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Light in the hen house

post #1 of 4
Thread Starter 

So, winter is coming up.  I have heard not to provide a heat lamp as the birds will acclimate to the cold weather.  However, I also heard that it is good to provide a regular light 12-14 hours per day as the light in the day gets shorter because chickens need a certain amount of sunlight to lay through the winter.  Has anyone had experience with this?  Do your winter layers lay without an added light source, or should I think about running a light out to my coop?  My coop is 8x6 and 11 feet high but doesn't have any windows.  The only opening is the little door out the back that's large enough for a chicken to fit through so its fairly dark when closed.  We are still planning on the windows (we got the coop on craigslist).  I have pullets that all range from 5 months to 7 months, and are about to start laying.  I hope to maximize my chances at getting eggs soon and through winter (at least a few per week) but don't want to do anything unnecessary or have them get accustomed to something they don't really need.  Thanks.  

post #2 of 4


Winter light will get you eggs, when they would normally not be laying.  But, chickens will only lay so many eggs, over a lifetime.  You can have eggs through the winter, but your hens will not lay for as many years, as they normally would.  That means you'll have non-productive hens to "deal" with, at a fairly young age.  Your choice.

post #3 of 4

Spring pullets will begin laying in the fall and continue laying until next fall.  So, they'll lay for about 12 months (fall to fall) and then take a break to molt when they're around 18 months old.  Pullets don't need supplemental light to lay through their first fall and winter.  (This applies to the common laying breeds (RIR, barred rock, australorp, orpington, etc.), but I'm not sure it would apply to some of the ornamental breeds.)

 

During their first fall molt, they'll take anywhere from 2 to 5 months off from laying if you don't provide supplemental light.  I've never provided light, so I can't speak to how to integrate light with molting and egg production.  My 2-year old hens usually begin their molt in September/October/November, and resume laying in January/February.  (This is without supplemental light.)

 

That being said, I really think it would help to put a window or two in the coop, as the total absence of light in the coop may very well compromise the pullet's tendency to lay through the winter.   


Edited by song of joy - 9/30/15 at 7:40am
The joy of the Lord is my strength!
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The joy of the Lord is my strength!
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post #4 of 4

It was so nice for song of joy to type out exactly what I was going to say :)

Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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Rachel BB

Stem cell transplant from unrelated donor in Feb 2015. Thank you to all my friends here on BYC for all your support during my treatment and ongoing recovery!

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