Well, I know it’s only the first part of October, but we have already had a couple of good snowfalls so far and it’s getting pretty frosty overnight, so I figured I had better get moving on this.
I have decided, after extensive reading and chatting with other hen fanciers, not to heat the coop for the winter. I will instead, winterize the waterer with a handy little water heater that I built from a design on The Chicken Chick’s website and throw an electric heater in for when it gets below -20C.
I bought a lamp kit from Amazonand a cookie tin from the thrift store, but then I found a working lamp with no switch for $1, so I grabbed it. I grabbed a second tin and might build another one for our friend Carol.
You just need to drill a hole in the side and insert the lamp cord through to the inside. Don’t forget to keep one of the screw on washers on the outside though. It is a pain to have to undo everything and fix it after.
Not that I did that or anything.
The lamp came with a 100W bulb in it,but after a couple of minutes of being plugged in, the paint started to smell a bit burny. I switched to a 60W and might even go to the 40W that she recommended. I just figured that being thousands of kilometres north of where she lives, we might need to
ampwatt things up a bit. I guess that isn’t the case.
I also ordered the TC-3 Thermocube to help out with the system, because it will come on at 1.7C(35F) and shut off at 7.2C(45F). This will prevent overheating the plastic waterer, save on bulb life, and save on hydro by not running the light when it isn’t necessary.
I will probably get one of the TC-1 Thermocubes for the block heaters on the vehicles as well, because they probably suck back a lot of power running twelve hours or so every day. I guess the heat tracing on the pipes could use it as well.
So many handy things nowadays for making our lives easier.
Because I decided against heating the coop, the worms had to be brought back into the house and put into what is now our soap/grow room.
I set up the Plant Tower and went to buy a 24″ sunblaster, but realised that I would need one for every shelf, so I bought the 48″ Sunblaster and put it on the ceiling to give the whole room some really nice, white light. What’s cool is that I can link up to eight of these on the one power source.
I bought these and the setup for sprouting grain from Dunvegan Gardens in Fort St. John, but if you aren’t near there, the prices are the same on amazon.ca.
Oh yeah, the grain sprouting is for the chickens to have lots of fresh grass to eat all winter. I bought an Aquascape 91026 320 GPHpump and a bunch of 1/2″ line to run up the Plant Tower with some 1/4″ line feeding down to the trays. It was probably overkill for the amount we will need, but we plan on doing more in the future, so we got all of the connectors and tools now, so we could learn more as we go.
I have a bin of water on the bottom shelf and I pump the water up every four hours into the top tray and it filters down through holes I drilled into the tray into the bottom tray and then through it back into the bin.
Well, it used to go every four hours, when I had the awesome timer hooked up, but I stole it for the lights and have to get a new one now. I just plug it in when I am thinking of it a few times a day, and it seems okay for now.
This video by The Straw Hat Farmer is what got me interested in this in the first place, and then got me interested in aquaponics. Check out his YouTube channel for lots of informative videos.
We also have a mango tree growing in the grow room, with garlic planted there as well. The mango was growing in the worm bin, so I transplanted it and it seems to be doing well.
It started sprouting new growth since we moved it into fifteen hours of light.
Hopefully in eight years we will be munching on our own mangoes.