Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Blocking winter drafts in the coop

A few days ago I posted about insulating a chicken coop. This was an excellent solution for that particular coop. A permanent solution. You can read about it HERE. However, not all coops are created equal. Today I want to talk about temporary insulation and our 'Wild West' coop. This coop has excellent ventilation at ceiling level. This is where you want the insulation. Any lower and it's no longer's just a draft. (drafts are bad) However, we've hit a cold spell here in Western Pennsylvania and this morning it was just 3 degrees when we woke up. 3!!!! Yesterday with the wind chill it was -20! 2 nights ago we decided to stuff the ventilation holes. We couldn't use a permanent stuffing because it often gets in the 90s here in the summer and that ventilation is needed. This coop doesn't have a condensation problem like the other one and when the temps hits the 20s and up, it's just fine. We decided on towels:

Yup, free and easy. Just stuff them in. We used  the dogs towels (shhh, don't tell her.....she doesn't need them till summer anyway) My chickens aren't real picky, they don't care what it looks like. The wind no longer blows through and the birds are doing great. Plus, I can pull them out as soon as it warms up and it only takes minutes to stuff them back in if we get another cold snap. I only fill the holes above the roosts, in this coop that's about half the coop. The other half is left open for ventilation. They still need it even in the cold!

Now that there is less ventilation we have to pay extra attention to the coop litter. Too much moisture and the ammonia content builds up which of course, is a bad thing! I add a mix of barn lime and DE with extra bedding and it's just fine. We also open the pop door every day so they can go out if they want, which lets in fresh air at ground level. We keep the big doors closed when it's this cold. Once it gets past the teens, the main doors get opened daily. 

 Hope your chickens are staying warm and dry this winter!


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