Artificial Sunlight?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by SassyKat6181, Nov 7, 2010.

  1. SassyKat6181

    SassyKat6181 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    As I have read, chickens need 14 hrs of sunlight to lay, and we are down to about 10 hrs here. The girls are 9 weeks, so obviously they won't be laying for quite a while. I have a brooder lamp with a white light in it on a timer for them to get 14 hrs. Is it ok to do this now, or should I wait until they are closer to laying age? I thought that by getting them used to it now, it wouldn't be quite an adjustment to them later. Thanks
     
  2. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Commercial laying operations manage when their pullets start laying by managing the light. They want the pullets to get to a certain age before they start laying, partly because they get a lot more for decent sized eggs compared to the small pullet eggs, and partly the pullets have less medical problems if they don't start laying too soon. If you have 5,000 laying hens in one chicken house, that becomes real important. They eat a little less if it is mostly dark. Since they want the pullets to mature to where they are ready to safely lay, not pile on extra unhealthy fat, them eating less is beneficial, not just for the cost of the feed but for health reasons. They can wait to start the layer with its extra calcium until they all need it. I don't know at what age they switch the lights from mostly dark to mostly light or what the period of darkness is. I suspect around 23 to 24 weeks and that the dark period is 14 hours, but I don't really know.

    I'm not in your situation. I don't provide extra light but just let them lay when they want. My goals are probably different from yours, so I am not criticizing. We all have different goals and situations. I'd think it would work for you to not provide any extra light until you think they are ready to lay, then you can probably turn them on to laying by increasing the light.

    Just my opinion. Good luck!
     
  3. SassyKat6181

    SassyKat6181 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have 12 chickens, to raise for my family to have eggs. There are 6 of us and we go through a lot of eggs. I figured by raising the chicks through the winter that by spring I would have eggs, when others are just starting chicks. Since the coop is in the lower portion of our barn, the one window (2x2) doesn't really provide them with much light during the day. They tend to stay on the end where the window is. When I put the light in there a few days ago, it was like a whole new world opened up to them. They were running all around enjoying this "new found" space. I've not been able to make the run yet and we have too many predators to let them free range, so they are in all day. The coop is really two horse stalls with the center wall knocked out, so it measures 12' x 24' by 10'. I think I'll keep the light on, but maybe just during the same hours that we have light. Thanks
     
  4. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:I agree, sounds like an very good solution. Thanks to you for giving them some fake sunlight.
     
  5. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:I agree, sounds like an very good solution. Thanks to you for giving them some fake sunlight.

    14 hrs on a timer is sufficient for them to be active and lay. I add hrs on both ends of the day but some people just do it in the mornings figuring they will be better off going to bed at sundown. I've never noticed a problem, by the time the light goes off they're all on the roost anyway. I wouldn't, however, use a heat lamp but prefer a 20w florescent or 40w LED--less heat and, therefore, danger of fire.
     
  6. SassyKat6181

    SassyKat6181 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have one of those 15W spiral energy saver bulbs that gives off 60W.
     

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