Chickens Try Off Grid Living And Enjoy Year-Round Christmas

Chickens Go Off Grid And Enjoy Year-Round ChristmasWith energy prices soaring and environmental awareness improving, many are turning to renewable energy as the solution – even chickens are trying off grid living.

To fool the chickens into thinking it’s daytime and ensure they lay eggs all year round, farmers usually install lights in their chicken coops. The only problem comes in is when a coop is far from the power outlet, and long extension cords have to be used.

This happened at the World Hunger Relief Farm where they had two mobile coops. The coops were used as mobile fertilizers and situated far from any power source.  Initially the folks over at the farm connected long extension cords to power the coop lights, but they suddenly had the urge to make the coops completely mobile and get their chickens off the grid.

They had heard a lot about solar power and how a few small panels could be used to power small appliances.  So they decided to give it a try. And with the help of engineers they installed two small solar panels, charge controllers (batteries), and a small 100 watt inverter.  And to save power they replaced the light bulb with high-tech LED christmas lights that use less than five watts of power.

Anna, one of the students, said, “We mounted the solar panels on the side of the coop and put all the electric components in a five gallon bucket to protect them from the elements. We finished up and left at around 3PM for lunch. When we returned later in the evening it was one of the most hilarious sights ever.”

Apparently all the chickens were huddled around the white christmas lights, clucking in delight, all thinking about laying more eggs. Thanks to the confluence of old and new technologies – animal domestication and modern electronics – the chickens were living off the grid and could enjoy a year-round Christmas.

So, if chickens can do it, then so can you.  And with affordable diy energy solutions, there is no reason anyone cannot enjoy off grid living.

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Originally posted 2008-11-16 09:07:49.


  1. Posted January 20, 2009 at 3:08 am | Permalink

    Nice idea, but since I know a chicken farmer who actually uses chickens for egg production, this article leaves out some critical information.

    For example. There is no cost vs. benefit analysis to show that going off the grid was anything more than just a convenience. If you had showed teh cost of operating the chicken coups the traditional way (including time and labor to relocate the cords daily or weekly, plus estimated electric bill, traditional bulb replacement etc along with average egg production) and then provided information on the cost of time and materials for the change over along with estimated operating expenses such as annual estimated repair cost or light string replacement and couple that with data on the increase if any of egg production from happy “Christmas 365” chickens. Then you would have not only had an interesting and entertaining read, but you would have provided an ACTIONABLE article and service to anyone in the chicken or chicken egg industry.

    Never the less, it was still entertaining.

  2. Posted January 20, 2009 at 3:57 pm | Permalink

    Thanks for the comment Ron,

    We never intended to make this article sound like a case study.
    And like you pointed out, it was written as an entertaining read, and show our readers one of the “different” ways solar power is used.

    While we are not sure whether the Christmas lights affected egg production, we do know is that they tricked the chickens into thinking it was daylight – like a normal light bulb would. Except…they give off little heat, so they could not replace a traditional light bulb if you want to use it as some sort of incubator.

    Secondly, by using solar power, there is definitely a reduction in the power bill, since the coops are no longer “plugged in”. If you think a 60 watt light bulb uses about 60 watts of power per hour and it burns all night long, one chicken coop could save 60watts x 8hrs x 30days = 14.4 kWh per month.

    Thirdly, the latest LED lights are made from a micro-chip that gives off no heat, so they last 5 to 10 times longer than compact fluorescent light (CFL) bulbs. Not to mention CFL’s last about 6 times longer than traditional (incandescent) light bulbs.
    – You can read our article: The Benefits of Home Power Solar LED Lights for more info on solar LED’s.

    Hope that answers your question.
    And thanks again for the great comment 🙂

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