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Do I need to insulate my chicken coop?

One of the most common questions people ask is whether or not to apply chicken coop insulation.

Horizon Structures’ coops are NOT insulated for several reasons:

  • First, because we ship throughout the continental United States, there are many areas that would never need insulation as the winters are very mild.
  • Second, while we wouldn’t call ourselves “chicken experts”, we don’t believe the coops need to be insulated.

There are as many opinions on this subject as there are breeds of poultry and we recommend that everyone research the matter for themselves and choose the option that is best for their situation and their birds. The information we found on the subject seems to support the fact that insulating your coop is probably unnecessary.

Many chicken breeds are very cold hardy. Especially the larger breeds with ample feathers. You may be surprised to discover just how well most birds tolerate extreme cold. They will huddle close together in their nest boxes or on their roosts and keep each other warm during the coldest winter weather providing that you flock a coop that is dry, well ventilated, and free from drafts.

Here are easy suggestions that can provide extra winter protection for your chickens at little or no cost:

  • Position your coop to take maximum advantage of natural sunlight (and heat).
    * usually, a southern exposure works best.
  • Stack bales of hay against the northern side of the coop and along the sides.
    * use the hay as litter / bedding in the spring!
  • Put extra deep bedding on the floor – especially if your coop is elevated
  • Make sure your coop has adequate ventilation. Remember, moisture inside the coop is a problem. Especially in the winter. Don’t insulate an unheated coop because moisture will build up inside.

If you want to insulate your coop a safe material to use is 1.5″ styrofoam sheets. If possible, these should be placed BETWEEN the walls/siding and the ceiling/roof.

If you can’t do that – don’t worry. This material is non-toxic. If your chickens happen to peck at it and ingest it, it should pass right through without harming them.

Usually a simple light bulb can provide enough heat and a large heated dog dish is enough to keep your chicken’s water from freezing.

NOTE: Extreme cold may cause your chickens to (temporarily) stop laying.