best light for increasing egg production? (we have real electricity to the coop!)

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by mayrooni, Nov 5, 2015.

  1. mayrooni

    mayrooni In the Brooder

    Dec 31, 2013
    we are having real electricity run to the coop this weekend...what is the best kind of light for increasing egg production? led? cfl? old fashioned? rope lights? ill have an outlet in there with a timer plugged in, so the light needs to be able to get plugged in...

  2. Mahlzeit

    Mahlzeit Songster

    Jul 16, 2007
    Long Island NY
    I use led lights that are "sunlight" colored. I like the led's because they are efficient, last a long time and don't get hot like other bulbs so no fear of fires starting.
  3. I like to recommend the 18" florescent under the cabinet light, they run cool and have a lens covering the bulb and the price it right...

    LEDs are a nice option but sometimes finding a decent fixture for a reasonable price that can be recouped easily in their lower electricity use isn't all that easy...

    When looking at LEDs and the initial cost increase, consider one of those 18" florescent fixtures at 15 Watts run 16 hours a day for a month that only cost about $1 in electricity... It could take many, many years of use before an LED fixture actually saves you anything...
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2015

  4. If your lighting a chicken coop to spur egg production, unless the tubes emit UV radiation (light) florescent tubes are a complete waste of both money and electricity ..

    Chickens have a "third" eye in the top of their head that senses UV radiation and unless this 3rd eye is energized, save your money and the copper wire.

  5. Who told you this, nonsense? Yes, chickens have a Pineal gland that some call a third eye and it is photosensitive (as well as a photosensitive hypothalamus) and yes chickens can perceive some extended UV and IR range of light beyond what humans see... But that does not equate to fluorescent tubes being "a complete waste of both money and electricity" that is just silly nonsense... Fluorescent lights have been (and are still used) successfully in the commercial poultry business for decades... The Pineal gland (aka the third eye) that you touch upon that stimulates their egg laying is not tuned to the UV spectrum as you imply, instead orange/red wavelengths are what appear to best stimulate the Peneal gland and increase egg laying cycles...

    Feel free to read this article...

    Or read this article... Light Impact on Poultry 3-11-14.pdf

    If you are unaware red light in about the 630 nm wavelength is well in the 'visible' light range, near the middle in fact, it's far from UV...

    Or read this article...

    Or this one...

    If you read the above you will also see that other colors have their own benefits as well, but for egg laying the reds are what you desire...

    In the end a custom tailored LED light setup that is tuned to the chickens red perception wavelengths is obviously optimal and best for egg laying stimulation, but that does not equate to other light sources like fluorescent being a waste of time as most are perfectly adequate, since they do put out a decent amount of light in the needed wavelengths...

    Your typical fluorescent tube or compact tube will put out sufficient red wavelengths to stimulate egg production, as will most generic 'white' LEDs, using them is not a waste of money...

    I personally provide supplemental light year round in my coop for at total of 16 hours/day with eight 9W 2700K CFL, my egg laying is steady all year with no seasonal changes due to light variations, but my coop is significantly larger than most...
  6. AkChris

    AkChris Chirping

    May 20, 2014
    SE Alaska
    Sorry but this just isn't true.

    Yes chickens have a "third eye" called a pineal eye or pineal gland that detects light and releases hormones (melatonin) in response to light levels. This gland uses photorceptors that are stimulated by electomagnetic radiation, which is transmitted in waves. Light can look more yellow, red, or blue depending upon the wavelength that is generated. UV radiation is light that is outside of the human visible but which chickens can see. So chickens can see UV light but they can also see all the lower light lengths we humans see. Some studies have shown that the pineal glad is stimulated by light primarily in the red wavelength which is produced by flourescent .

    But seasonal behaviors (like egg laying) are not controlled by the pineal gland alone (if at all). Birds have cerebrospinal fluid (CSF)-contacting neurons in their hypothalamus that are photoactive and new studies show that this may be what regulates day length triggered breeding behaviors. Quail with their pineal glands removed still had breeding triggers (egg laying) responding to day length so the old idea that the "third eye" regulated egg laying is likely not be true. These CSF contacting neurons may be triggered by triggered by a photoresceptor that responds to violet and ultraviolet light, that has not been proven. Other sources say this pathway is again best stimulated by light in the red wavelength.

    But whatever the science behind light, how chickens detect it, and how it effects egg laying the fact is that lighting in poultry systems has been well studied. We know from all these poultry studies that optimal egg laying occurs with 16 hours of light. That certain colors (wavelengths) of light effect behavior and production. From these studies we know that overall LED lighting has the best results with plain white LEDs being the optimal choice for egg laying. And CFL are generally better than incandescent. There are still lots of reasons red lighting might be better overall for chickens.

    Even if you want to ague that egg laying is stimulated by UV light you forget to consider that some lighting sources do generate UV as well as visible light wavelengths. CFL produce wavelengths in the lower spectrum of the UV range. How much UV is produced varies depending upon how the bulbs are made and it can vary widely. LEDs now come in wavelengths across the specrtum from infrared to UV. Most "white" LEDs actually produce UV or violet light that is filtered through a yellow coating to make it appear "white".

    For the average backyard chicken owner what just wants to maintain egg production during the winter just about any lighting source seems to work. Lots of people use just regular incandencent bulbs. Lots (including myself) use old fashion christmas lights (which are incandescent). Some of mine have recently burnt out and I'm replacing them with white LED rope lights, which I expect will work just fine as well.
  7. RonP

    RonP Crowing

    This topic comes up fairly often.
    I posted this for another query hope it helps:

    There are a lot of opinions on supplementing light to keep the chickens laying during time period where there is less than 12-14 hours of available daylight.

    My coop gets 16 hours of light 351 days per year.
    I turn lights off for 14 days to have birds go into a controlled moult late September .

