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Supplemental Lighting Question

post #1 of 7
Thread Starter 

Hello, everyone! I've been reading through a lot of the other threads about supplemental lighting for chickens, but have a question that I haven't been able to answer:

 

My chickens have a 6'x9' secure run outside of their coop that they are given access to 24/7 as my husband built it to be as secure as their locked coup. This is where their food and water is located. They have a much larger fenced in run that expands over the entire back half of our yard that they are allowed to after we are up and around by opening a door. Anyhoo, if I add supplemental light in the mornings to their coop, would I need to add the light to the secure run as well so they can get to their food/water? I have seen a couple of other people ask this same question further down in the reply section of other lighting threads, but never really found any specific answers. 

 

To address a couple of things I have seen come up in other lighting thread reply sections:

- I live in Oregon. Our winter daylight hours drop to less than 9 hours long.

- Our chickens were very early hatchers - end of January of last year - and did have a molt this season that seemed to drag on forever. 

- We have a RIR, BR, EE, Wyandotte and Brahma

-We have not seen an egg since the end of October. Not one. From any chicken.

-There has been nothing about their routine that has changed to stress them in any way.

-They are fed a high quality organic layer feed. We do give them high protein treats (they love the black sunflower seeds and shredded mozzarella cheese) while they are molting after we noticed them eating feathers. Searching these forums told me that meant they needed more protein.

-On the few below freezing days that we had, we gave them handfuls of cracked corn

- Please do not let this devolve into a debate about whether or not lighting is acceptable, criticisms about peoples methods/beliefs, etc. The lighting threads have been one of the few in which I have seen more arguing and criticisms between users rather than helpful answers to the original question.

 

The days are finally getting longer now, so we will not be taking action this season. I am trying to become as well informed about the subject as I can so we can make an informed decision for our personal needs if they should arise in the fall.

 

Thank you! :)

post #2 of 7

I don't think you'd need to add lights to their run, too. They can go out and eat when it gets light enough outside for them to do so. Just my opinion here. I feed and water in my coop in the winter, so it's not something I've had to deal with. I have added light in the winter after my birds were done molting. It's a personal choice each person has to make for themselves. I don't believe it shortened their lives any, or harmed them in any other way. I would think they'd be happy for some light during the long, dark winter! (Yes, I'm humanizing them. Because I need more light in the winter, I feel they should have it, too. That being said, I didn't add supplemental light this year... :))

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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post #3 of 7

I didn't expect my birds to start laying until late Feb. But I put a few extra hours of light in the coop at night because the generator was running anyway, two weeks later, eggs everywhere.

Well it's, alright now,

I learned my lesson well. See ya,

can't please everyone, so ya,

gotta please yourself.

 

The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment. ~Warren Bennis~
 

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Well it's, alright now,

I learned my lesson well. See ya,

can't please everyone, so ya,

gotta please yourself.

 

The factory of the future will have only two employees, a man and a dog. The man will be there to feed the dog. The dog will be there to keep the man from touching the equipment. ~Warren Bennis~
 

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post #4 of 7

I have one that just started laying a couple of weeks ago, and two or three more that look like they're getting ready. I'd say by the end of next week. I was going to light up their lives this winter, but just didn't get around to it. Only had to buy eggs a few times, and that was from someone at work who raises chickens, so I didn't have to buy any nasty store-bought ones. 

Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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Chickens off and on for 25+ years and still learning.

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post #5 of 7

I'm in southern Oregon. I just started using lights this year for some birds that should have been laying according to age but quit due to stress of a move. I only put lights in the coop itself, not the run. I have a large walk-in coop, so my feeder is inside to keep it dry. the water is outside and is currently self-filling :rolleyes: with all the rain. 

 

I think for the couple of hours, you should be fine with them either not eating or going outside in the dark to eat. If you're really concerned, add a small feeder to the inside of the coop with a minimal amount of feed, just a snack to tide them over until dawn. 

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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post #6 of 7

It doesn't take much added light to get birds laying. A little LED on a timer in coop to wake them up and light the coop enough to see at 5 am then turned off at 7:30 am. That little bit this time of year would supplement for a total of 12 hours light. Tada! Eggs. If you don't keep feed in the coop it's OK, they will be outside after sunrise and those few hours of not eating or drinking isn't going to hurt them. The key is to have them awake so metabolism is up. Back in the day when I ran a cord to coop to heat water and supplement light I'd have timer on at 5, off at 8, on at 3 and off at 5pm. No food or water in coop. Eggs all winter. 

Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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Everybody talks about the weather, but nobody does anything about it.

 

-Charles Dudley Warner

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post #7 of 7
Thread Starter 

Thank you all for the info! We have had to buy store bought eggs this winter and even buying the "Organic free ranged" eggs at $7 a dozen, they are horrible. I think we have decided to use lights next winter.

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