Blocking drafts in the chicken coop (just for winter)

A few days ago I posted about insulating a chicken coop. This was an excellent solution for that particular coop. A permanent solution to some of the problems in the chicken coop caused by cold weather. 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 ventilation. Any lower and it's no longer's just a draft. (drafts are bad) 

With ventilation, the air flow does not come in direct contact with the chickens, it wafts above them near the top of the chicken coop. Drafts occur when the natural air flow comes in direct contact with the chickens. Draft during cold periods can kill animals. 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! So even normal ventilation was a bit much lately. 

coop ventilation

Check out Hobby Farms coop builder for more information on ventilation and drafts.

Two nights ago we decided to stuff some of the ventilation holes in the chicken coop. We couldn't use anything permanent because it often gets up to 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 40s and up, it's just fine. So whatever we used had to be easy to remove.

We decided on towels. Yup, free and easy. Just stuff them in.

Blocking drafts in the chicken coop

It's a little tricky because like most coops, this one has wire over the ventilation holes to keep out predators. 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 near the top of the coop and the birds are doing great. Plus, I can pull them back 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 stuff the holes on the side of the coop with the roosts. In this coop that's about half the coop. The back half. The front half is left open for ventilation. They still need it even in the cold! Lack of ventilation can cause moisture buildup which leads to frostbite and other problems.

drafts, chicken coop

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 Diatomaceous Earth with extra bedding and it keeps it dry enough. 

We also open the pop door every day so the chickens 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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  1. Another great tip - it's similar to what we are doing in Scotland, except that our hen house is a lot smaller so we stuff the gap with those disposable blue and white dish cloths.

    1. Great idea! I should use those for the Silkie house! There are a few small drafts I'd like to block on that one. Stay warm!


  2. Good tip! I never would have thought to just stuff towels in the vents. I'll keep that in mind!

    1. Whatever keeps them cozy, right?
      Stay warm!