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So what do you do when the power goes out?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mudman, Nov 16, 2008.

  1. mudman

    mudman In the Brooder

    Aug 17, 2008
    SE Michigan
    For those of you who have to heat your coop, what do you do when the power goes out? We live in an area where it isn't uncommon and our coop is powered by an adjacent property we own so even a generator would be a pain in the butt. I've got enough extention cords but it would be a pain to hook up.

    Are there any alternatives?

  2. jubylives

    jubylives Songster

    Mar 23, 2007
    Central Iowa
    I have a heat lamp not just to heat the coop but to keep the water from freezing and me when I am out there. It got below 20f in the coop but with the lamp near by the water didn't freeze. As often [​IMG] If it does then they will not experience a large temp drop and should be able to adjust. Anyway some will say then just don't heat it and some may say keep a room in the house open. [​IMG]

    I don't have power losses often. I've been here 13 years and minus an electrical fire once, we've only lost power 5 or 6 times. If you are worried about it then don't heat the coop.

    Last edited: Nov 16, 2008
  3. As long as your coop is draft free and you have a good number of birds in the same space to keep each other warm you should be o'kay. I'd worry most about those cute little coops that only hold 2 birds rather than the typical dozen or more in a shed style coop. If you live in an area with this problem always keep 5 gal jugs of water on hand in the house just in case. With a well and electric pump no water is bigger problem than no light.
  4. ChooksChick

    ChooksChick BeakHouse's Mad Chicken Scientist

    Aug 17, 2008
    Larry, KS
    My Coop
  5. You can also buy little solar lights for less than $30, they have a tiny panel that goes on the sunny side of your coop and is wired through a wall or window to the bulb panel.

    We used to haul hot water to the barn before we got a generator, and you could leave a 5 gal jug of hot water in the coop to assist in warming the air mass if the power goes out during a severe temperature drop. We've had that a few times, once for 4 days!

    Some folks have a wood stove with an attached hot water heater for such emergencies and I've seen people heat bricks on wood stoves to use as foot warmers, and they might have coop/barn applications. Whether you heat your coop water or not, it helps to have it elevated on conder blocks and a patio block, because the ambiant heat in the concrete holds for a long time.

    The big problem during a power outage is fresh water, so it's important to stock what you might need for up to 3 days. When we had more than 1 horse, we kept 200 gal on hand at all times, and used it up in the garden over the summer, replacing to keep potable.

    It's a real concern, I sleep better now that we have a generator. I used to fret about the animals every time the weather turned snarky.
  6. ROC4K

    ROC4K Songster

    Oct 21, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    run the coop off a car battery with a converter. I do believe they can solar recharge batteries much cheaper these days...but the pain of extension cords may be cheaper.
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:Frankly that sounds to me like a really good argument for NOT planning to heat your coop. Honest. There are a whole bunch of things you can do to keep the coop as warm as possible without relying on electricity. Invest in them and you'll be in good shape. And that's not to say you can't still put a lightbulb by the roost on exceptionally cold nights, when electricity is working.

    You're not going to be able to heat a coop off any kind of solar panels you can afford, nor off car batteries etc.

    Good luck, have fun,


  8. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    I do not heat my chicken coops. It weakens the chickens making them unable to adapt to changing climates and conditions.

    Think about it this way - 150 years ago - think chickens lived in heated coops?
  9. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:I don't heat either. My birds have been getting used to outside temps. and weather conditions since they were five weeks old and we took their heat lamp away for good.
    In the winter time our electricity is almost guaranteed to go off at least once a week. Since my chickens aren't used to having heat, they won't even notice when the power goes out.
  10. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    Keeping a heated coop warm for up to a few hours in a power outage can be achieved with rocks or blocks. You can ether put boulders in any spare space you have in the coop or build a block wall in side the coop. Then paint the boulders or blocks black. Blocks an rock take forever to transfer heat. And even longer if there black. A large rock put in a small room may take days to heat up to "room temp" but will take the same amount of time to cool back down in a power outage. Instant rechargeable heat source. Thats why dogs sleep on the road in the winter. It stays warm all night.

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