Electricity in the coop

Rustic Chicken

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 2, 2010
64
2
39
Although we have just started our chicken raising journey, we are already considering expanding and future possibilities. Our current coop has electricity which is very convenient, but I would like to know how many of you out there have or have no electricity and what your general thoughts are. We have 5 acres of land with lots of places for great coops, but we may not be able to easily run electricity to some of the other areas. We live in Kentucky, but out property is heavily wooded and stays relatively cool in the summer (high 80s) and we have some snow in the winter and ice in the winter, but not like my days in Vermont. Any expertise or insights you could share would be greatly appreciated.

Thanks in advance!
 

toletiquesbysam

Songster
11 Years
Sep 19, 2008
1,711
6
161
Nebraska
My coop has no electricity, it's certainly not a issue in the most of the year but an issue during the winter. My coop is about 150feet from our house, so I run electric cords out to it in the winter to hang a heat lamp over their water to keep it from freezing. There are Alot of folks on here though who don't, and they just change their water twice a day when freezing is an issue. If you don't have many days where your waters would freeze, then no electricity in the coop would not be an issue! I do not provide my chickens with heat, only this small portion over the waterer, my chickens are hearty breeds and can stand the winter weather because they acclimate themselves to it by not having heat. There are times we can not make it out everyday to the coop, and by having this heat lamp, my chickens still have water which is SOO very important to their survival!
 

rancher hicks

Crowing
11 Years
Feb 28, 2009
17,682
891
436
Syracuse, NY
Now I'm not sure of your codes there but here I had an Electrician friend tell me if I could dig a trench down about a foot he could run a line from my house underground to my coop. I have seen this done and they have a machine that can do it for you if you have a long way to go. Look at it this way, if you have it and don't need it that's one thing, but if you don't have it and need it's harder to install later. The lighting in the coop is well worth the effort if you have a large coop. Properly installed there is little chance of fire. Plus it can only increase the value of your buildings.
 

tinahoak

In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 22, 2010
83
0
29
Brockport, NY
Code here in upstate NY where I live is 3 feet down for power lines . My husband and son hand dug/shoveled a trench to run power out to the pole barn which is maybe 30-40 feet from the house. He swore a big NO to running power to the coop which is farther away. So, in the winter I run an electrical cord for the water heater and that so far has worked fine( 4 years). I do have a solar light hooked up for the coop to provide the girls with some light a dusk to help them settle in. It runs for about 5 hours on a charge . I leave it on so it comes on automatically at dusk and recharges during the day. This set up has worked well for me.
 

rancher hicks

Crowing
11 Years
Feb 28, 2009
17,682
891
436
Syracuse, NY
I'm not an expert on codes, so I can only tell you what I was told. I too have an extension cord run to the coop for lighting and two secured heat lights. I would however like some outlets in the coop and one on the outside.
 

Dogfish

Rube Goldberg incarnate
9 Years
Mar 17, 2010
1,922
13
161
Western Washington
Rent a ditch witch (working end looks like a HUGE chainsaw). Dig 18-24" deep, run some outdoor rated 12-2 in gray pvc conduit and make it water tight. Mark your path with bricks level with the ground every 10 feet or so after you cover the ditch so you know where the power is. The ditch witch runs us about $100 for 4 hours, which is enough time to dig a trench to anywhere on our 5 acres. You could also use it to prepare a trench around your coop to burry your wire. BIG labor saver.
 

Newtohens

In the Brooder
9 Years
Apr 7, 2010
50
1
39
Quote:I too am planning on using an extension cord this winter, but I really like the idea of using a solar light. What kind/type of solar light do you use? Also where did you find it to purchase it?
 

CityChook

Songster
11 Years
Apr 9, 2008
1,719
20
184
Minneapolis, MN
My Coop
From October until May I need electricity to keep water thawed. I also run radiant heat 24/7 over the roost. We hardwired the coop and ran electricity from the garage. I love it. I'm not sure I could keep an outdoor pet without it here during the depths of winter. In Kentucky I'm imagining that you could get along just fine without it though.
 

Rustic Chicken

In the Brooder
9 Years
Jun 2, 2010
64
2
39
Thanks for the feedback everyone! I think our future coop plans will likely include electricity if possible. I believe (although I'm no electrician) we will be able to tab into the the electric in the current coop or the house. While we are comfortable building coops, I would leave this to a licensed electrician for sure!
 

Ravishaw

Songster
9 Years
May 7, 2010
381
2
119
I'm with the ditch witch crowd. I rented one, and ran my .12 gauge shotgun (lol) wire to the coop. I was doing some finishing frame work and brought out my compressor... Well I guess that with a big motor like my compressor I taxed the line to nearly it's limit. It started up really slowly but then ran fine. I'm no electrician, but I wanted to see... I put my little battery charger for my ryobi tools in the same box as my compressor then started it up... Pop!!!
I just wish 10 gauge wire wasn't as expensive or I'd have run it.

Now I have plugs inside and outside, and I plan on running a light or two to the exterior plus adding switches, and an interior light in case I need to go check on them at night. For lights I don't think you can go overdo the load on the breaker. Big compressor... nother story.

Funny story in leaving... My chicks are about 3 and 4 weeks old as of now. This morning I went out to their new coop to toss in some breadsticks from my DW's birthday dinner last night at Olive Garden. The chicks looked happy enough crawling out from beneath the leftover lumber I'd left as a place to get away until they're big enough to roost on the perches I'd made. I pinched off a little crumb, rolled it up and tossed it to them... and away they went! I'd flick little crumbs into each corner, and they'd bound over to investigate the new sight. I have pine shavings on the floor, and sometimes they'd lose the crumbs in the shavings... (snacks for later) They don't cluck yet, they still cheep cheep cheep, but my americaunas and barred rocks are getting bigger. My wine-dotters are the smallest, with my Rhodie Reds in between. My most adventerous barred rock has been dubbed Murdock, in honor of the A-Team.
 

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