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Should my chicken coop be insulated

“Should my chicken coop be insulated or not?” This question is asked by many new and seasoned people who keep chickens. The winter months can get cold, and as conscientious chicken owners, we want our chickens to be happy, healthy and laying.

The short answer to this question is no, as long as you have a good quality coop, your hens don’t need extra insulation even during the colder months. Chickens are fairly tough and hardy birds that have adapted to survive in both warmer and colder temperatures. If you’ve got average winters where the temperature doesn’t drop below -20⁰F your chickens should be perfectly fine however their egg production will decline.

Take a little time to consider these three questions: Where you live determines how cold it gets in winter. Consider what breed of chicken you have, as different breeds will withstand cold and freezing temperatures better than others. The last consideration is the type of coop you have and how insulated it already is.

Should Your Chicken Coop Be Insulated?

In most cases, if you live in an area with winter snowfall, you should consider insulation in your chicken coop. If you keep chickens that are not bred for colder climates, it is best to ensure they have warm spaces for the coldest months. If your coop has built-in insulation already, you may not need additional insulation.

Instead of insulating the coop, it’s better to pick up a sturdy well-built structure that will protect your chickens from the elements, if you’d like to learn more about chicken coops great for winter then feel free to check out our article on best chicken coops for cold weather. There we’ll provide you with some unbiased reviews of different coops on the market that fit this description.

Having a good coop will give you hens the right amount of protection, we thorough believers in hens being able to survive in harsher conditions all day as long, as they have a good coop to rest in during the night. 

Insulating your chicken coop largely depends on how cold it will get in winter

How Cold Will Your Chicken Coop Get In Winter?

The first and most important question when considering if you should insulate your chicken coop is how cold it will get in winter where you are. Winter temperatures differ so much all over the country that a need to insulate a chicken coop in one state may be unnecessary in another.

Common sense comes into play here; if you consider yourself to live in a cold country or state with regular seasonal snowfall, you’ll need to insulate your chicken coop in winter. If you consider yourself to live in a warm country or state, you most likely don’t need insulation.

Should My Chicken Coop Be Insulated: What Temperature Is Too Cold For Chickens?

If you aim to have laying hens, then remember that certain breeds of chickens can withstand temperatures as low as -20⁰F, but they will often stop laying long before it gets to that low temperature. 

Knowing how a chicken regulates body temperature will go a long way in helping you keep them toasty and laying in winter.

Which Breeds Of Chicken Do Well In Lower Temperatures?

As with all domesticated animals, some breeds of chicken will do better at lower temperatures than others. If you are new to keeping chickens, choosing a breed better suited to colder temperatures will mean less or no insulation on your chicken coop.

These breeds of chickens are better suited to cold weather:

  • Rhode Island Reds
  • Silkie
  • Rhode Island Reds
  • Dorking
  • Australorp
  • Plymouth Rock
  • Welsummer
  • Cochin
  • Buckeye
  • Dominiques

These breeds of chicken have a thick and heavy plumage that grows in layers to keep them warm in very cold temperatures. A lightly insulated or uninsulated closed coop will suit these breeds just fine.

Your Chickens Will Tell You When To Insulate

Chickens don’t speak, but they do communicate with us. Watch your chickens for these signs that they need some extra insulation in winter:

  • Your chickens are huddling in a corner and fluffing up their wings
  • They regularly stand on one foot with the other tucked up close to their body for heat. 
  • They are continuously seeking out other chickens in the coop to huddle with.

If you see your chickens doing these things regularly, it is time to look into insulating the chicken coop.

Does Your Coop Already Have Enough Insulation?

This is an interesting read at backyard chickens about personal experience in insulating. It highlights that many coops already have enough insulation by their design, while others will need extra. 

Check The Materials Of The Coop

If you bought a ready-made coop, chat with the manufacturer to see what insulation comes standard and what they recommend for additional insulation.

Consider the material your chicken coop is made from. Often coops with solid wooden walls provide enough insulation, while metal walls will not. If you have converted a coop from a garden shed like we have and your live in a cold climate your will likely need to consider insulating your coop.

Raised coops will need more padding or insulation on the floor as heat from the coop will escape as it sinks.

Look at the design of your coop and make the decision yourself.

Common Materials For Insulating A Chicken Coop

If you decide to go the insulation route, there are many tried and tested ways of insulating a chicken coop. Chicken coop insulation includes:

  • Spray foam is a recommended insulation. It is, however, more expensive than other forms of chicken coop insulation and requires specialist installation, but it is well worth it.
  • Fiberglass insulation is also highly recommended. It is often inexpensive and easy to install.
  • Styrofoam sheeting also works well and is less expensive, but if the chickens can get at it, they will peck it all away.

Cover the insulated sections with plywood with all three of these options to stop the chickens from pecking at it.

Some coops will need to insulated in cold weather

Keeping Chickens Warm Without Built-In Insulation

There are other ways to keep a chicken coop warm in winter without built-in insulation.

Make Protective Barriers From The Elements

Stack straw bales on the side of the coop that gets the least sun or bears the brunt of the wind. This same straw can be used for insulation on the floors throughout the winter.

Use Plastic Sheeting As A Temporary Insulator

It may be good to wrap the whole coop in plastic sheeting for the worst parts of winter. Remember to keep the ventilation flowing in the coop.

Clear plastic sheeting may also be a great way to let sunlight into the coop to trap its natural heat. A ‘greenhouse for chickens’ added to your chicken coop will give your chickens space to roam during the day while keeping them protected from the wet and cold.

Eliminate Draughts In Your Chicken Coop

The other keys to keeping the chicken coop as warm as possible in winter are to stop draughts as much as possible while keeping good ventilation. A draught will blow out any warm air that the chickens generate themselves. 

The link above also gives good advice about the ‘Deep Litter Method’ of insulating while protecting your chickens against lice and mites, giving them space to roost, and protecting your chickens against frostbite.

Always remember that a dry chicken coop will be much warmer for your chickens, so keep the coop well waterproofed and dry!


The decision to insulate your chicken coop comes down to how cold it gets where you are, what breed of chickens you have, and how insulated your coop is already. Happy roosting and please share this article if you found it useful.

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