Running Electricity to the coop question?????

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Alabama Jack, Dec 1, 2014.

  1. Alabama Jack

    Alabama Jack Songster

    Oct 26, 2014
    Huntsville, Alabama
    I have a detached garage with a breaker box. I plan to pull off of one of the 20 amp breakers to run a line to the chicken coop. I have to run underground for around 25 yards. What kind of wire and conduit should I use? Do I need a breaker box in the coop (lights and water heater)? How deep does it need to be in the ground (planning to rent a ditch witch, so depth isn't an issue)?

    Thanks for any advice, in advance!


    CHICKLOVER69 Chirping

    Jul 13, 2014
    Sulphur, Louisiana
    Check with your local hardware folks. They can tell you what you need and may know about the electrical codes in your area
  3. bdjh

    bdjh Chirping

    Aug 7, 2013
    Check with your local authority on what the code is for all of the questions you asked. They'll usually have all that stuff available online.

    When I did mine, it was easier than I thought. Rather than buy the super-expensive underground cable, I ran some wet-rated cable through flexible black hose (ABS or PVC? ....the black stuff you'd normally use for water lines around the farm), which satisfied the code fine at a fraction of the cost.

    My service was 15 amp, so I did not need a box at the coop, I just brought it up out of the ground in some grey PVC conduit, and through a hole drilled in the coop wall. From there into a basic junction box, and split off to a simple light switch to power my thermostat and heaters, and a non-switched socket to my heated waterer.

    Inside the coop, I used nothing but the metal-shielded cable to make sure nobody pecked their way to an electrifying death.

    Next year, my wife wants Christmas lights on the coop, so I may have to split off another line on the outside of the coop. Yeesh.
  4. Alabama Jack

    Alabama Jack Songster

    Oct 26, 2014
    Huntsville, Alabama
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    This is a good idea because of rodents chewing up wire insulation.
  6. jonalisa

    jonalisa Codswallop!

    May 28, 2013
    My Coop
    Hey Jack,
    We ran electricity out to our coop which was 100ft and slightly downhill from our house.
    If you have a subpanel in your garage, and you are coming off a 20 amp breaker, that will isolate everything in the coop. You don't need another breaker box. You can run up to 12 lights or plugs. (We used it for lights and a couple of homemade water heaters made from cookie tins/lightbulbs.)
    Use 12/2 underground wire. We used PVC conduit.
    Depending on your town/state the depth of the wire varies. Ours had to be 18".


    Note: At Home Depot and Lowes the underground wire is called outdoor wire.
    Last edited: Dec 2, 2014
  7. Alabama Jack

    Alabama Jack Songster

    Oct 26, 2014
    Huntsville, Alabama
    Thanks all!
  8. RonP

    RonP Crowing

    As no one mentioned it, I want to add, be sure to start with a GFCI breaker from the house.
    1 person likes this.
  9. The Lazy L

    The Lazy L Songster

    Dec 16, 2011
    Last edited: Dec 3, 2014
  10. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Free Ranging

    Feb 2, 2009
    Southeast Louisiana
    I suggest you do put a breaker box on the coop end and run separate lines for lights and electric outlets from that. An electric outlet comes in real handy to plug tools in when working down there. Not every electric tool I use down there is cordless. I run my electric netting on one specific circuit down there.

    I discovered years ago that if you have a fluorescent light in the same circuit that you plug in a skill saw that light can go dim when you start cutting. That made me a believer of keeping different things on different circuits although I don’t use fluorescent lights down there. And use outdoor rates outlets whether in the coop or outside. That helps keep the dust out when not in use.

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