Artificial light for the girls during winter time

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Caramelle, Oct 18, 2011.

  1. Caramelle

    Caramelle New Egg

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    Oct 18, 2011
    Hello everyone!


    This is my first post so please be gentle! lol!

    Nights are drawing in and we seem to be finding that egg production is dwindling too. I've read that you can use artificial light to keep the girls going during the darkest months.. was wondering if anyone has any experience with this? We are using the following set-up as seen on this picture:

    [​IMG]
    ...though the 3 girls are only in the coop with run part open (but otherwise closed to the outside world) during the night. During the daytime they roam free in our garden.

    So my question is this: If I were to use artificial lighting; 1. how does it work and 2. where would I be best to put it?

    Thanks in advance for your help!!! :)
    PS: Edited to sort the image out!!
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2011
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Welcome to BYC.

    Use a lower watt bulb, of 25 watts, and place it high in the coop. Have it set on a timer, just like the Christmas Tree light timers. They work well enough. Use good quality, outdoor rated extension cord.

    I prefer the light to come on early, adding those hours of light in the pre-dawn hours. Chickens are photo reactive and respond to having the light, and egg laying does improve. Your rescued battery hens are likely past their prime, so pushing them with 14 or 15 hours of light isn't necessarily a great thing. Just have the light come at 5 a.m. and turn off at 10 a.m. This will assure you that you are giving them a solid 12 hours of light. Laying might still be down a bit, but isn't likely to drop off to nothing during the dark winter months of Nov through Jan. I don't like evening light, because at some point, it has to snap off, plunging them into darkness, perhaps catching them off their roosts.

    Best Wishes,
     
  3. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

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    You could cut out another window,but I got eggs with 2 small plexiglass covered holes in a metal shed.I cut 2 more the next winter,and still got a decent amount of eggs.My only issues were bordom=pecking.

    I would at first just wait and see how things go.Add the light later if needed.
     
  4. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    I don't extend the days by much.. My girls lay either way.. It's not every day like in the summer, but they will still lay every other day. I might just be lucky with mine though. One seems like she has given up laying for the winter though.. Unless she's taking turns with my delaware.. I can't tell the difference between the eggs! (BR & Delaware).
     
  5. SundownWaterfowl

    SundownWaterfowl Overrun With Chickens

    I turned mine on last month. It comes on around 6pm and stays on a couple of hours. Birds are starting up laying again.
     
  6. kuntrychick

    kuntrychick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 19, 2009
    Alabama
    Fred's Hens :

    Welcome to BYC.

    Use a lower watt bulb, of 25 watts, and place it high in the coop. Have it set on a timer, just like the Christmas Tree light timers. They work well enough. Use good quality, outdoor rated extension cord.

    I prefer the light to come on early, adding those hours of light in the pre-dawn hours. Chickens are photo reactive and respond to having the light, and egg laying does improve. Your rescued battery hens are likely past their prime, so pushing them with 14 or 15 hours of light isn't necessarily a great thing. Just have the light come at 5 a.m. and turn off at 10 a.m. This will assure you that you are giving them a solid 12 hours of light. Laying might still be down a bit, but isn't likely to drop off to nothing during the dark winter months of Nov through Jan. I don't like evening light, because at some point, it has to snap off, plunging them into darkness, perhaps catching them off their roosts.

    Best Wishes,

    Just curious....I understand on @ 5 am or so, but why to turn off at 10 am? Would just 5 am until about 7:30 or 8 am work since it's already daylight then?

    Oh, & I totally understand about not in the evening. Last year, I had a light in the coop, not just for additional light but also for some heat, which now I've learned they don't need that, but their coop for now until hubby gets done building the new one is non-insulated metal against framing with no windows (except what light comes in their chicken door), but well ventilated. I had the light on all the time if it was below freezing & they were out there, on & off the roosts throughout the night having their own chicken party...partying all night long...lol. If a power outage or something happened, they'd be just be there on the floor of the coop & can not see.​
     
  7. Rosaleen

    Rosaleen Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Danville, Vermont
    I have a light on in the coop when they come in before dusk from outside. I also turn the radio on for them. At about 9:30 I go in the barn to visit and pick out the coop. So they have light from dawn till about 9:30 pm for the coming winter months. I like the eve light because I'm usually doing something in the barn anyway and it keeps their schedule consistent.
     
  8. Caramelle

    Caramelle New Egg

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    Oct 18, 2011
    Thanks for your replies everyone. Some very good points there.

    I have to say thanks for the advice with regards to not 'overdoing it' as the girls are ex-battery hens, and also for highlighting the concern of boredom pecking. I'll give it all a little think as not entirely sure what to do. They can go out in the morning when they please but it'd be dark there of course, so unless I light the run up for them too then I'm not sure what's best really. Winters are pretty harsh so will have to think of a warmer solution to suit when that time comes around, but I certainly have a good couple of ideas to work with now.


    Again big thanks to everyone! [​IMG]
     
  9. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Quote:Just curious....I understand on @ 5 am or so, but why to turn off at 10 am? Would just 5 am until about 7:30 or 8 am work since it's already daylight then?

    Oh, & I totally understand about not in the evening. Last year, I had a light in the coop, not just for additional light but also for some heat, which now I've learned they don't need that, but their coop for now until hubby gets done building the new one is non-insulated metal against framing with no windows (except what light comes in their chicken door), but well ventilated. I had the light on all the time if it was below freezing & they were out there, on & off the roosts throughout the night having their own chicken party...partying all night long...lol. If a power outage or something happened, they'd be just be there on the floor of the coop & can not see.

    5 am to 10 am gives the light pre-dawn, but also assures there is light for me to gather eggs and feed them if the day is dark and overcast, something which autumn also brings. Dark days as well as being shorten.
     

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