Chickens Afraid of the Dark

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by agirly4chicks, Apr 24, 2009.

  1. agirly4chicks

    agirly4chicks Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Feb 16, 2009
    Hamilton, Georgia USA
    I have 10 - 10 week old chicken and the temps are getting high enough at night, so last night I decided to unplug the light that I had in there coop. It was around 9 pm so very dark outside by then. All I had was a flash light and when the light went out they all started to cry. Okay not with tears and runny noses but they were talking up a storm. So I gave in and pluged the light back up. How do I get them comfortable to cut the light off without them going into complete shock. I don't want them to stress out.

    Help my little scardy cats (I mean chickens) please.

    Angie
     
  2. sred98

    sred98 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 18, 2008
    Oklahoma
    LOL! Can't help you, but wanted you to know yours weren't the only chickens afraid of the dark! My 1 yr old Cornish hen still screams when I turn the light off! LOL! [​IMG] So, now the younger ones and the guineas have to have the light on, too. I just leave it on for them. [​IMG] I don't think they'll get too hot, but my barn is pretty large. I think it will also help them if a predator comes around. They won't be caught unawares.

    The bottom line is, Petunia wants the light on, so Petunia gets the light on. [​IMG]

    Maybe you could switch to a smaller light, like a nightlight. Kind of like you would with a kid.

    Shelly
     
  3. BawkinOnTheBench

    BawkinOnTheBench Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 13, 2008
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    If you don't want to leave the light on, let them scream for a few nights - they will get used to it. Mine did this (although much younger) when they were still in the brooder and it was finally warm enough to turn off the light. Since yours are older, it might take longer.
     
  4. For-The-Love-Of-Chickens

    For-The-Love-Of-Chickens Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 8, 2009
    Washington State
    I just posted this topic a couple of days ago! I couldn't take the terrified peeping! (And mine also decided to fly and crash around the dark coop.) They are 11 weeks old and we decided to buy them a red 25 watt party light that will go on when the nights are above freezing, and the heat lamp will stay on on cold nights. We didn't realize that we have also inadvertently trained them to come into the coop and go to bed when the light goes on. If we don't turn the light on, they stay out in the run and peep and don't know what to do with themselves! Even if we stand in the coop and call them, they won't come in. But turn the light on and they file in, hop up on the roost, and go to sleep!

    Some suggestions I received were to gradually lower the wattage on your bulbs until you can turn it off. Others just said turn it off and let them sort it out which takes 2-3 days.
     
    2 people like this.
  5. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    SW Arkansas
    You can turn the light off and let them get over it. I've yet to read of a chicken dying from fear of the dark.
     
  6. azelgin

    azelgin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 18, 2008
    S.E. AZ
    Quote:I agree, but even so, I put a red bulb on a dimmer switch. Worked out very well. One unexpected advantage is now that the chickens are all grown up, I can switch it on in the middle of the night to check on things and nobody gets off the roost, or wakes up.
     
  7. sulfridge4

    sulfridge4 New Egg

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    Feb 9, 2009
    Thanks for the post! I have been having the same problem with our chickens who are 7 weeks old. I tried to put the lower wattage bulbs in but it doesn't seem to help. I have 50 of them and they are all in the corner piling up on each other. I worry about them killing each other.
     
  8. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:Hi and welcome to BYC!
    I agree that you do have to watch for "pile ups", with the ones on the bottom getting smothered, but sooner or later that they have to get used to the dark. I use a penlight if I need to go to the coop at night. Enough light for me to see, but not enough to get the chickens up and moving around.
     
  9. sulfridge4

    sulfridge4 New Egg

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    Feb 9, 2009
    The penlight is a great idea! I am always going in after dark so I can get a count. They seem to stay outside until the last ray of sunshine is gone.
     
  10. valentinebaby

    valentinebaby Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 23, 2009
    Sherman-Denison, TX
    FYI: I read in one of the chicken books that you should start turning their brooder light off for 25 mins. per day, increasing the time by 5 mins. each day, so they don't freak out when you place them in the coop and they have to adjust to the sun's schedule. Seemed to work pretty good for mine. I too placed a pink light bulb in there after they started going into the run to pull them in at night and it works like a charm. I leave it on for about 30 mins. til they settle on their roosts and then turn it off.
     

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