solar energy to light a coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by jen2wan, Aug 18, 2010.

  1. jen2wan

    jen2wan New Egg

    Aug 18, 2010
    northwest ohio
    Ok I'm a fairly new chicken owner and thinking ahead to winter. The winters in Ohio can be downright cold:( and I was wondering if I could rig up a small solar panel to power a heat lamp inside the coop. I figured it should be possible considering they can use solar power to power an electric fence. So does anyone have any advice or an idea where I can look. I have looked at a few websites but mostly the solar lights there are just some type of CFL which would not warm up the coop in the slightest.
    Thanks in advance.[​IMG]
  2. chickenboy21

    chickenboy21 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 8, 2010
    i was thinking of doing the same thing let me know how it works out [​IMG]
  3. hudsonhousechicks

    hudsonhousechicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 2, 2010
    ooooooo - that's a really good idea. You just need a little solar panel. They have solar panels for fountains, there must be solar panels for lights. Good luck!
  4. Gallo del Cielo

    Gallo del Cielo La Gallina Resort & Spa

    May 6, 2010
    My Coop
    I don't know a whole lot about solar, but I use it for camping (I have a small 40 watt panel) and I've been thinking of using the panel to power a fan in the coop. You just need a decent sized solar panel (size dependent on power needed), charger controller (keeps the battery from overcharging), deep cell battery and either lights that run off DC or an inverter (got one at Walmart for the camper for $20). The biggest expense would be the solar panel, but I'm shocked to see how much they've dropped in price over the past five years. I see there are also all sorts of pre-fab solar lights on the market. Hopefully some chicken raisin' solar experts will chime in and educate us.
  5. Alpha Chick

    Alpha Chick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 11, 2010
    St Pete, FL
    Quote:I lived in Painesville OH for years. We had a smallish coop and 25 chickens. The coop was about 6' tall, man door (no chicken door) and a few windows. We used corn cob for bedding. Our coop was not insulated at all. We were told to not clean the coop out until after the winter. We only cleaned in the spring and through the winter the cob and poo kept working and heated the coop. Not saying that you shouldn't worry about the cold, but you may want to remember not to be to clean! I never had a heat lamp (after they were out of the brooder and no light, heat or insulation, not even a heater for their water and it never froze. Size of coop, amount of chickens and breakdown of bedding all were enough to keep our girls warm and happy.
  6. jeb251

    jeb251 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 24, 2009
    Fort Wayne
    Jen, we are neighbors, don't worry about heating your coop it will do more harm than good chickens are very hardy unless you have breeds are are not cold hardy you shouldn't have a problem just make sure you have good ventilation, this keeps moister out of the coop and moister is actually the problem causer, causing things like frostbite. if you still feel a need to heat you coop, you should look at a solar collector and a thermo mass such as bricks, concrete, water or stone. I order to run a heat producing light with solar panels you will need a fairly large battery bank and a large solar array.
  7. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    rig up a small solar panel to power a heat lamp inside the coop

    By the time you spent enough on panels and batteries to generate any appreciable heat, you could run wiring to the coop from your house and come out ahead.​
  8. mordarlar

    mordarlar Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 17, 2010
    Hello jen2wan. [​IMG]

    We recently moved from the Mentor area. We too are new to chickens so i don't really have any experience to share but i did want to share what our plans are for the winter. We moved to an area with a similar climate in winter so we are planning to build a solar heat collector using old soda cans.

    There are some basic plans here.

    We've had friends collecting cans for us and we are currently cleaning and cutting the tops off. We want to have it done with enough time to test and alter it before the cold weather settles in.
  9. elmo

    elmo Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 23, 2009
    It's a common perception (mistaken, I believe) that chickens can't handle cold weather, when in fact it's actually summer heat they have more difficulty with. They come with down coats, after all!

    As others have said, unless you have small bantams of a cold intolerant breed, standard chickens will do fine in even extreme cold as long as they have a dry, draft free place to roost that is well ventilated. If you haven't seen this excellent reference, take a look:

    And while you're at it, if you haven't read PatandChickens' ventilation page yet, check that out too (see the link at the top of her winter coop page). Your coop may need additional ventilation much more than solar heat.
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2010
  10. jen2wan

    jen2wan New Egg

    Aug 18, 2010
    northwest ohio
    Thanks to everyone for all the great advice. I guess I'm just used to babying our animals. Should I worry about water freezing or just see what happens. We do have two rather large single pane windows in there and we plan on putting blueboard up to insulate for the drafts. There are two holes on each end of the roof so fresh air should still be able to get in. You think that is ok?[​IMG]

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by