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  1. eggsetters

    eggsetters New Egg

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    Apr 17, 2007
    NW montana
    I am in the process of building my first chicken coop and have referred to this site many times. Everyone does a great job with this website and I am proud to be a part.
    I have several hundred feet from my closest power supply to my coop. So trying to avoid running underground power, my question is, Has anyone tried to run a heat lamp or other heat source off of a 12volt battery pack and a solar panel to warm their coop in the winter?
    I use similiar setups for operating game feeders and game cameras, however have not found a heat source or light that clips onto a standard battery and have no idea what kind of draw that might have to determine if a small solar panel could keep up with demand. I certainly am not a solar expert and would appreciate any thoughts or experiences from others on this subject.
    Thanks so much for your thoughts and time on this,
    eggsetters
     
  2. suburbanhomesteader

    suburbanhomesteader Chillin' With My Peeps

    If you have enough sunlight for solar and all you need the power for is to warm the house, you could try a couple of passive solar ideas.

    1) Windows or twin- or triple-walled greenhouse plastic on the south side

    2) A trombe wall or other collection point. I used 1 gallon milk jugs, painted black, to act as solar absorbers. The smaller absorbers will heat up faster than a large volume of water (once I used black 55 gallon drums which worked great if we had sun every other day. However, in Indiana, it wasn't uncommon to have a several day stretch of cloudy weather.

    3) Another passive collection technique is called a "heat grabber" by Mother Earth News. I built a couple of these for my house this winter, and they made a HUGE difference:

    http://www.motherearthnews.com/DIY/1982-11-01/Solar-Rise-Your-Apartment-With-Heat-Grabber.aspx
    http://www.motherearthnews.com/Green-Home-Building/1977-09-01/Mothers-Heat-Grabber.aspx

    Also, remember that the chickens will generate their own heat, so if the sheltered area is tight enough and insulated enough, they will help themselves. I read that one chicken generates 1 BTU!

    A very interesting book about keeping chickens in a greenhouse-like environment is Solviva

    Hope this helps!
     
  3. eggsetters

    eggsetters New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Apr 17, 2007
    NW montana
    Thanks for the insight. Those are some great ideas and I will further investigate them. I live in one of the warmer microclimates of Montana but my chickens will still be exposed to sub-zero temps. We dont have sun here everyday, however, on the camera and game feeders which are 6volt systems If I start them with a full charge and hook them up, the solar panel will hold the charge for many months. It will not chrage them from dead though.
    Thanks again for the info.
     
  4. Smoky73

    Smoky73 Lyon Master

    Feb 8, 2007
    Colorado
    I bought a game camera to track predator movement around the coop. I got the camera, and the battery and the solar charger and couldnt figure out why it wasnt working. Thats when I too found out the battery doesnt come charged and the solar panel doesnt charge it LOL. They REALLY need to tell you those things!!! I had to go back and buy a in house charge to charge it before I could use it!
     
  5. eggsetters

    eggsetters New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Apr 17, 2007
    NW montana
    ahhh. Another lesson learned the hard way. Seems to be the story of my life!
    Those game cameras can be alot of fun. And as we know now, so easy to maintain once their up and running. That's why I was hoping I could transfer some of that technology to heat/light my coop. For those 6volt systems they are quite cheap to get the parts and for the most part maintenance free. But you might have to have a really beefed up system to sustain a light or heat source and continue charging a 12volt system.
    appreciate the comments, I'm still a new guy to this forum.
     

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