Insulating a Chicken Coop

Category Chickens
As you are planning your new coop, one question that comes to mind is how and if you should insulate the coop. This is a page about insulating a chicken coop.


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  • Buy burlap bags from local feed store (about $2 each). Staple them around the coop to cut down on snow and cold drafts coming into the coop. If your coop is not insulated (mine is not) it also works as a good insulator.
  • Double up on bedding. We use both pine shavings and pine pellets in the winter. The shavings help to trap in warm air.
  • For the nests, we use nest inserts that have a wax paper bottom. To better insulate the nests for cold weather we keep the older nest insert and place a new clean one on top of it. This provides twice the insulation to keep the girls warmer. We also added curtains to the openings of the nesting boxes to cut down on drafts.
  • Invest in a digital wireless thermometer. They cost about $20-40. We have one in our coop so we know how cold or hot its getting without having to run out there every few hours to see how they are doing.
  • We run a 150-250 watt heat lamp inside the coop to keep their water from freezing and the eggs as well. We have it only pointing one direction so if the girls are warm enough they can go to the non-heated side. Be sure to use a screen over the bulb to avoid them getting burned or breaking the bulb.
  • If temperatures drop severely and suddenly, like they do here in the northwest, you can also buy inexpensive old comforters from a resale shop and toss them over the coop to hold in warm air.
  • You can also use the "deep litter method" which is basically composting the chicken bedding right in the coop. You sprinkle down diatomaceous earth (to help prevent mites and other undesirable pests), then put about a foot or two of litter down. You occasionally add new litter to this, after stirring it a couple times a month with a shovel or pitch fork. The composting itself kicks off quite a bit of heat and can warm the whole coop.
  • There are also heated water bowls available at the feed stores.
Winter Chicken Care:

  • Keep an eye on those feet and waddles. If you notice they are abnormally dry or seem to be changing colors get the bird inside and rub on a thin layer of Bag Balm or Vaseline to protect their wattles from the cold.
  • Be sure to keep up on gathering eggs and getting them inside as they will freeze and split!

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January 5, 2011

I live in North Dakota and in the spring will be building a chicken coop. I'm wondering if I can use cardboard or newspaper as insulation?

By terri1nd from ND


January 6, 20110 found this helpful

I am in Saskatchewan, and have 8 chickens. The coop isn't insulated but we have a heat lamp in one corner and they seem to take turns sitting under there. There is also a lot of straw in one section, and they need an electric water dish to keep the water from freezing.


They seem to be doing just fine; although they aren't laying over the winter which I understand is quite common.

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January 6, 20110 found this helpful

When I was growing up in SD my parents chicken coop wasn't insulated in the walls, it was just plain wood. However there was straw in the rafters by the roof.

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January 6, 20110 found this helpful

We bought an old farm and one of our chicken coops was insulated with news paper. This past spring we had to remove it all because hundreds of mice had made it there home.

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January 6, 20110 found this helpful

We have lined the inside of a chicken coop with pasteboard boxes and it worked just fine, if you are going to use a heat lamp, make sure you don't put it enar the paper (you don't want a fire). Straw makes a good way for them to keep warm, also. You may want to use the broken down boxes on the outside of the coop. We had them on the inside. Either way would keep the cold drafts out.

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January 7, 20110 found this helpful

I had problems with the chickens pecking at the cardboard so what I did was go to my local carpet store and picked up an old carpet that was being thrown away. Nailed it to the walls over the cardboard or foam board. Bottom side out, carpet side next to the wall.


Come spring when I am cleaning the coop all I had to do was spray the walls down with a hose to wash all the chicken dust off to freshen up the coop. I used this method in my goat barn also and it made a big difference in temperature.

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November 22, 20160 found this helpful

I stapled plastic sheathing to the studs on the inside and stuffed bags full of shredded paper sprinkled with diatomaceous earth into the wall cavities. Then stapled cardboard over that.

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