Days are getting shorter. When to start light in coop.

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by nuchickontheblock, Aug 22, 2011.

  1. nuchickontheblock

    nuchickontheblock Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 16, 2010
    south portland, maine
    Last Fall, (our first with chickens), after lots of reading we decided to add a little light to their coop as it had no windows and was very dark. We had a 40 watt bulb on a timer and had it on from 5:00 am to 7:00 pm. They went into the run, but liked to spend time in the coop too.

    I noticed today that sadly the days are getting shorter. Our girls are starting to put themselves to roost about 5 pm even though they are in a new coop with windows and it's still light out. So . . . if I want them to have 14 hours of light to stimulate laying this fall/winter/spring when the days get shorter, when do those of you who add it, start to supplement lighting?? The almanac says we have about 14 hours of daylight now from sun up to sun down; but there is the twilight time that adds about another 30-40 minutes on each end.
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Add the light in the early morning. Have it come on at 5 am. Set it go off at 4:30 pm. The reason for doing this is that as the sun sets earlier and earlier, the day will come when darkness will set in 5:30, at it's worst. If you set the cut off in the evening to 7 pm, it will snap off and plunge them into darkness unexpectedly and they won't be able to get to their roosts. Just my $.02
  3. pdoyle23323

    pdoyle23323 Out Of The Brooder

    Apr 14, 2011
    I hope you get an answer as I too am looking for the same answer!
  4. threecutechicks

    threecutechicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 20, 2011
    Clinton, WA
    I did not think about putting the timer to come on in the morning. I have my timer set to come on just prior to twilight and go off at 10. They were on the roost when it went dark. So, they need 14 hours?
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I don't wish to lecture anyone as to what is best for their flock. I'll just share my own experience and practices.

    In winter, here in the cold north, I want my hens rested. They expend a lot of energy and calories keeping themselves warm. I do not push my hens during the winter. I have an egg business, so I cannot have zero or near zero laying, so I choose my breeds both for winter hardiness and good laying in winter. Does production drop? Yes, it does. But not nearly as much as some folks would think. Perhaps a 20-30% drop, that is all. I provide them excellent feed and yes, I do supplement the light because way up here at the 45th parallel, our mid winter days are only 6-7 of daylight. Thus, I supplement from 5 am to 4:30 pm. That is 11 1/2 hours of light. That is plenty good. I cannot provide 14 hours of light, realistically. Again, my goal is provide some added light, not to push them beyond what is reasonable with our cold temperatures.
    Last edited: Aug 22, 2011
  6. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    To add one more comment. I also carry an additional half dozen young hens through to winter to provide the production I need for our customers. Understanding the flock production drops a bit, I carry more hens in the winter than I do in late spring/early summer when laying is prolific.
  7. MommyMagpie

    MommyMagpie Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 29, 2011
    Salem/Jarvisville, WV
    Right now my light comes on at 4:30 and goes off at 9:30; my girls put themselves to bed shortly after 8 no matter how late the light stays on. When it starts getting dark much earlier I will change the timer so the light goes off at 10.

    This is what works for us, YMMV of course.
  8. Buiscuit

    Buiscuit Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 22, 2011
    Alabama, And I hate it !
    i am not sure myself, but i dont want to overwork mine i kinda look at it as a resting period for my hens.
  9. True Grit

    True Grit Chillin' With My Peeps

    In the winter I go from 6 am when I go out to do morning chicken chores to 8:30 am and then on at 4ish pm and off at 6pm, so I can see them when I get home from work. I find they will get up in the am before it is light out but they still go to bed at dusk whether I have the light on or not.
  10. macdoogle2

    macdoogle2 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 3, 2011
    San Diego
    I have a light that goes on at dusk and stays on for 4 hours. I don't like a light on in the morning since I have an illegal Roo. Right now he starts crowing at 7 and I dont want him starting any earlier.I live in SoCal so it's still warm. My hens are young, just over a year or younger but I have noticed a drop in egg production. Earlier then I expected.

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