A Step-by-Step Guide to Winterizing a Poultry Pen
Whilst chicken can naturally survive through winter without heating, it is still important to ensure their living or dwelling space is adequately warm and protective. Thus, as a poultry keeper, you must learn the proper skills of how to insulate a chicken coop.
The insulating task is not one that is painstakingly difficult to master, however, you must ensure you have the right tools and know-how to successfully execute the task. So below, we've shared a step by step detailed outline of how to insulate a chicken coop to ensure you don't suffer any losses during the colder seasons.
What Materials and Tools Do I Need?
Before you embark on a chicken coop insulation project, it is important to know the exact objectives. Knowing the goals, allows you to pick the best method and to effectively execute the building process. Generally, the key objectives for insulating a chicken coop include repelling wind drafts and chill and keeping the interior warm (i.e. floor, room, drinking water, and food).
There are plenty of methods that you can follow to insulate a chicken coop. Therefore, it is only logical to have a wide selection of tools to choose from. For instance, you can choose a certain type of material to use for the insulation depending on the style you want.
Typically, you can choose from cardboard, Styrofoam, old fabric, or straws. For either method, you want to check the condition of your chicken coop and ensure that it has no air leaks. If it does, seal the holes by hammering plywood against it. However, if you find extremely small holes, don't cover them as they help to regulate air circulation and to provide ample ventilation.
- Cardboard or old used boxes
- Stapler with staple pins or scotch tape
- Heat lamp (optional)
Similar to cardboard, Styrofoam is excellent at blocking out the cold air and winds. You can purchase Styrofoam from any local home improvement store. Whilst it offers adequate protection from the cold air, it is still quite lightweight. Because of its rather delicate feel, it is a good idea to reinforce its walls with extra layers of cardboard or newspaper.
- Newspaper or cardboard
Old Fabric InsulationUsing old fabric is also an effective way to insulate a chicken coop. However, it may not be easy to find warm fabrics you can use just laying around. If you can find them at home, then, that's more money to save.
However, if you need to purchase these fabrics, the best place would be a thrift store. Just like you pick your winter clothing, look for the warmest and most insulating fabrics.
- Cardboard or old boxes
- Stapler with staple pins or scotch tape
Straw InsulationAny animal keeper or livestock farmer appreciates the value of straw. Straw is already used to set up chicken coop floors; however, you can use it for insulation as well. Keep in mind that straws are ideal for more experienced farmers as they are difficult to set up but they can get damaged very easily.
- Rope or cardboard and glue
Steps to Insulate a Chicken Coop
Step 2 – Staple or tape them together to create enough to cover all four walls and a roof around the chicken coop.
Step 3 – Tape the linked cardboard around the walls and roof of the chicken coop.
Step 4 – Repeat steps 2 and 3 if you want to add an extra layer of insulation. You can repeat the steps to achieve the number of layers you want.
Step 5 – Add a heat lamp inside, if it tends to get extremely cold where you are.
Step 1 – Glue down Styrofoam panels to create enough to cover all four walls and a roof around the chicken coop.
Step 2 – Tape down at least three layers of newspaper or a layer of cardboard around the interior walls of the Styrofoam. This helps to prevent the chicken from easily pecking and destroying the delicate Styrofoam walls.
Step 3 – Tape the linked Styrofoam around the walls and roof of the chicken coop.
Step 1 – Break the cardboard or box into a single layer.
Step 2 – Staple or taped them together to create enough to cover all four walls and a roof around the chicken coop.
Step 3 – Staple or tape enough fabrics to cover the entire linked cardboard or box walls. Combining the fabric with the cardboard helps to hold the fabric in place and prevents them from swaying due to the wind drafts, which can create air pockets.
Step 4 – Tape the cardboard and fabrics around the walls and roof of the chicken coop.
Step 1 – Stack a bale of straw against the coop wall.
Step 2 – Secure each batch by tying a rope around or gluing them against the coop wall.
Ways to Reinforce a Chicken Coop Insulation
In addition to insulating a chicken coop with either one of the 4 methods covered above, you can also choose to reinforce the insulation. There are several ways to go about this.
The simplest way to reinforce any insulation is by hanging curtains around the insulated coop. Doing so helps to significantly repel drafts and cold air; ensuring not a speck of cold air penetrates to the interior.
You can add wax nest inserts on the floor to enhance the warmth and insulation inside a chicken coop. As the weather gets colder, instead of replacing the nest inserts, simply add a new layer over the old one for double insulation. Alternatively, you can line the floor with multiple layers of pine shavings or straw to enhance insulation.
Having insulating layers of pine shavings or straw creates a barrier between the floor and your chicken's bodies. Additionally, a sealed-off floor cuts off access to the actual ground and prevents conduction which would cause the entire coop to become cold even though it is insulated around the walls and roof.
Just like with cardboard insulation, you can add a heat lamp in the interior of a chicken coop, no matter the type of insulation you use. Adding a heat lamp doesn't only prevent the interior from getting cold, but also helps to warm every other element inside the coop.
This includes maintaining the ideal temperature for the drinking water and preventing it from freezing. For a controlled environment, place the heat lamp on one end of the coop, so your chicken can choose how warm they want to be.
Depending on your needs, the four methods mentioned above offer an excellent solution on how to insulate a chicken coop. Whether it gets down to a cool 65 degrees or freezing 32 degrees, your insulation game is certainly covered. Plus, if any method doesn't work out on its own; you can always reinforce it with added tools such as heat lamps or even curtains.
So what are you waiting for? Select the ideal method to insulate your chicken coop from the 4 options above, get your materials, and kick start the winterizing project!