artificial light

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by lambergirl, Nov 15, 2007.

  1. lambergirl

    lambergirl New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Aug 7, 2007
    Northland, Michigan
    I have 18 week old buffs and have heard sooooo many different veiws on the subject. I am using a light for 17 hours a day. Is it too early for them? Is it too much light? When do pullets turn into hens? I've also heard that I am supposed to feed laying food at least 4 weeks before they start to lay. I bought a commercial feed ( layena ) and added oyster shell to it. I am soooo afraid of harming my sweet babies. This is my first time raising chickens.
     
  2. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    24,442
    49
    371
    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Pullets are female chickens under 1 year old. They do not need the extra calcium in the laying feed and oyster shells until they begin to lay. I would caution you to switch back to grower feed as the added calcium could cause problems since they don't need a lot extra right now. If you will note many on this board have flocks that are not starting to laying until closer to 30 weeks. Some sooner and some later.

    It is recommended for 14 hours of light, the extra light added in the early morning starting around 4 am or so. Too many hours of light when they are producing burns them out and their life cycle of egg production is shortened.

    If your pullets are not laying they do not need laying feed nor the extra light.
     
  3. Tuffoldhen

    Tuffoldhen Flock Mistress

    7,505
    19
    301
    Jan 30, 2007
    WV
    Buff Orps usually don't start laying til around 24 weeks or so....pullets become hens when they reach a year old...17 hours is too much light in my opinion......I would not add light til they have started to lay or only 12 to 14 hours of light is needed....turn on in early morning and let it go off before dusk so they can find their way to the roosts...I use layena but I never start my pullets on it til point of lay...and oyster shell is not needed in the feed...you give it free choice in a bowl or dish ..they peck at it when they need it....oyster shell after they have started laying

    Edit to add...agrees with MissPrissy......you will burn out your pullets in egg production.....
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2007
  4. sgtmom52

    sgtmom52 Birds & Bees

    I have three 27 week old Buff Orps that are still not laying. I also have 3 SLW of the same age. Only one of the SLW has been laying for 2 weeks. I have a small florescent desk light strip in the coop that comes on at 5 am and goes off around 9 am, after they have natural light, giving them 12 hours of light a day. It gets dark around 5 pm here and they go to bed when it gets dark as usual. I chose not to give them any more than 12 hours of light as I don't want to over stress them. It may be a while before your girls start laying for you, esp. during this time of year. [​IMG]
     
  5. lambergirl

    lambergirl New Egg

    5
    0
    7
    Aug 7, 2007
    Northland, Michigan
    Thank you all soooo much. I don't want to pressure them into laying, I'm just trying to do what is good for them. I can't stop the layena yet, I bought it yesterday and the feed store is an hour away. Gas prices and money prohibit me from changing now. I also mixed the oyster shell in with the layena. Will any of this harm them? I will also change the light, they aren't very fond of it anyway.
     
    Last edited: Nov 15, 2007
  6. Tuffoldhen

    Tuffoldhen Flock Mistress

    7,505
    19
    301
    Jan 30, 2007
    WV
    Depending on how many pullets you have I would go back to a starter grower and add alittle of your layer in at a time....too much calcium at an early age is not good for them...they don't need it just yet...oyster shell is always free choice in a dish or bowl...some will need it, some will not...

    Glad you will turn off some light time...it's too hard on them....tooo young....

    Lots of us are having pullets not lay on time for some reason this year...I have 6 month olds they haven't laid a first egg.....
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by