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Eglu Cube vs Wooden Chicken Coop: Which will stay warmer? 🥶 🌡️ 🔥

Friday, June 7, 2019

When it comes to buying a chicken coop one of the deciding factors is whether a plastic coop is going to offer enough warmth for your chooks over a traditional timber coop? 

On a cold winter’s day, when there’s a heavy frost or a thick blanket of snow do you ever wonder how your chickens manage without central heating and a mug of cocoa? It’s natural to worry if your hens will be comfortable when the temperature dips below freezing.

Unsurprisingly, chickens will look for shelter when the weather’s bad so the first thing you can do to keep your chickens cosy is make sure they have a winter proof chicken coop. In this respect choosing the right chicken coop is similar to choosing your own house. You wouldn’t want drafty windows and doors, a leaky roof, and paper thin walls – and neither do your chickens. Many coops that are bought are fine during the summer, but unfortunately when winter comes they can leave their occupants shivering.We set about testing two very different chicken coops over the course of 3 nights in the Bavarian Forest in Germany. A place that gets more than its fair share of snow and ice.

The first chicken coop was typical of the type sold all over the internet. On first impressions everything fits together well and it’s attractively painted, it comes with a roosting bar and a nesting box and a run. It appears that this is a perfectly good chicken coop. However, on closer inspection it’s worrying to find that large sections of the wooden panels are only 5mm thick. There’s no insulation and nothing in the instructions regarding the suitability of the coop for year round use.

The second coop was the Eglu Cube by Omlet. This chicken coop is part of the Eglu range which all feature a twin walled construction providing an insulating layer all round the coop. Similar to the way ice chests are made, it feels extremely robust and heavy duty. You could say it’s agricultural quality in a hobby chicken coop. It looks the part – but would the Eglu keep the cold out and the warmth in?

Chickens will seek shelter in bad weather so make sure they have a winter proof coop

Identical digital thermometers were placed inside the Eglu and the wooden coop which would take readings both inside and outside the coops during the night. Cameras were also placed inside the coops to record the chickens. After the chickens went to bed the front doors were closed, in fact the Eglu Cube came complete with a rather fancy Automatic Chicken Coop door which gently closed behind the last chicken.

As it got dark the outside temperature dropped to -3.8℃. While it was getting colder outside, it was getting warmer in the Eglu Cube. Around an hour after the chickens had gone to roost the temperature inside the Eglu Cube was 8.3℃ and it stayed there all night. That’s a plus 12℃ temperature difference.

Unfortunately it was not as cosy in the wooden house. As the temperature outside dropped so too did the temperature inside the wooden coop. At 11pm it was -2℃ inside the coop. That’s only 1℃ warmer than the outside temperature. In fact the inside of the wooden coop stayed below zero for nearly the whole night, warming to just above zero by 7am.

If it was freezing inside you might be wondering how on earth the chickens survived. Chickens, as with all other warm blooded animals, have temperature-regulating mechanisms to keep their body temperature at a constant level (around 41-45℃ in a healthy adult hen), so they can cope with a certain amount of cold. Just like wild birds, chickens will fluff up their feathers when it gets cold; this traps a layer of air which insulates the chickens against the cold. This is why it’s so important that chickens don’t get wet during cold weather, as this prevents them from being able to fluff their feathers up. In addition a drafty coop will make it hard for them to trap this layer of warm air too.

The outside temperature dropped to -3.8℃. Inside the Eglu Cube stayed at 8.3℃. Inside the wooden coop was -2℃
Outdoor and indoor temperature comparison graph

They will also tuck their head under their wings and huddle together with their coop companions to keep themselves warm. On the in coop camera recording you could clearly see how the chickens select a roosting place, and then fluff up their feathers.

So if the chickens in the wooden coop were able to keep themselves warm even though it was freezing inside there’s nothing to worry about? Not quite, a coop that’s not insulated or draughty will place extra demands on your chickens because of the heat being lost. Chickens in a cold coop will have to increase their metabolism to turn food and fat reserves into heat at a faster rate than hens in a cosy coop. If the heat loss is extreme, or a chicken is not fully fit then over the course of several cold nights there is a risk that all the energy reserves are used up resulting in the chicken being unable to keep it’s body temperature high enough with potentially fatal consequences.

What this test shows is that properly insulated, winter ready chicken coop can make all the difference between a cosy night in the coop and one spent shivering to keep warm. As an added bonus hens that use up less energy keeping warm are more likely to keep laying.

Look no further than an easy-care, mobile coop from Omlet.
Keep your hens toasty warm and content even on the coldest nights.

There are three fantastic models available.

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Eglu Go Chicken Coop

The simple, stylish, straightforward way to start keeping chickens. The Eglu Go Chicken Coop is the ideal hen house for keeping up to four medium-size chickens happy and healthy in even the smallest of gardens. Complete with a predator-proof chicken run, this easy to clean plastic chicken house is ideal for the first time chicken keeper. Makes an excellent duck house too.

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The Eglu Go UP is the ultimate raised mobile chicken coop for up to four hens and a firm favourite with chicken keepers

Eglu Go UP | Raised Chicken Coop

The Eglu Go UP is the ultimate raised mobile chicken coop for up to four hens and a firm favourite with chicken keepers. Easy to clean in minutes, with slide-out roosting bars, dropping tray and waterproof, wipe-clean surfaces. Your hens will be safe from predators in the spacious, heavy-duty steel run. Featuring Omlet’s unique anti-tunnel skirt and an attractive dark green finish to blend into your garden. Whatsmore, the wheels and optional run handles make moving your chicken coop a breeze. The zero-maintenance, insulated design is trusted by chicken keepers all over the world to keep their hens comfortable in all seasons.

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When your Eglu looks like an Igloo!

A lot of chicken keepers are worried about their chickens during cold winter days. Chickens are usually well adapted to the cold and as long as their coop is dry on the inside, they feel happy and warm in the Eglu.

Of course there are a few things to look out for and prepare for during the winter, so we have spoken to Stefanie, who is going through her second winter with the chickens in their Eglu Cube this year. She tells us about the preparations and adaptations she makes for when the weather gets icy and how she and her chickens get through the season.

Chickens are usually well adapted to the cold and as long as their coop is dry
Snowed in Eglu Cube chicken coop with happy, healthy chickens
Eglu Cube extreme temperature blanket
Happy chickens in winter's snow

Eglu Extreme Weather Protection

Omlet’s extreme temperature blanket will keep your hens snug on planet earth. This purpose-designed chicken coop cover is easy to fit; simply secure to the run with the supplied bungees.

The Eglu Cube Eglu Extreme Weather Protection
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Eglu Extreme Weather Protection

The best thing about an Eglu is that it keeps your chickens warm in winter but also cool in summer.

Invest in an Omlet Eglu Chicken Coop Today  😊


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