Owning chickens is a favorite pastime in America, and it is becoming increasingly popular. And while owning chicken can be very rewarding, it isn’t without its challenges. Learning how to weatherproof your chicken coop is one of these problems.
Hens can be a fickle bunch, and while they might enjoy dancing or clucking in the rain for a bit. Eventually, they want a warm and dry home they can pass the time in. Your hens should have a warm dry place to lay their heads at night. Especially in the wet fall and cold winter months. They will reward d you with an increase in egg production. If not, you will notice and have fewer eggs for breakfast or the farmers market.
With a little care and time, you can make sure your chicken coop offers your hens the respite they need. Below is what you need to know about how to weatherproof a chicken coop.
6 Easy Ways To Weatherproof Your Chicken Coop
1. Position of Coop
The first and possibly most important thing when weatherproofing your chicken coop is that the position of the coop. This is extremely important. Should you buy a predesigned chicken coop or building your own from scratch. You’ll need to make sure you position the coop so that it is facing the sun. This will ensure that the coop gets maximal sunlight and keep the coop warm and dry.
Because you want your chickens to lay eggs, the temperature is not necessarily as important as humidity. After heavy rainfall, coops are faced away from the sun. This will stay wetter far longer than coops that face the sun. That direct sunlight will dry the bedding quickly. This will keep the humidity level in your chicken coop at a level that is far more conducive to egg-laying.
The other part of the coop that needs to be positioned correctly is the roof. A steeply slanted roof ensures that water and melting snow will slide off the roof. Keeping it drier in the first place.
If you can make sure your chicken coop faces the sun and has a slanted roof. This will help keep the rain out, you will be well on your way to weatherproofing your chicken coop. These two simple steps are so easy yet so important.
Now comes the part where you actually have to do a little extra work to weatherproof your chicken coop. Keeping it warm and dry for your feathery friends. One thing many backward chicken keepers fail to do is use insulation in their chicken coop.
Keeping your chicken coop warm and dry is very important. Especially when it comes to creating an environment where your chickens will lay plenty of eggs. Insulation is one of the keys to creating that environment. Good insulation will help regulate the humidity levels in the coop, and it will keep your hens warm in winter months and cool in summer.
Installing the insulation into your chicken coop is easy, and there are plenty of materials you can use for insulation. Anything from cardboard, to burlap sacks, to old fabric can easily be stapled or taped to the inside wall and ceiling of your chicken coop.
If you do want a more industrial-strength option, and one that will undoubtedly do a better job of insulating your chicken coop, you can use thin insulation on the walls and ceiling.
After positioning your chicken coop correctly, insulating it is the next most important step in weatherproofing a chicken coop, and one that you can easily accomplish in an afternoon.
3. Sealing the Coop
Along with insulating the chicken coop, it is also essential to make sure the coop is sealed tightly. Cold winds and drafts can turn any chicken coop into a frozen tundra and make it damper as well.
After putting your chicken coop together or building it from your own design, you want to make sure you use a quality sealant around all the edges, corners, and windows of the coop. To do this, you can use either liquid rubber, which you can paint on all desired areas or a sealant tape that is made to seal-off edges and corners from the unwanted wind.
Another thing you need to do in order to weatherproof a chicken coop is to make sure it is well ventilated. The benefits of a well-ventilated chicken coop should be obvious by this point. Keeping chickens warm and dry is so important, and the best way to do that (especially the dry part) is to make sure there is sufficient airflow in the chicken coop. Proper ventilation will also keep the dangerous gases from chicken poop and even heat lamps from harming your chickens.
A great place to add a vent to your chicken coop is up near the roof. That way, the cold air won’t flow directly into the chickens’ faces but will supply the coop with fresh, clean air.
A vent with a door or hatch works well because you can air out the coop during the daytime and then close it at night time.
If you have positioned your chicken coop correctly, ensuring that the roof is slanting in a way as to prevent rain from entering, stapled or taped insulation on the inside walls and ceiling. Also, apply liquid rubber or sealant tape around the edges, corners, and windows of your chicken coop, and added a vent, you have done just about everything you can to weatherproof the structure of your chicken cook.
But there are still a couple more things you can do to keep your chickens dry and warm year-round.
5. Heaters and Heat Lamps
Another thing you will want to do to make sure you weatherproof your chicken coop correctly is to use heaters or heat lamps. A good heater and/or heat lamp will work really well with the insulation to keep your chickens warm, happy, and dry in the long winter months.
Now, no matter what you do, the number of eggs your chickens lay will decrease in the winter. But the dead of winter is a very different thing than the start and end of winter, and by using good heaters or heat lamps, you can shorten the “dead of winter” and help your chickens lay more eggs more months of the year.
A relatively low wattage red heating lamp is a fairly inexpensive way to go and will certainly help keep your chickens warmer in the cold.
Another option is a space heater designed for chicken coops. While chicken coop space heaters are more expensive than heat lamps, they also do a better job of heating the coop. They have a broader face and cover more area. They are also safer to use heat lamps and actually use less energy in many cases.
Heat lamps and space heaters are an essential component to weatherproofing any chicken coop.
One last trick you might want to consider, especially in the late fall and winter months, is to toss a little extra bedding into the coop. This will allow the chickens to nestle in and stay warm more easily.
However, if you do decide to use more bedding in the colder months, you will need to make sure you check the bedding to make sure it isn’t getting too wet or dirty. And you might have to change it more frequently.
Wet or even damp bedding can cause mold to grow, which could lead to your chickens developing respiratory issues.
Only add more bedding in the winter months if you are committed to cleaning the coop more frequently to ensure the health of your chickens.
My Favorite Chicken Coop Weatherproofing Supplies
Having backyard chickens is a great family activity, and literally, millions of people across the country are enjoying the benefits of keeping their own birds. While there are some costs to consider and steps to take to make sure your chickens are dry and warm in their chicken coop year-round, they are well worthwhile and shouldn’t prevent anyone from keeping chickens.
If you follow the simple tips laid out in this article, you should have no problem weatherproofing your chicken coop. You’ll have happy chickens, warm chickens, dry chickens, and, most importantly, dozens of delicious, fresh eggs.
Below is a Pinterest friendly photo…. so you can pin it to your Chicken Board!!