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solar powered light for inside the chicken coop for the winter?

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JodyMacPell

Hatching
Nov 29, 2018
1
9
9
HI - I have joined as I need some help with being a byc owner. I live in rowley, MA - in april I obtained 6 chickens from a friend that no longer wanted chickens. I also purchased 8 more chickens. Unfortunately I have lost one to a dog one to a hawk and one to a cyote. so with the 11 that I have left I have 6 in one coop and 5 in a horses stall. I have tried to get all of them into the horses stall for the winter - not having any luck. i also have 4 dogs, 2 cats and 7 horses. I am trying to find a solar powered light to place inside the chicken coop for additional light, I am hoping someone here can make a recommendation.
 

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alexa009

Crossing the Road
Apr 6, 2017
4,129
17,659
907
Texas
My Coop
My Coop
Welcome to Backyard Chickens!:welcome We are glad you joined the flock! BYC is a helpful site providing all of the information you need to know about poultry! There is always space for more members on the BYC roost!:highfive: I would keep your chickens in an enclosed run/area to prevent predators. Hardware cloth is also recommended since chicken wire or mesh will not prevent predators from entering the run. Why do you need additional light for your coop? Just curious. Anyway, Hope you enjoy it here as much as we all do!
 

BigATC

Songster
Jun 26, 2017
119
510
157
Spokane County, WA
Glad to have you part of the BYC flock! Ditto on the reason for a light. Before I had electric to mine, I used a head lamp when needed to see what I was doing. If it's for egg production, well that's something else. Sorry about the lost chickens but some areas are tougher than others trying to keep the chooks safe. Some good articles on all that stuff here, just use the search bar up at the top and good luck!
 

Kris5902

Crossing the Road
Oct 12, 2018
4,841
32,942
942
British Columbia, Canada
I’m also having some winter lighting issues... being winter it gets light out where I live about 8 am, full dark sets in by 5 pm. My girls are currently in a garage with lots of windows, but it still doesn’t really brighten up enough in there until after 10 am, and it starts getting dark inside well before it is dark outside. I’ve got flourescent lighting in there for them though... assuming other people don’t turn them off trying to be more energy conscious!

If you’re going to be on solar I would recommend checking out RV suppliers, and online. I don’t know if light spectrum is particularly important to chickens, if you’re just looking for supplemental light, LED is good for solar as it’s less draw on your batteries. You can get kits online with panels and a charge controller (protects your batteries from overcharging) at reasonable prices. You may need to buy some MC4 Y connectors as well, some kits don’t include them. I’d think 200 watts and two deep cycle 6 volt golf cart batteries would be fine for a small light system (you get almost double amp hours, useable energy, from 2 6 volts wired in series than 1 12 volt).

You will want to position the panels in full sun facing south-ish and approximately at the same degree angle as your latitude, though I think that’s somewhat less important... Point the panels at the sun, keep your wire runs as short as you can, and keep your battery box separate from the animals. Lead acid batteries off gas. There is lots of info online about how to set up small off grid solar systems.

I’m guessing $600-$900 USD for a decent 200 watt system and batteries, but that depends on where you’re living.
 

Kris5902

Crossing the Road
Oct 12, 2018
4,841
32,942
942
British Columbia, Canada
Sorry, spotty internet where I live and your coop pic didn’t load at first... my previous comment is overkill for your coop setup, but might be ok for the horse stalls if you don’t have electric there! Maybe put some solar walkway lights through the roof and silicone them sealed? If you just want to extend the “daylight” time a bit inside the coop at night... but your coop looks pretty bright as is, I’m jealous!
 

feathermaid

Egg Obsessed
Feb 5, 2018
3,126
23,286
942
Northwest Oregon
My Coop
My Coop
Welcome to BackYard Chickens!!
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Congratulation on all your new chickens! But I'm so sorry for your losses... sounds like you've got a predator problem. Might want to look into building a big secure run and limit their free range time. Your cute little coop is pretty small for all the chickens you have... the horse stall would actually work great as a permanent home, not just for the winter.
Once chickens associate a place as their home, it's difficult to get them to change their mind, so you'll have the same problem again if you plan to move them out of the stall later. Either way, you'll have to physically move them all to the new place and keep them locked in for about a week so they learn where their home is. A good time to catch them is at night.

Are you wanting additional lighting to keep them laying through winter? Lots of people do that, but I prefer to let them experience their natural molt and let their bodies take a break for a while. There's nothing wrong with keeping them in total darkness at night. Here's a couple articles to explain the process and decide if it's even necessary:
Supplemental Light in the Chicken Coop: Why and How

Dangers of Supplemental Coop Light

Some more information to consider if adding light that may possibly add heat:
Supplemental Heat in Winter


Here are some other important factors to keep in mind while trying to prepare a safe and healthy space to keep your chickens:
How Much Room Do Chickens Need

Chicken Coop Ventilation - Go Out There And Cut More Holes In Your Coop!

Predator Proofing

I know that's a lot of links, but there really is a ton of useful information in there, I hope you'll find them all as helpful as I did.
Best wishes with your new flock!
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