It doesn't come with a cord, it's just the fixture. But wiring it couldn't be easier. It comes with the wire nuts so you just need match wire colors and screw 2 wires (black with black, white with white) together. I then wrapped it with electrical tape for extra safety. Ya, it has a ballast with it, it's the same ballast that comes with larger 48" one so I believe you can put any 24' bulb you want in there. Mine just has 1 ge plant bulb and 1 ge daylight bulb.