Winter’s coming and you need to winterize the chicken coop.  The days may still be blazing hot and sunny but winter is coming and it’s coming fast!  

My trees are dumping leaves and making a yellow, brown and red crunchy carpet on the ground which provides me hours of cardio raking them up.  The winds are picking up and temperatures are dropping at night so it’s time to start looking at winterizing the chicken coop.

And I’m going to show you how to do it for FREE, yes for free!

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How to winterize a chicken coop for free. Click to find out more or pin it and save for later.

This whole method of winterizing the chicken coop was all my husband’s idea.  He gets full credit for this one and it’s so simple, I can’t believe we haven’t seen it anywhere else so today, I’m sharing this frugal way of insulating your chicken coop that you can try.

Heat lamp or no heat lamp?

winterizing chicken coop

My husband and I had been looking at how to winterize the chicken coop and have seen some amazing ways to do it from deep littering the bedding in the coop to heated lamps and pop up car ports.

We’re not going to be using a heating lamp, there have been too many cases of coops catching fire especially across the Wasatch Front and we don’t want to roast the chickens…just yet.  We bought breeds of chickens which were cold hardy so we shouldn’t need a heat lamp now as long as we can keep the birds dry.

Given the materials used in this insulating method, a heat lamp is not suitable and poses a serious fire risk.  If you want to use a heat lamp, do not use this way of winterizing your coop.

What did we do to winterize the chicken coop?

We simply stapled cardboard boxes which had been flattened and cut to size across the beams in the coop then filled the recess with straw.  

It’s that simple! For real!

The straw traps air and insulates and the cardboard keeps it in place.  This method of insulating works really well if you have exposed beams with a bit of a gap before the outer wall.

Cardboard also has insulating qualities, if it is the corrugated stuff. You can repurpose shipping boxes, moving boxes and anything else with thick carboard.

Take a look at my YouTube video below to show you what it looks like:

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To winterize the chicken coop you will need:

Make sure you have plenty of staples for your staple gun, we ran out then ran around trying three different stores looking for staples.  Be prepared before you start!

How to Winterize Chicken Coops

To in order for us to winterize the chicken coop one of us had to get in the coop so we drew straws. I drew the cleanout straw, my stepson pulled the cutting cardboard straw and my husband was left with my stepson and I pushing him into the coop (literally).  

Our coop is big and sturdy enough to support my extremely ample figure, however, use caution before climbing into a coop and check for signs of rotting, joints which are not well secured etc.  If you have a smaller coop like this one you may be able to staple the cardboard from one side.

If you have a store bought chicken coop take a look at How to Winterize a Prefab Coop for Under $10.

Optional Step

Dust Diatomaceous Earth  around the coop in the areas where the insulation will be put up.  This will help cut down on the bugs trying to over-winter in the coop.

Step 1: Measure the distance between beams

Grab a tape measure to measure the area where you will be stapling the cardboard.


urban homesteading

Step 2: Cut the cardboard

Cut the cardboard pieces to the dimensions needed.  

Step 3: Staple the cardboard

Staple your cardboard either on one lengthways side or staple at the bottom and a few inches up to make a sort of pocket.  Some of the cardboard with the crease or bend comes in very handy for corners!

Step 4: Get stuffed

Fill your cardboard pocket with as much hay or straw that it will take.

How to Winterize chicken coops

Step 5: Staple it shut

Staple up the remaining sides.  Continue throughout the coop until the sides are covered.


practical livestock for urban homesteaders

Take a look at the images below for a close up of the coop interior or find out more about our chickens with these similar posts:

Keeping Chickens Healthy In Winter

Raising Chickens In Your Backyard

Close up Tour of the insulated coop


how to winterize a chicken coop

Don’t forget to insulate the main door!

How to prepare a chicken coop for winter

preparing a coop for winter

Insulating around the window.

how to insulate a coop

We had to cut out holes for the rod/pole holder which we use for the perch.

Insulated and winterized coop

The finished coop all insulated and ready to keep the girls warm.

It also helped to keep the coop cool during summer!

how to stop feather pecking and feather picking in chickens

We also made sure to insulate the roof to keep the ladies nice and snug this winter. I like to provide them plenty of bedding as well.

If you want to see how well this insulation performed, take a look at my post Winterizing the Chicken Coop: A Year Later.  If you have a prefabricated store-bought coop, you can see how to winterize it for less than $10 in my post How to Insulate a Prefab Chicken Coop for Under $10.

Do you have a favorite way to winterize the chicken coop in your backyard?  If you have any tips please share them in the comments or at the Misfit Gardening Community Forum, we would love to read about them.

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