1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login, otherwise join BYC here!

Direct sunlight and laying question

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Quickster, Aug 19, 2014.

  1. Quickster

    Quickster Chillin' With My Peeps

    130
    18
    83
    May 1, 2014
    My coop and run are very shaded. There are a few splotches of direct sunlight that come through but not much and mostly just in the morning. I like it because the coop is mostly shielded from neighbors. (despite the fact I painted it light blue!) Plus in the summer they stay pretty cool. Now that they are almost 20 weeks old I'm starting to worry about them not getting enough direct light. I don't really know if it has to be direct sunlight or just nice and bright in the run. It is plenty bright.
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

    18,301
    5,214
    496
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    I think you don't have to worry. The pituitary (I think that's the gland responsible for setting off the egg laying machinery) responds to hours of day light, not intensity. Chickens were originally jungle fowl, so used to living in shaded areas. I think your girls are lucky birds.
     
    1 person likes this.
  3. Quickster

    Quickster Chillin' With My Peeps

    130
    18
    83
    May 1, 2014
    That makes sense. Thank you for replying. [​IMG]
     
  4. dharmasister

    dharmasister Chillin' With My Peeps

    142
    12
    88
    Apr 30, 2014
    Slidell, Louisiana
    I don't want to highjack your post but I appreciate that answer as well. I've been wondering just how much control a hen has over just when she lays that egg. My coop is also well shaded and in the mornings is not very brightly lit. Sometimes I don't get out there until after 9:00 am to plug in the light. I also don't like leaving it plugged in all day, running up the electric bill (though I'm sure they do appreciate the fans being on that are on the same plug).

    My white leghorn hen has been laying for about three weeks now. Every day she seems to lay one hour later than the day before, until one day she didn't lay at all - presumably it got too dark. Other than that we've gotten an egg every day from her. Well, yesterday I did a thorough coop cleaning and had everyone locked up in our "chicken jail" and the cleaning took much longer than expected and ran through what should have been her time to lay. She did lay an egg yesterday, but it was much later than expected. So is she able to hold off laying, and is it painful or risky for her to wait? How much does it have to do with light and how much with when she feels like it?
     
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

    18,301
    5,214
    496
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    That your leghorn is laying progressively later until she skips a day, then starts the cycle all over again is completely normal. The average egg cycle for a hen is 25 hours, so it would be normal... but not 100% expected that the egg would come later and later. And it wouldn't be safe for a hen to be laying an egg in the wild when she should be finding a safe place to perch for the night, so she'll hold that egg until it's safe to lay it the next morning. Totally normal.

    Can I ask why you are plugging in a light in their coop at 9 AM? If it's hot, they sure don't need the extra heat from a light bulb. If you want to give them supplemental light, the best time to do it is early in the morning, before the sun comes up. The optimal amount of light for laying is 14 hours/day. I'm not sure how many hours of daylight we have right now, but if you add light to increase day length, don't give them a huge increase at once... add a few minutes (15 - 30/week until you get the total to = your plan) If you suddenly give them a huge increase it can send them into a molt. Most folks use a timer, so they don't have to mess with it every day.

    How old is your leghorn? White? I have 3 Rose Comb Brown LH that I'm still waiting on. Any day now! They're 19 weeks old.
     
    Last edited: Aug 19, 2014
  6. bobshere

    bobshere Chillin' With My Peeps

    My light comes on at 4am. It gets dark here around 8pm now. They are usually done laying by 10am. I know winter is coming so myswel get them now. You dont have to get direct sunlight. As long as they have daylight and arnt in the dark.
     
  7. dharmasister

    dharmasister Chillin' With My Peeps

    142
    12
    88
    Apr 30, 2014
    Slidell, Louisiana
    I plug in the light at 9:00am because that's what time I generally get out there to check on them and because we do have a very shaded lot and the coop is built out of an old shed, there's not a lot of sun getting in there.

    [​IMG]

    Without the light on I really can't get a good look at all the girls and there are a lot of dark corners. I want to be sure I'm not missing anything. The bulb does put out some heat, but my ladies have two fans to keep them cool. DH and I were just talking about getting the light on a timer, cuz there's no way I'm getting out there at 4:00 am! Since the end of the summer schedule at work, I don't roll out of bed 'til after 8!

    Oh, and Lilly is a Pearl White Leghorn and is 22 weeks old. She started laying about three weeks ago and has laid a perfect egg every time and as I said she's only missed one day so far! She is awesome!!
    [​IMG]

    When we get the timer set up, I'll follow the guidelines you mentioned in you reply. Thank you!! I appreciate the input.
     
    Last edited: Aug 20, 2014
  8. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Chicken Obsessed

    18,301
    5,214
    496
    Nov 7, 2012
    CENTRAL MAINE
    enjoy your flock.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by