power for outbuildings

Discussion in 'Other Pets & Livestock' started by Akane, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    My chickens got wiped out again and I'm tired of dealing with it. Living next to a wildlife preserve means one predator after another and it's only getting worse every year despite traps and having people out to shoot them. I'm selling the remainder of my flock as soon as I see if these last 5 eggs are going to hatch or not and I'm converting the 2 buildings in to a rabbitry. Running electricity all the way to these buildings was quoted at $500 and I'm also tired of running 300-400' of extension cord. I posted on the self sufficient forum about wind power but I'm not sure yet if that will be feasible. I looked up small gas generators and found several under $200 but I hardly know anymore about that than I do about wind or solar power. All I need to run is a few light bulbs and heated water bowls or bottles because I can't make enough trips out there to change the water. I guess also potentially a fan in summer. Does the generator have to run constantly or do they have ways to have them shut off and restart? What would the ongoing costs be like to run one 24/7 6months out of the year and occasionally on really hot days in the summer?
     
  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    Does the generator have to run constantly or do they have ways to have them shut off and restart?

    Spend the $500 and run the wires to the building and have power all the time, or spend $200 on generator, $300 on gas, and have power only when the generator is running

    You wont find a generator that will restart itself unless you spend thousands on it​
     
  3. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    I'm renting so I would be spending $500 that may only be useful for a year or 2. Then we move and have to spend money all over again to wire a new place. In the end $500 on a generator for one year that we can then take with us for other uses or sell would actually be a better long term investment.
     
  4. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    A generator is NOT going to be the way to go. (At most, you might invest in a sufficient-sized bank of deep cycle batteries and run the generator for a couple hours every day or three to charge them... but that is still unlikely to be your best solution IMHO, and at $100ish apiece the appropriate batteries are not cheap, plus you need a charge regulator. And if it's near the house, it may well be simpler and cheaper to use a plug-in charger to charge up the batteries). If nothing else, small-output generators (and it would be SILLY to fork out for a big one) do not generally have long run times, so without dangerous modifications to the fuel feed system you would have to be there to refill the thing every several hours ALL the time. And there are many many many other disadvantages to the generator approach, too.

    If you do the trenching and conduit-laying yourself, you may be able to run the electric out there for cheaper than the estimate. It depends on whether there is a good existing circuit to tap into or not.

    If actual properly-laid electric is still not feasible, then if you have been OK with the concept of long extension cords, what if you were to run a proper wire out there, but plugged in like an extension cord? It could be along a fenceline and/or in conduit, or even (if you are comfortable with it, and remove it before you move out!) buried very shallowly. I would not do it myself but if you have been ok with the extension cord thing then this *would* be a step up from it, and not especially expensive.

    If you don't want to do any of that, then I would suggest designing your setup so as to require as little electricity as possible (insulation in walls/ceilings, deep bedding, insulated wintertime waterers that you refill as needed to keep from being frozen too much of the day, passive capture of solar heat, etc). Then if you have any further truly-essential electric needs, see if you can't work out a way to fulfill them using deep-cycle batteries charged in the house.

    Not to be a wet blanket though, but if you can't keep predators out of your chickens, how are rabbits going to be safer? Unless you are more comfortable keeping them 100% indoors with little fresh air than you are with chickens, I suppose, and have seriously predatorproof buildings.

    Best of luck,

    Pat
     
  5. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    By the end of that year the generator will be worn out.
    They aren't designed to run all the time.

    If you're going to be moving in a year, just do without electricity.
    Get some propane lanterns
     
  6. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    They will die of dehydration without some way to heat the water even in subzero temps so it's not a case of do without. It's do something or don't have animals this winter. [​IMG] Even with insulation heating the building high enough the water won't freeze when it's subzero temps out is not possible. The heat has to go to the water.

    Nothing has killed chickens in the buildings. All the buildings have solid wood floors (oak boards not plywood) and double thick sides of either 2 wood layers or wood and siding. The only deaths were outside or with the doors open and no screen door in place. The screen doors are heavy duty fence wire on 2x2' frames, not typical screens. Rabbits don't go outside the buildings so it's not an issue.
     
  7. huntercf

    huntercf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Based on the cost of conduit (pvc) and electric wire you could probably run wire back there for about $200 or less and you could even ask the landlord about running power back there and he/she may be willing to split the cost with you.
     
  8. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:Sorry but this is not true (at least, not as a general proposition -- although depending on your life circumstances it is possible you *might* genuinely need a heated waterer)

    Water does not freeze instantly. Warm water in an insulated-except-for-the-drinking-hole container really takes a pretty LONG time to freeze. Plenty, plenty, plenty of people have chickens in cold-winter areas without electricity to the coop -- all's it means is that you have to replace the water one or several times per day (depending on how fast it is freezing up). They do not need water overnight, so it is fine to just bring fresh liquid water out with you first thing in the morning; whether that lasts til just about bedtime or whether it has to be replaced once or twice during the day depends entirely on your coop's indoor temperatures, your waterer volume, and how well it is insulated.

    Now, if you are gone all day at work *and* have a wicked-cold coop, it is possible that your morning's water might freeze too soon, leaving them waterless for too long, meaning that you WOULD need a heating device. HOWEVER even if you had to run an electrically-heated waterer, you would really only need it turned on from whatever time during the day your new-that-morning-in-an-insulated-waterer water started to ice over, and bedtime. That's probably not more than 6 hrs at MOST if you do not use supplemental lighting; could be as long as 10 hrs I suppose if you use supplemental lighting and have a wicked-cold coop. (Although using passive solar heat capture, e.g. popcan or greenhouse-style heaters in association with the natural thermal mass of your buildings, would likely significantly extend that period, especially if you could arrange the water to sit near the warm-air outflow). Running some form of waterer- or waterer-base heater for 6-10 hrs a day is not a huge drain on a battery, you could invest in 1 or 2 deep-cycle batteries and a charger and just recharge them in the house as needed off of wall current.

    Pat
     
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2010
  9. Akane

    Akane Overrun With Chickens

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    I know somewhere I already said I can't replace the water multiple times a day. Get up, go to class, get home well after dark (10pm on some days), feed/water everything, sleep, and repeat. During the coldest parts of winter most water containers will freeze within hours. If I spill a bucket of water it freezes before it hits the ground. I've done it in my horse stable plenty of times and watched the little droplets of ice go skittering all across the floor.
     
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    That's probably not more than 6 hrs at MOST if you do not use supplemental lighting; could be as long as 10 hrs I suppose if you use supplemental lighting and have a wicked-cold coop. (Although using passive solar heat capture, e.g. popcan or greenhouse-style heaters in association with the natural thermal mass of your buildings, would likely significantly extend that period, especially if you could arrange the water to sit near the warm-air outflow). Running some form of waterer- or waterer-base heater for 6-10 hrs a day is not a huge drain on a battery, you could invest in 1 or 2 deep-cycle batteries and a charger and just recharge them in the house as needed off of wall current.

    Pat​
     

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