Any ideas for storing enough solar heat to keep a tiny hen house warm overnight?

I'm about to build a tiny chicken house for my three chickens.  I'm on the north shore of Lake Ontario, so we do get cold winters!  I'm thinking that I'll build an A-frame - maybe 4' tall by 6' long.  Two thoughts I've had are:  a double pane window set into the south wall, and/or some sort of pop can solar heater.  What I'm wondering is which would be the best idea?  I don't want to cook these chickens!  Is there some way to make it so some degree of heat will last overnight?  I'm not saying I want the house to remain at 70F or anything.  A bit of stored heat would be sufficient.  Be easy on me though, the words start getting technical and my eyes glaze over.  I have very little experience with any of this - including building the darn hen house! [I'll try to attach a picture of the chicken run I built them this summer]

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Any space for a black painted can of water behind the window you want to put in ? Nice concrete floor, insulated with foam underneath AND at the edges ?
More hens, more insulation, more grain in winter and less space around the hens at night. They will heat themselves and each other and the insulation will keep it in. Small space plus insulation means the heat is confined to where the birds are. They need starch in cold weather. Let them select from separate conatiners of Starchy foods (wheat, scrap bread etc), Protein foods (meat, fish, cheese, beans, worms, snails etc) and Calcium chips (smashed seashells, snail shells, baked egg shells etc) will give better egg shells than powdery calcium.
Use lots of insulation. Especially in corners where panels join, air gets through some of the darndest, most invisible spaces!
Make a solar heater to mount on the roof. Search Instructables for the details, but basically you put a curvy pipe in a black-backed wood box and have a solar-powered pump pumping water through it and into a water tank during the day. Cover the box with plexiglass to keep the heat in. Pack it with insulation as well.
Then, at night, switch the pump to a slower, battery setting. Make a valve that you can turn that makes water flow through pipes under the chickens to slowly release the heat.
Remember, if you build the solar heater well enough, that water can get HOT! so be careful.
Here's a picture to show what I mean.
Did I mention use a big water tank?
So the water is pumped from the tank to the roof during the day. When the sun sets, switch the valve so that the water flows to pipes your chickens sit on instead of the roof. It cycles back to the water tank.

Have a solar panel charge the battery and run the pump during the day. Use a diode to protect the panel, making it so that the electricity only goes FROM the solar panel.
Wire the pump in parallel to it, so that when the sun sets, the pump draws electricity from the battery. (If any electricity geeks see anything wrong with this, don't hesitate to speak up!)
Now the main challenge is making a super-effective solar heater and keeping it warm in the tank.
Chicken House Solar Heat Plans.bmp
Crikey, that's a complicated approach. Its a chicken shed !
peacenique (author)  steveastrouk7 years ago
Holy smokes!  I agree, that's way complicated!  Thanks anyway.
Goodness knows I looooooove them chickens!