hang out with the birds in there and keep yourself toasty warm, well go for it. A nice warm coop is nice. But then there is the but.

Moisture and condensation in the more temperate, wet rainforest climates is the worst thing on earth for birds. If you want to focus on anything, really, really focus hard on having places for this moisture that is generated by poop, warm breath, warm bodies to escape is your most important thing you can ever think about with your birds. Everyone must be aware of this. The moisture needs to be moved up and out, ventilation is the MOST important thing that can be thought about in the chicken coop. Sometimes people don’t understand this and they have chickens that get sick. Bad air, moist air, bad, bad, bad. Chickens can survive the coldest of cold, but they cannot survive well the moistest of the moist. Hope I am getting the point across about the release of the moisture from the coop. Imperative for happy and healthy birds, beyond imperative. Even with keeping of honeybees, something that will kill the winter cluster is moisture. If there is an opening for that moisture to be released (and everything makes moisture, especially a tropical climate that is inside that cluster of bees), the bees will stay dry. Dry. Dry. Dry. A coop must be as dry as possibly can be made. Darn, carrying on just a little, but that is what I sometimes do, smiling that big smile.

Wondering if I have helped you out with some thoughts on how you want to work your coop. I never insulated my coops in Maple Ridge. But there sure was lots of openings up high that released moisture. I don’t think you need to insulate your coops, save some time, money and effort. Just a few words of someone that has been there, done that. You will hear others chime in I hope. There are others that live on Vancouver Island, maybe they will help you out too, this is a very good topic, by the way. Have a most awesome day, CynthiaM.

5 Re: any alternative coop insulation ? on Fri Jun 15, 2012 9:30 am

vic's chicks


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I love reading your 'ramblings' cynthia. I can do great things with pencils and paint but I have never been great with words and always appreciate those who are. today is my 60th birthday and my hubby Will is just finishing the addition on our coop.(the best birthday present ever) We renovated it after reading "fresh air poultry houses so the front is all open and the birds roosts will be in the back where the air is still(no drafts) and we have plenty of ventilation from small collestory windows at the top. I know the chickens can survive the cold but I like to provide them with more comfort than just their basic survival needs hence wanting to insulate the part where they roost.I know it is crazy. We still have plywood floors and no cupboard doors on our kitchen cupboards(Will is a cabinet maker) and according to our kids and our friends our chickens are living in a palace. But when I go out there and spend time with them and, they are happy and comfortable and well fed I feel so good. So after listening to you and a few others I think I will just sheet the walls inside so that cleaning is a little simpler and stop worrying about them being too cold. by the way Cynthia you were right about not being able to feather sex buff orpingtons. I am pretty sure 2 of our three are roos.

6 Re: any alternative coop insulation ? on Sat Jun 16, 2012 8:16 am

CynthiaM

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Vic's chicks, I love that you love my ramblin's, smiling. THere are a few of us on here that come to mind about carryin' on and on and on. Goes with the ability to type as quickly as one speaks, smiling again. Anyways. I think it wonderful that your Hubby is fashioning your coop as you would like it to be. I don't know though, if I would ever want a coup that had a total front open, to me, that would be an unpleasant place to hang out (even in the temperate climate of the south coast of Vancouver Island) (hmmmmm....was it southcoast, can't remember where you exactly are), you are probably somewhat dryer than the mainland too. I like to spend time sitting with my birds, any time, summer, fall, winter, spring, so I like it to be a little less open. But that is just me. You will find in time what you think you will like. And bet my bottom dollar, that Will (oh happy birthday by the way) will be building, changing, rebuilding, changing and rebuilding, until you find the exactness that you will love and enjoy. Good luck, this is the most rewarding job, a keeper of chickens. Ya, so you read my post about feather sexing buff orpingtons. I always thought that the females feathered out faster than the males as chicks. Sure glad that I didn't cull, cause I KNOW for a fact, it don't work!! Have an awesome day, CynthiaM.

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