Who uses solar lights in their coops?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by atomic_chicken, Sep 26, 2011.

  1. atomic_chicken

    atomic_chicken Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 21, 2011
    B.C. Canada
    Hey everyone I have now run power to my coop and have put a 15 watt light inside and a 60 watt out in the run. I was wondering.... if i wanted to extend my days to 14 hours in winter
    if I should put a couple solar lights in the run so the birds could make their way inside and then turn the lights off inside the coop. Anybody have any experience with keeping lights on after the sun goes down?

    Right now I just start their day at 5:30am and let them go to bed when the sun goes down. I live in BC Canada and our days will get as short as 8 hours.
     
  2. bantyshanty

    bantyshanty Oval Office Courier

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    Oct 6, 2009
    S.W Pennsylvania
    You should definitely extend their day if you want them to lay through part or all of the winter. I'm not sure solar lights in the run in BC will give them enough brightness to mimic day, and they'd me down low, I assume, unlike the sun, but it will allow them to be active a few more hours. Do you get enough light in your run to do this, or do you have a panel that extends from the lights to somewhere brighter?
    I used LED holiday string lights for the first month of <12 hour days, inside the coop, mounted from the ridge beam, and they did mimic daylight enough to keep the birds laying, but they got so dusty I thought I'd go nutty.
    I would personally lock the chickens up after dark and light only the interior of the coop. Lights inside the run will still draw predators to watch them, although they can't see the predators, and it may lead to an incident, I'd think.
     
    Last edited: Sep 26, 2011
  3. TDM

    TDM Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quote:Yes, I use solar power for my mobile hen houses that are out on pasture. I have five 15 watt amorphous panels charging a heavy duty marine battery. From there, the battery powers a 12 volt DC fence charger. Also connected to the battery is a 12 volt DC timer connected to an 800 watt modified sine wave power inverter. This inverter supplies power to 120 volt AC 10 watt (40 watt equivalent) CFLs inside the mobile hen houses. I have a 3000 watt backup generator out in the field in case I need to charge up the marine battery.

    [​IMG]
     
  4. Ogress

    Ogress Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 24, 2010
    North Bend, WA
    My Coop
    Hi neighbor!

    Last winter was quite cold and very snowy here (I'm in the mtns). I had my chickens in an unheated Eglu cube with no light and no windows. I'd close the door between the coop and run when they go in to roost at night and open it just after the kids got on the school-bus. All my chickens laid nearly an egg a day, even on the shortest days, and even on the coldest (a few were single digit). I was amazed because I heard that a RIR would lay an egg for every 14 hours of daylight, and my other birds would need more. They all laid on far less than 14 hours of light! I averaged 6 eggs per week from each bird through the winter! It dropped in the spring because half my birds went broody.

    The food and water are kept in the run on an Eglu. In February, I got tired of slogging through the snow - each time it snowed, I'd have to shovel the run access door and kneel in the snow to hang the feeders, and the water froze multiple times per day even with a bird-bath de-icer, and keeping the tarps on in the high winds we often get was a pain. I hung a heat-lamp in the run during the day to attempt to keep the water from freezing. Finally I had a friend build me a big walk-in coop with a large covered run. In the coop I have a solar light that I purchased from Farmtek (for my convenience, not the chickens). I LOVE it. The light is amazingly bright and will stay on for about 2 hours if I leave it on. I also bought motion-detector solar lights to light my path to the coop. Those were a waste of $. They turn on in the daytime when I don't want them on, and seldom work at night. One of the 2 lights on it has never turned on.
     

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