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how often should you clean a chicken coop

Does Your Chicken Coop Need Electricity? (Solutions & alternatives)

The fact that almost everything in our homes is powered by electricity makes it necessary for our households, but is this also true for chicken coops? Many chicken owners question whether they should provide electricity while constructing a chicken coop.

Overall, all chicken coops require electricity. In a chicken coop, electricity is primarily needed for heating purposes, but it is also necessary to power fans, lights, automatic doors and feeders, and many other things depending on your preferences and location.

When building a chicken coop, the decision to add electricity is crucial because it would be a difficult operation to provide electricity later when construction is completed. Read on for more information on why electricity is necessary for chicken coops and how you can power the coop.

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7 Things You Can Add To Your Chicken Coop If There Is Electricity

A chicken coop can be equipped with various things that require electricity to operate, but it all depends on your choices and where you live. However, the following is a list of some of the important things that can be added to the chicken coop if you have electricity:

1.    Heaters for the coop

If you live in a region that receives snowfall throughout the winter or where temperatures remain near or below freezing. In that case, it is advised that you install electric heaters in your chicken coop.

Although chickens can withstand these temperatures without heaters, adding electric heaters will make life easy for them. Since chickens don’t have plumage on their feet, having a heated coop will keep their feet warm.

They will also be considerably more active, eat and drink reasonably well, and hens will give good egg production.

That kind of equipment for example (Amazon), requires having electricity available nearby.

2.    Water heating system

If you don’t want to leave your warm, comfy bed during the bitter cold and go to your chicken coop every few hours to replace or heat the water, so it doesn’t freeze over, having electricity can help.

Electric water heaters are available on the market specially designed for chicken coops, which will do the job for you (here is an example on Amazon). Even when it is below zero, these heaters will keep the water warm and will stop it from freezing over.

If you are supplying water to your chicken coop from an outdoor water tank, the electricity can also be utilized to power a water pump that will keep the water flowing, so it doesn’t freeze.
If, like me, you live in the mountains, it will be a good investment for the winter months :-).

insulate chicken coop for winter

3.    Fans and cooling pads

Electricity is not only helpful during the winter, but it can also be equally beneficial during the summer months.  Chickens can experience heat stress if summer temperatures rise beyond 85 degrees Fahrenheit or 30 degrees Celsius, which may also have a negative impact on their health and production.

Having electricity in the chicken coop allows you to install fans, which will enhance ventilation and assist in lowering the temperature. However, you can also place cooling pads in the chicken coop if the temperature is too high, over 100 degrees Fahrenheit or 37 degrees Celsius.

An electric water pump will be used to circulate water over these cooling pads, and as the air entering the coop passes through these pads, it will be cooled significantly, hence lowering the temperature.

I have suggested a few solutions for this in this other article you should check: 11 Essentials You Need To Install In Your Chicken Coop.

4.    Automatic feeders

Electricity can be used to power automatic feeders or feed dispensers, which is very useful if you have a large number of chickens in a coop. If you have a hectic schedule or don’t have enough time to feed chickens, this can be useful for you.

Most of the time, automatic feeders are utilized in large setups with hundreds of chickens. A motor will rotate and dispense the feed during your selected period of time. A benefit of automatic feeders is that all the chickens can be fed approximately equivalent amounts of feed.

Here is a good example on Amazon, with a feeder and waterer that can free you some time by not having to worry about that.

5.    Lights

There are typically two lights in a chicken coop: one is for you or the owner since you need light when you enter the coop to see around, especially if there isn’t a window or if it’s dark outside and using a headlamp or your mobile flashlight is inconvenient. The light that is installed to allow people to see around the chicken coop can be any type either yellow or white.

The other light installed in a chicken coop is for hens. You must provide your chickens with an artificial light source if you live in a place with limited daylight in order to stimulate their pineal gland to realize certain hormones that will enable them to lay more eggs. A light installed for hens should be a soft yellow light.

