Clap On, Clap Off

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by MissPrissy, Oct 7, 2007.

  1. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Not really. But almost!

    I use a timer in the hen house in the winter to give the hens about 14 hours of light. I follow the advice given to me by a very old farmer who hatched my very first hens about 20 years ago.

    Added light should be in the morning to add to the day not to extend it. I set my timer to turn on the lights 2 - 2 1/2 hours BEFORE sun rise and to turn them off just after sun rise. So, next month when the time changes and the sun is rising at 6am (and setting by 5:30pm!) the timer in my barn will turn on at 4am and will turn off just after 6am.

    No light is added at the end of the day. The hens need the natural cycle of going to roost when the sun goes down.

    The timer I use is a very inexpensive model from Lowes. I picked it up for $5.98.


    It plugs into an outlet and your light plugs into the timer device.


    I use a small florescent under the cabinet plug in light (12 - 18 inches long) that we got at Lowes for under $8 (- I think it might have been $6 on a clearance table -someone had returned it in a torn box).


    I never have to worry about leaving the light on. I don't have hens who are confused and can't tell the difference between night and day. Also just adding the two hours of morning light if you notice a drop in production and really need your eggs you don't have to worry about burning out your hens long before their time of producing eggs is passed.


    I have never had a problem with any hens over the years and a few occassions I haven't needed to use the light at all to maintain my normal egg supply.

    Everyone has their own way of doing things and their own reasons as why they do what what they do. I just wanted to share the good advice I once got from an old farmer and how we have automated the source of two hours of extra light for my hens.
  2. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    I am going to HAVE to get me one of those! LOL I am getting tired of tredging out there in the dark, to turn the lights on! Then trying to remember to turn them off! LOL OK, tomorrow, I am going to town!
  3. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Songster

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    I have one of those that I use exactly like you say, but my girls are only 13 weeks old. However I want them to start laying in a few more weeks so I add the extra light. Is this necessary? Will it keep them going on the right track?
  4. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude

    If you want to add extra light, a timer and doing it the way MissPrissy does is definitely the way to go. My first winter with chickens, I happened to find a great digital timer at Home Depot for half price and it worked like a charm. It has a battery inside so if the power goes out, it does not lose any programming at all.
  5. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    Quote:At 13 weeks your hens are not mature enough for eggs. No amount of light will help. Let them mature as nature intended. They may start laying between 18 and 22 weeks. It might take longer. There are some hens here that didn't lay until after 26 weeks of age. Hens are like women. They have a different cycle and maturing rate. All of your hens probably will not begin to lay at the same time either.

    Not until they begin to lay in a consitant cycle should you be adding light to their days. It is really hard on your hens to have the days extended into the night with artificial light. Do them a favor and turn off the light.
  6. ZuniBee

    ZuniBee Songster

    May 8, 2007
    Zuni, Virginia
    I'm glad I read your post. I just got a digital timer switch two days ago from Lowes. I set it to give the extra light in the evening. I'll have to reset it tomorrow so I comes on early and goes off a half hour after sunset.
  7. DuckLady

    DuckLady Administrator

    Jan 11, 2007
    NE Washington State
    We use a timer int he mornings, too.

    Hey just a thought...If you used a Clapper, the lights would turn on and off everytime they did the Public Service Announcement after they laid an egg! [​IMG]
  8. rooster-red

    rooster-red Here comes the Rooster

    Jun 10, 2007
    Douglasville GA
    Quote:Just curious... I know from experience with my shop lights that flouresents don't work very well in cold weather.
    Is your coop heated?
  9. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    I use one of those timers for just about everything. I buy them by the gross. Well, okay thats not true, but I have 3 or 4 of them. I use them to turn on heat lamps and to turn off lights. I guess now Ill have to add turn ON lights to the list.
  10. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    No my hen house is not heated. I have never had a problem with the small lights before. The room in my barn in which my hens are housed has about 12 inches of bedding insulation on the floor, all the nest boxes and a full length roost above those. There is 192 inches of windows that face the south so solar heat really makes a difference in the hen house in winter. Also keep in mind that fully grown and feather chickens produce upwards of 5 btu's of heat themselves. I have 50 or more hens. Honestly, heating is my least worry.

    A heated hen house would be a major Luxury!

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