    Having had to install electricity for the thermostatically controlled water heater, I took advantage and installed a lighting system.

    My system has two timers. The first is set to turn the power on at 5am, off at 9pm.
    Power goes on, passes through a photocell, then to a 300 lumen LED bulb, 4.8 watts, in the coop, and 2 4.8 watt LEDs for the outside run.

    All bulbs used are considered "warm light" at 3000K

    I light the run because I found the birds huddled outside the coop door in the dark one 5:30am morning...
    They have access to the run 24/7, as it is as secure as the coop.

    The lights are on only when it is dark enough outside to be necessary.
    The time on very closely mimics my Summer Solstice.

    The second timer is set to power on at 8:30pm, off at 9:30pm, a diffused 200 lumen LED 4 watt bulb.
    This low light allows the birds to settle in before all lights out, as in civil twilight.

    This system costs less than $10 per year to operate.

  8. Congratulations to both you and to your chickens for the roominess of their coop.

    Unfortunately you have jumped to several erroneous conclusions. You first erroneous conclusion was when you failed to realize that Sunlight (remember that big bright orb that rises in the East every AM and sets in the West every evening) is a combination of different light colors. To whit, the color red is a major component of Sunlight.

    The thread was going in the wrong direction with all the talk about florescent light fixtures (and even the most common CFL bulbs) The light fixtures in your doctors' offices or else installed at your place of work are generally "Cool White" florescent tubes. No one but especially myself never said a mumbling word about Compact Florescent Bulbs. But now that you have breached the subject if you install CFB or any other bulbs and if they are not full spectrum or at lest UV bulbs then you are still wasting your dough by buying or by powering them.

    I am including an image of that big bright hot orb in the sky (just don't stare at it too long) so that all can see for themselves what the major colors of our Sun are.

    Yep the Sunlight she looks red to me. However humans are not chickens and the ability of a chicken and a human to detect photons of another color are not the same. Never think otherwise.


    Just because you buy LEDs doesn't mean that the light emitted by the bulbs that you buy will serve any good purpose in your chicken coop. They better be full spectrum.

    Oh, buy the way, your Star and mine (the Sun) is also known as a RED dwarf. However little of the red light reaches the human eye until Sunset or thereabouts.

    But just to make the cheese more binding, chickens not only see the color spectrum that we humans see and know so well, chickens also SEE ultra-violet light.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2015

  9. Artificial light is also a combination of different colors, what does that matter? I'm well versed in light spectrums as I have personally designed several application specific and color specific LED lighting systems for clients... I have run more light color spectrum test than I care to even remember, and even own my own spectrometer...

    Um, NO this is not true...

    Look at this spectrum of light, notice UV on the extreme left and 'red' on the right? Red is simply not a major component of UV light, two entirely different spectrums on opposite ends of the light spectrum...


    You are still incorrect, you keep insisting that UV is necessary it's not, did you read any of the articles I linked? Where are you getting your info care to share? I would LOVE to see the source(s)...

    For this topic there is little difference between the light spectrum put out by compact fluorescent bulbs or fluorescent tubes, as the fluorescent coating technology is the same for both and thus the spectrums of light produced are nearly identical... The shape and size of the fluorescent tube (twisted vs straight) has nothing to do with it's spectral output, that output is dictated by the fluorescent coating inside the tube, and both fluorescent tubes and compact fluorescents use the same type of coatings and produce similar light output...

    Warm white fluorescent (2700K-3000k) is technically better in this application because it has more reds, but even cool white (5000-6500K) fluorescent has sufficient reds for this application, doesn't matter if it's a fluorescent tube or a compact fluorescent bulb they all put out sufficient reds to stimulate egg production...

    Regardless of your continued claims fluorescent lights are simply not a waste of money and electricity in this application, they are fully up to the task needed and will produce the desired results... This has been proven over and over again in commercial egg farms and as many scientific studies...

    Why are you talking about how the sun looks to you? You can't see UV so when you say it appears reds you are actually supporting exactly what I just said that it's the visible red light...

    Sunlight at the equator on earth at high noon on a clear day is about 6000K - 6500K or cool white, that is a fact... We could get into why sunsets are more red in color and a 'warm white', that would be the same exact reason why visible red light better stimulates the chickens as the larger red wavelengths can better penetrate the atmosphere just like they can better penetrate the skin and skull in the topic at hand...

    No such thing as a true full spectrum LED, but it doesn't matter as long as it has sufficient levels of the proper reds in the RBG mix they are using to get the 'white' color or the coating they are using to shift the colors to white... In this case based on scientific studies (linked in my previous post) one could use just red LEDs in and around the 630nm wavelength (red visible light) to stimulate egg production if they chose, no need for the entire spectrum as 630nm is the sweet color needed in this application... As I stated again most white LEDs have plenty of the reds needed in this application, due to their design and the tech used to make white LEDs...

    Just for clarity, you are incorrect, our sun is a G2V star or more commonly a Yellow dwarf star...

    May I suggest that before you continue to jump to erroneous conclusions based on a misunderstandings and/or fallacies that you spend some more time researching the topic, I provided multiple links in my previous post, feel free to start there... If you or anyone else can look at the spectral scale above and continue to insist that visible Red is a major component of UltraViolet it's clear to me you need to do further study on the topic at hand...
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2015

  10. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Looks like you got lots of answers......Aren't you glad you asked?

    I've used both an incandescent 40W and a CFL(100W equivalent), have no idea what 'color' they were...<shrugs>....they both worked just fine.
    I prefer the light come on early mornings so they go to roost with the natural sunset.
    It's best to ramp up the light slowly to avoid stress from a drastic change.
    Here's a pretty good article on supplemental lighting.
    Last edited: Nov 7, 2015

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