Alpaca fiber is good for more than just creating incredibly soft and warm apparel. Other practical and enjoyable uses include felting, handspinning, and, of course, insulating small pens, including chicken coops.
Particularly if you live in an area that endures freezing winters, maintaining reserves of warmth for outdoor animals pens is essential. While many farmers and individuals who raise chickens use electrical heaters during the icy winter months, power can go out, causing illness and even fatalities among your animals due to prolonged cold exposure. What better way to keep your animals toasty and use cast-off alpaca fibers in the process than to upcycle them for insulation?
This project is quick and easy and results in insulation you can use right away. If for some reason you have questions, however, don’t hesitate to ask! Contact our experts today!
Why Use Alpaca Fibers for This Project?
Alpaca originate in the Andes of Southern Peru, where altitudes can reach 5,000 feet above sea level and temperatures routinely dip into freezing. For this reason, their fibers, though soft, are incredibly rugged and warm, capable of not only maintaining human body heat in the form of clothing but insulating outdoor structures, as well.
What You’ll Need
Proper insulation of your chicken coop requires the right tools. In order to get started, be sure you have the following available:
- Alpaca fiber
- Large feed bags
- Darning needle
- Yarn, the thicker the better.
- Heavy duty staple gun.
For this project (and this project only!), synthetic yarn is preferable. It lasts longer and resists the elements more stoutly than natural yarns.
Stitching and Stapling The Bags
The feed bag will serve as the container for the insulating alpaca fibers. However, in order to make this work, you must secure the bags with stitching.
- First, fill in your feed bags with fiber so that they are approximately 2” thick when full.
- Next, find a spot halfway up the bag and create a row of fastening knots, 3” apart horizontally. Simply poke the needle through one side of the bag, then again on the other side, and tie both ends together. Doing so will keep the fibers in place and prevent them from sagging or falling down into the bottom of the bag.
- Finally, staple the bags to the inside of the chicken coop. Line them up so that there is no gap between, in order to prevent drafts.
Using this simple technique, you can ensure that your chicken coop retains heat when temperatures drop. Using just repurposed alpaca fibers, feed bags, yarn, and a few staples, you can create a cold barrier that protects your animals and enables to you breathe easy on the cheap, whether a snowstorm is about to hit or your electricity has gone out in the middle of the night (or both). Let us know how this works for you!