Outdoor brooder-in-coop rig.....PICS


Can't Decide
11 Years
Mar 5, 2008
Just thought I'd post this just in case anyone needs to steal the idea....I'll be posting pics once my batteries charge LOL! I didn't have much space inside my house for 20 flying 4 wk old chickens, and since my coop was already done I decided to do some rigging outside so I could move them out and still keep them warm. This is VERY simple stuff!!! Anyone who knows the difference between positive and negative wires can do this!!!!! Here's what you need:

An outdoor outlet
(If you don't have one you just need an outlet you can run an extention cord outside from)

A grounded outdoor extension cord long enough to go from the outlet you're using to the coop and still leave you with a few feet extra length (if you have to buy one of these this will be the MOST EXPENSIVE PART OF THIS SETUP! Extension cords are made out of gold apparently! I think I got a 14 or 16 gauge)

A Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI) $10 - Lowe's....this is a safety precaution, it's like a fuse....if water gets on your outlet or something causes a problem the GFCI breaks off the power so you don't roast yourself and your chickens....

A cheap light fixture (if you want a light in your coop for other purposes than heat) I got one that uses 2 - 60W bulbs for $4.97 (Lowe's)

A light fixture box (don't remember the cost, maybe $5?)

A "Pig-Tail" (only if you want to use a light fixture) which is a cord with a plug on one end and bare wires on the other, that way you can hook it to whatever you need to wire. Also $5 If you don't know what it is ask the guys at lowe's....

A standard outlet ($0.97, Wal-Mart) (The thing you plug stuff into, like the ones on your walls at home

An outlet box ( approx. $0.97, maybe 1.50 don't remember, wal-mart)

A matching outlet cover ($0.97, it's gotta look pretty!!! Also covers outlet so nothing can touch the wires!)

Electrical tape

Razor or sharp knife or one of those wire stripper things

Drill (with a drill bit as round as the extension cord)

zip ties

a few nails (and a hammer or brick LOL!!!!)

Twine, yarn, some kind of string heavier than thread....if you want to be fancy you can use a piece of chain.....

I think that's all I used....I know I also put a timer in my coop, since I've been told chickens need like 14 hr days for maximum laying, and it's better to wake them up early....I'm not getting up a 6AM just to turn a light on....hence, a timer!!! LOL! So, excluding the extension cord, you're looking at.....roughly.....about $30. You'll already have a brooding light, either a hanging light or clamp doesn't matter which you have.
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Okay, some pics didn't turn out, and since I have everything zip-tied I can't un-wire it. You'll get the idea......hang on.....
sorry to anyone who may have looked at this thread....my cpu is being retarded!!!! photobucket doesn't like me either....give me a few minutes....sorry again!
Sorry again, I thought everything was ready but my cpu is the stupidest thing I've ever seen....other than our dog, of course.....Here goes. Cut the FEMALE end of the extension cord off. The female end is the end that you plug stuff into, whereas the MALE end is the end you would plug into an outlet. DON'T plug the extension cord in while you cut off the end!!!!! LOL!!! Once again, the FEMALE end of the cord!!!

First, here's where the extension cord starts


I ran it from the outlet to the chicken coop. I drilled a hole at the top of the coop to feed through to the inside.


This is the inside of the coop where the extension cord runs inside. I drilled holes through the rafters and fed the cut end through the holes until I got to the middle of the coop, which is where I wanted the light to be.


Feed the pigtail THROUGH the top of the light fixture box, bare wires first. There are little punch-out holes at the top of the box that you can run the pig tail through. The idea is for the light fixture to fit into the box from the bottom, or open end, and for the cord (pigtail) to come out the top of the box. Match the wires from the pigtail to the wires from the light by color (standard is black wire is POSITIVE, white wire is NEGATIVE), twist the wires together, and use wire nuts and electrical tape to hold the wires together. The wire nuts should come with the fixture. don't forget to ground the extension cord AND light fixture. All you gotta do is use the wire strippers, knife, or razor to peel some of the tubing off the green wire from the extension cord and twist the now-exposed wire together with the skinny bare wire from the light fixture (also a ground wire) and wrap them around the green screw on the light fixture's mounting bar. Tighten the screw to hold it in place. When it's all wired up attach the light fixture box to the rafter.


