Amount of light

SoloSparky

In the Brooder
Jun 17, 2020
6
17
18
Hello, I have a question concerning lights in our coop. A little background. We have 12 chickens 6- Isa Browns and 6 Gold Comets, all about 8 months old and were losing good 10-12 eggs a day avg. Since the time change production has dropped to 3-4 per day. I read that to keep up production they need 12-14 hours of light per day. Right now they are getting around 10 hours. Should I put lights in the coop ? I have heard that the amount of light signals for them to molt. melt. The true or not, and do birds this young need to molt. So do I put lights in our not, need help
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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It's shortening days that bring on molt, but only in chickens old enough to molt, generally around 18 months and older.

Adding extra light on a timer to come on around two hours before dawn is the least disruptive, and it doesn't take very high wattage to achieve the effect. 60 watts is plenty.

But a word of warning. By doing this, your production breeds, designed for maximum egg output, will burn out all that much sooner. A deep winter rest is natural and beneficial.

From Dec 21 forward, the days will naturally start to get longer. Even without augmented light, your hens will likely start laying again by the end of January. It would require a few weeks of the added artificial light before they start to lay, and it would likely not be that much longer that they would start laying again anyway.
 

aart

Chicken Juggler!
Premium Feather Member
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Nov 27, 2012
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Since the time change production has dropped to 3-4 per day.
Did the reduction happen abruptly when the time changed?
Because the time change has nothing to do with shortening days, it just feels like it to us clock watchers, that started back in June and they will begin to lengthen again on Dec 22.

Surprised those breeds slowed laying as they are high production hybrids.
Many pullets will lay all winter with no supplemental lighting,
but some will slow, stop, and/or even have a partial molt.

You can use lights or not. It won't work immediately, not quite like flipping a switch, but it may get them laying sooner than if you don't use lights. Using supplemental lighting can be tricky and it can be detrimental to the birds health which can shorten their 'laying life'....it all depends on how you manage it over the birds life. I've gone overboard with the lights in the past, with some odd results, now I let them get their molt in and turn the lights up about now.
Here's a pretty good article on supplemental lighting.
 

Canucklehead

In the Brooder
Jul 6, 2021
6
42
41
This coming winter will be the first for me with laying hens, that will be one year old in October. I am considering getting a light to extend the laying production, but don't know when it will be required to start.

Is it a reasonable idea to wait until I see production drop off, if it does, and then if I decide I want more production, to just hang a trouble light out of the way near the roof and switch it on in the morning to get the light needed? I've read that a red light is preferable.
 

azygous

Enabler
11 Years
Dec 11, 2009
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When daily light drops below 12 hours a day, a low wattage light set on a timer to come on an hour or so before dawn is all you need. A 25 watt bulb is all that is needed. The pineal gland, known as the "third eye", senses the light, not the hens' eyes. Even Christmas lights will work.
 

Alaskan

The Frosted Flake
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Jul 26, 2008
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This coming winter will be the first for me with laying hens, that will be one year old in October. I am considering getting a light to extend the laying production, but don't know when it will be required to start.

Is it a reasonable idea to wait until I see production drop off, if it does, and then if I decide I want more production, to just hang a trouble light out of the way near the roof and switch it on in the morning to get the light needed? I've read that a red light is preferable.
If they will be 1 year old in October... then they might or might not go through a huge molt about now-ish.

While molting the light will not get them to lay.

Personally, I would wait and see if they molt......

If they don't molt by October, and egg production starts to decline (but they still aren't molting), then that would be a fine time to add some light.

I would use a regular light bulb on a timer. But like a 50 or 75watt.
 

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