Artificial light in the chicken coop

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by hawk, Aug 2, 2009.

  1. hawk

    hawk Out Of The Brooder

    May 3, 2009
    From what I have read, you should add artificial light in the coop in the wintertime to give the laying hens about 14 hours of light. Do you need to have any light on in the coop in the summer as well?
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I can think of two possible reasons to have lights in your coop in the summer. One depends on where you live. If you are so close to the equator that you get less than 14 hours of daylight even in summer, you might need to add light to maintain maximum laying.

    Depending on the coop and your window layout, your coop might get pretty dark before it gets dark enough outside to trigger the chickens to go to the coop to roost. If it is too dark in the coop when they do go in, they may not be able to see well enough to get on the roosts. They may not even go into the coop if it is too dark inside. A light could help in these circumstances.
  3. hawk

    hawk Out Of The Brooder

    May 3, 2009
    Does it cause any problems if they get more than 14 hours of light?
  4. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I've seen where intermittent light can cause meat spots in eggs. This site mentions it.

    I've also seen where continuous light is not good for chickens, but I don't know how much darkness they really need or what problems it causes. You might check out the maximum hours of light you get at your latitude and limit your chickens to that. If you are in the northern hemisphere and check June 21 for your location, you'll get that information.

    Almanac with hours of light
  5. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 30, 2009
    the South
    Why would you want to add artifical lighting to start with? You are not running a commerical poultry operation, but a backyard operation. So why not let nature dictate when the hens lay and when they rest?

    If you want winter eggs then get some hens from breeds that are good winter layers.
    1 person likes this.
  6. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    There's a lot of passion about this subject here.
    Years ago when I first got chickens, I was told that if you added light to the coop it was better to go with light 24/7 unless you could guarantee perfect coordination between natural and artificial light. Sounded too complicated for me, so I've kept a small watt light on ever since. Has not been a problem for me or the chickens. They lay normally, and sleep just fine. I'm not recommending this, just stating my experience.

    Imp- I'm small so I can [​IMG] very well [​IMG]
  7. Big Chicken Little

    Big Chicken Little Chillin' With My Peeps

    Chickens have been raised for many thousands of years ...let nature take its course.
  8. Brindlebtch

    Brindlebtch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 15, 2009
    Quote:Geez guys! From what I can tell there is a lot of passion about a heck of a lot of subjects here!
  9. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Understand that commercial operations use artificial light to maximize egg production. Also, chickens have already been bred to maximize egg production. There is a lot of feeling on here that doing this further stresses the chickens. I don't know whether that has been proven or not, but it is evident that egg laying is stressful for them. "Normal" chickens go broody once or twice a year, and take a vacation from laying for a couple of months or so to raise chicks.

    That said, if you want to use light to increase egg production, there are others on here who also do this. It is suggested you have the light come on in the AM rather than stay on in the PM, to let them wind down in a more normal manner, for sleep.
  10. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:So that's why I don't have a broody! My chickens aren't normal! [​IMG]
    I don't add light. If I wanted to raise chickens the way the commercial operations do, I'd have my DH re-construct the commercial chicken houses he tore down about five years ago. [​IMG]
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2009

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