Electrical wiring safety in hen house?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by clifonti, Aug 23, 2008.

  1. clifonti

    clifonti In the Brooder

    Jul 15, 2008
    My DH wants to install electrical in the hen house to make my life easier this winter. I need a water heater and lightbulb. Should I put an outlet on the wall near the floor for the water heater? Light bulb suspended from ceiling with conduit? I'm a safety nut. I don't know what my birds will do to a cord, bulb and outlet. Eat it? Peck it? Get electrocuted? What is the safest way to install the electrical dohickeys in there? Any construction enthusiasts out there? Please help. I'm afraid my DH will plunge into this without a plan.
  2. I live in Middle Tennesse and it does get cold and snows some,Wedo not have any electric in our coop,I'm afraid of fire, and my chickens will peck at anything, In the winter when it gets cold I feed them extra scratch and have the windows and doors closed for them. Ialso use plenty of hay in the coop so they can stay in there if they get cold, but I had rather Carry water out to them several times a day than worry about fire.esp since we only have volunteer fire dept and live 14 miles from town in the woods. But that is just my 02 cents worth. marrie
  3. clifonti

    clifonti In the Brooder

    Jul 15, 2008
    I'm here to get feedback. Thanks for the advise.
  4. arlee453

    arlee453 Songster

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    If you are super worried, I'd use grey conduit to run the lines anywhere where they are within pecking distance from the floor or roosts.

    I'd tend to place my outlets at the height of the light switches, rather than close to the floor. I'd not want the outlets down near the bedding.

    I have a workman's type light in my coop - you know the type that plugs into an extension cord with the cage around the light bulb. It works fine in the winter for light and the chickens don't mess with it.

    I'd definately recommend any light fixtures be the type with a cage around the bulb to prevent the chickens from flying up into it and getting burned. Also make sure there is no way they can roost on top of the heat lamp and get burns to their feet.

    Finally, if you hang a heat lamp, be sure to hang it with a chain or something similar - and also loop the cord so that if one hanger breaks, the other will catch the light. You don't want a heat lamp to land down on the bedding - that would be a big fire hazard.
  5. You can get electrical conduit and box covers cheaply at any hardware store- they're grounded and waterproof. You can even buy a ground fault interruptor to allay all fears...[​IMG]
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:There is no reason to fear having electricity in a coop (no more than in your house!) as long as it is installed CORRECTLY. This either means learning a good bit, or having someone else do it, or at least check it for you -- which many building codes require anyhow. Follow the electrical code and you will be fine.

    Coop-specific touches: covered outlets are good (the kind with the waterproof hinged caps so that dust doesn't get into the outlets when no plug is in em). Mouseproof conduit. The *safest* kind of lights for high-dust environments (barns in general, and this includes coops in particular) are sealed fixtures made specifically for barn type use, where there is a sealed glass thingie protecting the bulb. OTOH I doubt that more than a few people have them in their coops - I don't - on the theory that a problem from this source is pretty seriously unlikely and if worst comes to worse it is 'only' a coop (although unfortunately also your chickens), not a $100k barn or a house.

    Put the outlets outside of the chicken area, or if that is impractical, put them high up on the walls or even on the ceiling. Put enough of them in that you won't ahve to use extension cords - extension cords are not recommended for higher-wattage things like heat lamps or waterer heaters.

    Also, it is awfully smart to have a master switch of some sort in the coop -- either give it its own breaker box (your code may or may not require this) or put a switch next to the front door that will turn off all electricity to all outlets/receptacles/switches in the coop. If there's ever a problem, you will be REAL glad you did this.

    For all of that, it's really not rocket science [​IMG] Follow the electrical code and use common sense (remembering it is a high-dust, high-rodent environment) and you will be fine.

    Good luck and have fun,


BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: