Do chickens need dark to lay eggs.

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Mflood, Oct 20, 2014.

  1. Mflood

    Mflood In the Brooder

    Hi, we just put a heat lamp in our very drafty 4' x 8' chicken coop. We have 14 chickens that are 18 weeks old. The heat lamp that we put in has a 125 watt bulb, instead of the standard 250 watt. We do not have a timer on it or anything fancy. We are expecting a winter with below zero temps this year again, and since our coop is quite drafty and we are not really sure how to remedy that, we figured that a heat lamp might help our chickens to stay a little bit warmer and keep our water from freezing. The lamp is in and on, but what I am wondering is if the full time light will prevent them from laying?

    Should we put in a dimmer switch? Will a dimmer switch affect the heat output? My grandfather raised chickens before my time and my dad says that they need some dark to lay eggs; he also said that my grandpa would put a light on a timer and have it on from midnight to 2 a.m. and then again in the morning and that he got two eggs a day from each chicken. What do you think? It really is quite bright in the coop, is there a way to diffuse the light a bit? I'm just not sure what to do. I know that a lot of you will say that the chickens don't need the heat, but with cracks all around the entrances and windows, I just don't see how they won't be cold. Thanks.
  2. BantamLover21

    BantamLover21 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    [​IMG] Glad you joined us!

    Full time light won't necessarily stop hens from laying, but it will stress them out. It would be good if you could at least dim the lights for a few hours each day, just to give them some rest. I'm not sure if dimming the light would affect the heat, though.
    1 person likes this.
  3. Wyandottes7

    Wyandottes7 Crowing

    Jul 24, 2013
    Welcome to BYC! [​IMG]We're glad to have you.

    X2 on Bantamlover21.
  4. sunflour

    sunflour Flock Master

    Jan 10, 2013
    [​IMG] So glad you joined us. I think that is a great question. Don't' know the answer but really want to hear the responses. All I have ever read or heard was about light supplementation.

    But I do know this: I have had my girls under camera surveillance since they were a few days old. When lights are on , they sleep and awaken throughout the nights. When there are no lights, they just sleep. Makes me wonder if lights are on all the time they may not get enough sleep at nite, they may not be as healthy? Like human insomniacs who get inadequate rest.

    Chickens are very cold hardy but your coop sounds like it has drafts. Could you consider covering it with something, a tarp or plastic, to reduce the drafts and avoid the light?
    1 person likes this.
  5. drumstick diva

    drumstick diva Still crazy after all these years.

    Aug 26, 2009
    Out to pasture
    Maybe if you posted photos of your coop, we could offer suggestions to make it less drafty? Glad you joined the flock.
  6. Mountain Peeps

    Mountain Peeps Change is inevitable, like the seasons

    Apr 23, 2014
    My Coop
    Welcome to BYC! Please make yourself at home and we are here to help.
  7. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 Free Ranging

    Feb 18, 2011
    Hello :frow and Welcome To BYC!
  8. vehve

    vehve The Token Finn

    The dimmer switch would lessen the heating effect as well. If you want just heat without light, you could get a ceramic bulb for your lamp. But fixing those drafts would probably be a good idea too, at least around the roosts. You could put up some plywood to keep the wind off of them while they're sleeping.
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler!

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    24/7 light is not good for chickens.....and either is trying to heat the coop...... for a multitude of reasons, health and safety being first....and it won't keep your water liquid.

    Chickens have feathers that are very warm, they will be fine in the cold weather....turn the heat lamp off now so they can get used to the cold and grow adequate feathers.

    Back to basics...lots of draft free ventilation and dry bedding.

    ETA:Sorry this didn't post before

    Ditto this^^^^^^
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2014
  10. Mflood

    Mflood In the Brooder

    But I live in Michigan and they might actually have some snow in their coop....

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