Here you can see the black cord from the light fixture coming out the top of the box, and the red and black extension cord coming through the hole in the rafter. I've used nails/fencing staples and zip-ties to hold the cords in place up against the rafter. NOTE: at this point the extension cord hasn't been wired to anything yet. Both the black cord and extension cord are in the same place, with the ex. cord coming through the hole in the rafter and the light fixture cord coming through the top of the box.

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Great job! When I had the guys finish my coop I had them wire mine for electric and lighting so I could see what I was doing. I then had them bury the cord so we could mow the grass without having to move or rolling up the cord all the time. I also hung a heat lamp out there for the babies. Now I have to buy a new fan for the coop this summer the other one I have in there didn't last 6 months.
Here's another shot of the cords, I've secured them both all the way down the rafter until are both where I want the outlet to be.


This is where you wire the ex. cord. Attach the outlet box where you want it to be. Just as there was on the fixture box, there will be punch-out holes on the side of the outlet box. After the outlet box is firmly attached pass the end of the extension cord through the punched out hole. Make sure you have enough slack in the cord to work! Now it's time to wire the outlet to the end of the cord. On either side of the outlet there are two screws. The screws on one side will either be marked positive or will be a GOLD/BRASSY color, and the screws on the other side will either be marked negative or will be a SILVER color. The gold color is positive!!! The silver is negative!!!! There will also be a green screw to use as a ground. Strip the ends of the ex. cord wires to expose bare wire. Divide the bare wires on the positive side in half (to form a 'v' shape), and wire one half to one screw on the positive side of the outlet, and the other half to the other screw on the positive side of the outlet. You should end up with the one POSITIVE wire from the ex. cord branching into two sections, one section wired to the first positive screw and the second section wired to the second positive screw. The positive ex. cord wire needs to be wired to BOTH positive screws on the outlet. Do the same for the negative side, so the end result is the two positive screws wired to the positive ex. cord wire, and the two negative outlet screws wired to the negative ex.cord wire. Strip the end of the ex.cord's ground wire and wire that to the green screw on the outlet. Tighten all the screws well!!!


Now snuggle the wired outlet into the box and attach it at the top and bottom. Also put your pretty outlet cover on (mine's not that pretty, but it does make it look neat and tidy)

Here you can see the yellow cord (this is the GFCI breaker I chose to use...this one is NOT $10, more like $30, but I needed one with more room) The GFCI is the only thing plugged into the outlet. The timer is the black box mounted next to the outlet. The pigtail from the light fixture is plugged into the timer, and the timer is plugged into the GFCI breaker. The other cord is my brooder light, which is plugger directly into the GFCI breaker. This is because I don't want my brooder light turning on at 6AM and turning off at noon


Here's a clearer shot of the cords. The end of the GFCI breaker that the timer and brooder is plugged into is sitting on the ledge above the timer.


Here's the end of the GFCI breaker....


Here's another shot, you can see the light fixture plugged into the timer, the time plugged into the GFCI on the right and the brooder light plugged into the GFCI on the left.

Here's how I rigged the brooder light. The cord is attached to the wall with a zip and nail to keep it out of the way, and the light hangs.


Here's a better shot of the brooder light. I drilled a hole in the rafter above where I wanted the light, and used a piece of twine to hang it.



I put the box in there so they would have something to trap the heat. For chicks I'd just position a rubbermaid tote under the light with something slightly covering the top so the big ones and drafts don't get in.


I think that's about it. I really wish my pics would have worked for the process of all this. It's really not complicated at all, I've never had any experience with electrical, I just played it by ear. A lot is common sense: the negative goes to the negative, the positive to the positive. And the positive and negative wires can't touch. Not hard. The only thing that took me a minute to figure out was why there were two positive screws and two negative screws on the outlet!!! One screw is for the top outlet to work and the other is for the bottom outlet to work, that's why you gotta branch the wires to attach to both screws. I figured it out, though, all by myself, and I was proud of me
I don't know if anyone will need/use this, but just in case here it is. Electricity, without a man!!! What will the neighbors think?!?!?!?!
Looks good!! The only suggestion I can make is to either wrap a bunch of electrical tape around the wires where the go into the outlet box or use a wire clamp for the box. You dont want the wire coating rubbing through and the bare wire touching the metal box.


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