6.    Electric fence

With the help of electricity, you can put an electric fence around your chicken coop.  The electric fence will technically give you two advantages, the first of which is that it will prevent the chickens from escaping the coop, so you won’t have to worry about them wandering off into the neighbor’s yard or getting lost. 

The second benefit of using an electric fence is that it effectively deters predators like coyotes, foxes, and other animals, protecting your chickens and their eggs.

7.    Automatic doors

This is a relatively new and modern concept, but it is gaining popularity among poultry owners. If you wake up late and don’t want to get up early just to open the door of your chicken coop to let the chickens out or if you are at work and can’t open the door of the coop in time, automatic coop doors are quite beneficial for you.

The majority of these automatic doors are fully electric and can be powered by a solar panel. Some of these doors can be set to a predetermined time so that they open and close automatically at the specified times.

Here is an example on Amazon if you want to see what I’m talking about. There is even a light sensor and a smartphone app.

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How To Power A Chicken Coop?

There are several ways to power a chicken coop, and we’ll go over each one in turn while figuring out which is the most practical and manageable. Some of these methods call for you to employ a qualified electrician because they may be challenging for you to do without the necessary training and expertise.

●      A wire from the house

Now, there are two ways to accomplish this: one is a professional method, and the other is a straightforward option for anyone who cannot afford to hire an electrician or has no prior experience installing electrical components.

1.     Simple way

The simple method involves installing a power strip in the chicken coop with an extension cord. If the extension cord that comes with the power strip is short, you may need to extend it depending on how far the chicken coop is from the nearest electrical outlet. Secure the power strip in the coop, away from the reach of the chickens and weather elements like rain. Simply plug its one end into an electrical outlet in your home or one that is nearby.

Any device in the chicken coop that requires electricity, such as a light bulb or a water heater, can then be hooked into the powerstrip to turn on. One benefit of this method is that you can stop the electric current from flowing to the entire chicken coop by just unplugging the end of the power strip from the outlet. Remember to keep the extension cable away from the chickens and the weather elements.

Do inspect the extension cord every few weeks to ensure the insulating layer is not broken and no live wires are exposed. Put electrical tape over any exposed or damaged insulation, but always use extreme caution and remove the extension cord from the outlet before doing so.

2.     Professional way

You must plan everything properly and put the right circuit boards in the chicken coop if you want to do the task professionally. A number of electrical components, such as fuses and others, must be installed.

If you don’t know what you’re doing, I highly advise contacting a skilled electrician because electricity can be hazardous and any mistake could endanger you or your chickens.

●      Solar panels

Using solar energy can be a cost-effective and environmentally friendly solution to power your chicken coop. It is a one-time investment that will power your chicken coop for years to come, and you won’t have to worry about hefty electricity bills.

However, you should first confirm that solar panels are effective in your region. For instance, if you live somewhere where it snows, your solar panels won’t function well in the winter and you’ll have to keep shoveling snow off of them.

If you are unfamiliar with electrical components, you will need assistance from a professional to install solar panels. I recommend you install an electrical connection along with solar panels so you may switch to electricity when the solar panels aren’t functioning effectively, such as on rainy or snowy days.

●      Other options

There aren’t many ways to power a chicken coop besides electricity from the grid or solar power. Only a few possibilities include using electricity from electric batteries or wind turbines. These, however, are not practical because batteries must be recharged repeatedly from electrical current and have a limited lifespan. Wind turbines can be costly and may not function if there is insufficient wind.

How To Raise Chickens Without Electricity?

Though it would take a little more effort from the chicken owners, it is possible to raise chickens without electricity due to their excellent adaptability. Because there is no automation when there is no electricity, you have to get up early to open the coop door and let the chickens out so they can go foraging for food. You also have to feed them at the appropriate times.

The chicks should hatch under the hen since she will keep them warm in the winter. Methods used to heat the coop without electricity include a wood fire or hot coals.

People will either create a wood fire in a steel drum or container or put hot coals in it, then place it in the chicken coop away from the birds, and the heat from it will significantly warm up the coop. To keep the water from freezing over, either keep changing it or heat up the coop. Some people will let the chickens peck on snow, however, this is not recommended.

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