Electrifying the coop

The last chicken coop project we had to complete before the snow came was hooking it up to electricity. This was a "must", not only to enjoy the conveniences of lights and plugs, but also to hook up an electric water heater for winter, as we can get -40 temperatures. Working full time doesn't allow me to change their water multiple times a day, and we know that to have more animals in future we need electricity in our future barn anyways.

When we built the coop we preemptively wired it for electricity (put plugs and light switches in and ran the wiring throughout), so that all we had to do was run the wire from the house and hook it up.

You can see wiring throughout the roof, a light switch at the door, and a plug to the left and on the roof (for my waterer), and a light bulb at top. There is another light bulb, and plug at the other end.

You can see wiring throughout the roof, a light switch at the door, and a plug to the left and on the roof (for my waterer), and a light bulb at top. There is another light bulb, and plug at the other end.

In order to wire everything together, we needed to run 10 gauge underground electrical cable 2-3 feet underground from the house to the barn first. The barn had an electrical panel to connect to. Then, the wire would connect from the barn to the coop by wrapping it around a cable from one roof to the other. This meant we had to run about 200' of cable. Fortunately, we got our cable from our electrician friend at whole cost, which worked out to almost $200 in savings.

Since it was such a long stretch to go, we rented a machine to do the digging for us.

This big boy essentially has a 3' chainsaw on the end that you slowly work down into the ground. While hubby worked that through, I laid the wire in, filled with some dirt, laid the warning tape in, then filled the rest in. That was our Friday night!

Getting started! You can see how sandy our soil is here.

Getting started! You can see how sandy our soil is here.

We didn't know what to expect doing this, but we got the ground dug up in just over an hour, and hubby helped me fill in the rest of the dirt. We were able to take the rental machine back early and got 30% off the rental cost. It worked out awesome!

Hubby hooked everything up to the house safely, and we have full power out there. Any power tools can be used out there now, and I have full lights in my coop for cleaning in the dark morning hours. We also have lights in our barn too.

As for my chicken water heater, I got a 25 watt aquarium heater that I place in their water bucket and plug in at the top of their coop. It's wonderful! They always have access to drinkable water.

The bucket system stays thawed with the aquarium heater, but when it’s extremely cold out (-40 temps as mentioned above), the metal water nipples freeze on the outside. So, I use a heated traditional waterer during those times. I’ll have a post all about winter and my practices next.

With that done, the coop is officially complete. We may do alterations or additions in the future, but for now it has everything to suit our needs and more importantly the needs of my chickens.