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Adding lights to the coop and run..... What I did.....

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by DaveOmak, Sep 5, 2014.

  1. DaveOmak

    DaveOmak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2013
    Omak, Washington
    My Coop
    OK.... Sooooooooo, my chickens aren't laying eggs.... After looking at my coop and reading stuff.... I decided they don't have enough light.....
    Light is important... it triggers "SOME" receptor that gets them to lay... One paper stated. "It is not the eye but a receptor behind the eye that triggers the brain... also, natural daylight wavelengths are very important.." .... or something like that.....
    and this was tested on BLIND chickens and it holds true....

    So, natural daylight wavelength lights it is..... I found these at HD... a bit expensive, but for 7 years life, it may be worth is... and very low wattage too, but the 440 lumens was the recommended minimum for a coop 12x12'.... my coop is 8x4 so it should work...

    ...click on pics to enlarge.....

    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Here is the install..... The article stated, once chickens awaken, they need water within 1 (one) hour.... Well, my lights will have to come on at 1 AM to get the necessary 15 ish hours of "daylight" for them to produce eggs.... And the waterer is in the run.... I am NOT putting feed and water in the coop.... Ain't gonna do it... the "POP" door is always open, so a light was installed to light up the door, ramp and waterer...



    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    And a light was installed at the opposite end of the coop from the nesting boards... in front of the man door and pop door...
    I found an "exterior" timer that had 2 outlets for plug ins...


    [​IMG] [​IMG]

    Now it's time to wait.... one article says it will take 4-5 weeks to get the chickens adjusted.. adjust the "daylight" time 20 min per week until you get to optimum 15 ish hours... Since we have 13 hours daylight now, I'm making adjustments to get to 16 hours quickly...

    I found a Sunrise/Sunset table and printed it out to get my time table "up and running"...

    I am setting the "COME ON" light time 8 hours after "SUNSET" on the chart... that will give the chickens 16 ish hours of daylight... and light "TURN OFF" 10 hours later...regardless of when the sun rises....

    Example... sun rise 8 AM and set at 4 PM.... (typical here in the winter) Light ON at MIDNIGHT and OFF at 10 AM... that should cover all the bases....
    I sure hope I'm figuring this correctly....
     
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    St. Louis, MO
    Nice job on the research.

    15 hours is for commercial flocks. 12 hours is sufficient for backyard flocks and most people have success with lights on at 4 AM. I've even used Christmas light timers that come on at dusk and off 4, 6 or 8 hours later. I opted for 4 and within 2 weeks they were laying. Many worry about the abrupt darkness and while not ideal, they were always on the roost by then and they didn't have any issues.
     
  3. DaveOmak

    DaveOmak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2013
    Omak, Washington
    My Coop
    Thanks for the info.... My chickens head for the roost 2 1/2 hrs. before sunset... Since I'm new to this, and don't know squat, I'm learning... Right now, I set the lights to come on a 3:30 AM and they head for the roost at 5 PM and sunset is 7:30 ish... I'm up against a 200' high cliff on the West of me, and dusk comes really early, about 6 PM.... My coop is also fairly dark inside... I've got plans to add a few more windows to solve that light issue.... I wish there was a "LIST" of all this stuff that needed to be addressed.... this hunt and peck, here and there, looking for information is "muddying" up the thought process as to what and how stuff should be done......

    The red line shows the ridge... The sun disappears about 5 PM now...

    [​IMG]
     
  4. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe Chicken Obsessed

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    St. Louis, MO
    You'll find your own right way that works for your situation.

    Near the equator, darkness comes on so fast it is like someone turned the lights off.

    Keep up the good work on the research and you'll be fine.

    Another thing to consider is that commercial operations on a regulated lighting program only keep birds a couple years. Most backyard people and small holders let the birds have a break to rejuvenate their reproductive tracts during the molt. They then come back like egg laying machines in spring.

    ETA
    I'm buying a high tech poultry lighting book soon so I may be able to share more insight.

    The spectrum isn't real important for egg laying. Blue has a calming effect on chickens. Red disguises wounds so can prevent pecking.
     
    Last edited: Sep 5, 2014
  5. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    There are a lot of opinions on supplementing light to keep the chickens laying during time period where there is less than 12-14 hours of available daylight.

    My coop gets 16 hours of light 351 days per year.
    I turn lights off for 14 days to have birds go into a controlled moult late September .

    Having had to install electricity for the thermostatically controlled water heater, I took advantage and installed a lighting system.

    My system has two timers. The first is set to turn the lights on at 5am, off at 9pm.
    Power goes on, passes through a photocell, then to a 300 lumen LED bulb, 4.8 watts, in the coop, and 2 4.8 watt LEDs for the outside run.
    I light the run because I found the birds huddled outside the coop door in the dark one 5:30am morning...
    They have access to the run 24/7, as it is as secure as the coop.

    The lights are on only when it is dark enough outside to be necessary.
    The time on very closely mimics my Summer Solstice.

    The second timer is set to go on at 8:30pm, off at 9:30pm, a diffused 200 lumen LED 4 watt bulb.
    This low light allows the birds to settle in before all lights out.

    This system costs less than $5 per year to operate.
     
  6. DaveOmak

    DaveOmak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Omak, Washington
    My Coop
    Can you enlighten me on this controlled molt.... Does it only last 2 weeks, OR does the "lights off" just get it started... Thanks..
     
  7. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    Lights off, "shorter days" triggers the molt.

    A few shorter days would be sufficient.

    Then back to light schedule, eggs all winter, spring, and summer, [​IMG] with happy birds and quick molts.

    My research indicates this is enough, they do not need 4 or 5 months off,
    and it will not wear them out as others may suggest.

    No one has yet given me reasonable proof to the contrary.
    Just opinions...[​IMG]
     
  8. DaveOmak

    DaveOmak Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 18, 2013
    Omak, Washington
    My Coop

    That's what my research indicates also......
     
  9. LindaB220

    LindaB220 Overrun With Chickens

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    I agree, and I'm very interested in your lighting. Good stuff. [​IMG]
     
  10. krose2001

    krose2001 Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for post, I have been wondering about lighting conditions as the days get shorter. Might try something like this.
     

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