In the previous article we built the first 1/2 – 1/3 of the chicken coop. Now its time to look at building the rest of the coop.
During the final stages of the coop construction, there are 3 things I want to focus on:
Exhaust fan for the coop – this is a “maybe”
Lets see if we can break this down:
1 solar panel for the hotwire
1 solar panel for the 12 volt battery for lights and exhaust fan
My orginal plans were to run the light, fan and hotwire off one solar unit and a single 12 volt battery. But since the hotwire system has a 6 volt battery,I am going to have to go with 2 solar units. 1 solar for the 6 volt battery and hot wire, 1 solar unit with 12 volt battery for lights and fan.
After I build the rest of the chicken coop and enclose the run, I am thinking about putting a solar power / battery powered hotwire around the edge of the run. Tractor supply has some hotwire systems for various lengths of wire and various sizes of livestock. From what I understand this is supposed to be all-in-one units with solar cell and voltage regulator.
The problem I am running into is the hotwire tractor supply carries is Zareba, and it looks like their systems are 6 volt, and not 12 volt.
A welding shop I used to work at used a 12 volt light system. We had some portable boxes that stepped the 110/120 wall voltage down to 12 volt dc. We then used 12 volt dc powered lights inside the pipes we were working in. Since the coop is going to have 12 volt battery power with a solar charger, I thought about adding a light system, and a low powered night light.
The area under the laying boxes is where I am thinking about putting the battery. From there I might run the wires in 3/4 inch PVC pipe.
I would also like something where I could plug a nightlight into so the coop will have a soft light at night. It would be nice not to leave the chickens in pitch black darkness for whenever a predator comes around. The nightlight would allow the chickens to move around the coop at night. Just in case some kind of predator tries to grab the chickens feet through the wire, I would like there to be enough light for the chickens to be able to move around the coop and get away from whatever is trying to grab it.
The light inside in the coop does not need to be very bright, just bright enough to stick my head in, look around, make sure everything is ok, maybe even bright enough to collect eggs. There will probably be two lights – a main light in the middle of the coop on the ceiling, and a nightlight.
12 volt RV lights should be easy to find. Its the 12 volt LED lights that I am a little concerned about. Since the lights are going to be running off a battery with a solar recharger, the lights need to be as low draw as possible.
And what about the power consumption between LED and a regular 12 volt light. For conserving power LED is probably the best route to go.
This is what I have come up with so far:
Instapark 15W Mono-crystalline Solar Panel With a 12V solar charge controller – amazon has these for about $64.
12 volt RV light. This has a built in on/off toggle switch. Amazon has these for about $12 for a double light, and about $7.50 for a single light.
I already have a good 12 volt battery.
The plain is to build a shelf under the laying boxes, then enclose part of the shelf with wood, and maybe some of the extra tin left over from the roof.
Mount the solar panel on the southern side of the chicken coop, run the charging cable to the battery.
The wires going from the battery to the light will be encased in something like 3/4 inch pvc pipe and secured to the 2x4s of the coop.
The light will be mounted to the inside of the coop so that I open a door, reach over and flip the switch.
Something else I am considering is installing a 12 volt fan on one of the vent windows. During the 100 degree summertime heat, I am thinking about having something to help pull the hot air out of the peak of the coop. The fan will run off the battery as well.
When construction of the coop started
The plans started off as a chicken tractor, but its turned into kind of a hybrid, chicken coop / chicken tractor.
My wife and I originally planned on getting 5 chickens, but we ended up with 13.
4 – rhode island reds
3 – black jersey giants
2 – barred rocks
2 – Australorps
Couple others I can not remember the name of
Since we ended up with more chickens then we had planned for, I decided to extend the coop over what was going to be the run.
If everything works out ok, we should end up with a coop that is about 11 feet deep and 6 feet wide, and over an enclosed run under the coop.
I would like to put wheels on the coop so it can be moved around.
How does this fit into my survival plans
With a width of a little over 6 feet, the chicken coop is narrow enough to fit on a trailer. If need be, I can load the coop on a trailer and haul it to the Bug Out Location.
If the power goes off, a solar cell will hopefully provide enough power for the lights.
Since the hotwire will be solar powered, hopefully predators will be kept away from the chickens.