Friday, June 5, 2009

Solar or Not To Solar...

I love the sun and so do chickens... purportedly chickens that run on the beach, frolick around pools and work out in the sun, produce healthier eggs. Amazing, you mean we shouldn't slather them up in SPF 150 and put a hat on them and send out for 10 minutes before herding them back into the coop for protection? I know, we can create a whole line Chick Sun Shirts - you know the ones that all the kids are wearing now for swimming. What a paranoid trend this is - these kids look utterly ridiculous running around a swimming pool with an outfit on.. a little swim blouse. You know the sun is our enemy and you will die - so go buy another 30 tubes of goo!!!

No....the sun is good - Yes very good... Vitamin D, Omega-3 and Vitamin E all show higher levels in cage-free sunnyside up chicken eggs, versus those standard grocery store eggs. I think our kids would not be so paranoid too, if we let them be kids versus letting become videots with white talcum powdered skin. Ergo, let them be free as well your kids.

This thinking has led me to the idea of a solar powered coop. I fumbled around the web looking to see what and who had done what, and surprisingly like many solar hopes, is a tough egg to scramble. Heating a coop with solar is nearly impossible - here is an example. A 250w IFR lamp, which is what is recommended to keep chicks warm throughout the night, would only run about 4 hours on one PV cell... a full-size PV cell. So to run it all night, two cells would get the job done. So, who wants to drop $1600.00 to power a heater in a coop? Not me. The standard PV cell is 800w and costs nearly $800. So, let's look at another sustainable way to heat the coop. Solar water heater, pushing warm water through the hens roost floor and a section of the bottom floor. Keeping in mind, the coop would need to be properly insulated during the winter. With another smaller PV cell, power a small light, manage water via sprinkler contoller as well, run a small fan through the coop during warm days, just to maintain air flow. I have read where you can also install a thermostat to control a mister mounted to the perimeter of the coop to keep air temps down - some say as much as 15 degrees. Anyway, being sketched out right now and for eventual posting will be a radiant floor and roost powered by solar water heater - this one is HUGE, but smaller are available with updates coming. If I was smart I would figure out how to use iRobot vac to suck the manure up and deposit it in the compost heap. Wait that's what kids are for...

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