Does your coop need light?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by digitS', Nov 9, 2008.

  1. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
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    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Does your coop need light?

    University of Alaska Fairbanks "Provide layers with 14 hours of light. This will require artificial light through much of the winter. A 20 to 40 watt bulb on a timer is adequate for 12 birds."

    University of Saskatchewan poultry scientists in Saskatoon tell us that when pullets are past 20 weeks of age, "Gradually increase from 12 to 16 hours/day"

    Consistency is important with any livestock and probably greatly so with chickens. In South and Southeast Asia, these birds evolved with nearly equal day and night hours. Of course, they are now in poultry operations and backyards, all over the world.

    So, do you need supplemental lighting? I think it all depends on where you live. I live near the 49th parallel but since the US center of population is somewhere in Missouri and Canada has only a little more than 1/10th of the US population, I'm sure that most people with backyard chickens live to the south of me.

    Since I'm at about 48° North latitude, I'm confident that my hens benefit from artificial light. I spent a little time today to try to find out how much natural light is available at various latitudes in North America. I looked at latitudes north and south of me and wrote down some numbers using sunrise & sunset information for December 21st. Here's what I came up with:

    28°N
    • Orlando, Fla.
    • Corpus Christi, Texas
    10 hours 20 minutes

    38°N
    • Sacramento, Calif.
    • St. Louis, Missouri
    • Washington, D.C.
    9 hours 27 minutes

    43°N
    • Boise, Idaho
    • Milwaukee, Wis.
    • London, Ont., Can
    • Manchester, NH
    8 hours 56 minutes

    48°N
    • Victoria, B.C., Can
    • Grand Forks, N.D.
    8 hours 23 minutes

    53°N
    • Edmonton, Alb., Can
    7 hours 27 minutes

    58°N
    • Juneau, Alaska
    6 hours 23 minutes

    65°N
    • Fairbanks, Alaska
    3 hours 43 minutes

    I hope I did the math right, and I'll let you decide if your laying hens need supplemental light [​IMG].

    Steve
     
  2. wendy

    wendy On the Hill

    Jun 14, 2007
    central louisiana
    I have played around with the artificial light this year. I know ours need it or I don't get as many eggs. And I sell eggs and we eat alot of eggs ourselves. But I do give the a break some days of the week from the light. That is how I am handling it.

    Wendy
     
  3. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
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    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    Wow, Wendy!

    . . . and you are down there near the 28°N line . . .

    Steve
     
  4. Laskaland

    Laskaland ThE gRoOvY cHiCkEn

    Aug 2, 2008
    Nebraska
    digitS' :

    Does your coop need light?

    University of Alaska Fairbanks "Provide layers with 14 hours of light. This will require artificial light through much of the winter. A 20 to 40 watt bulb on a timer is adequate for 12 birds."

    University of Saskatchewan poultry scientists in Saskatoon tell us that when pullets are past 20 weeks of age, "Gradually increase from 12 to 16 hours/day"


    38°N
    • Sacramento, Calif.
    • St. Louis, Missouri
    • Washington, D.C.
    9 hours 27 minutes


    Steve

    Steve!
    Thanks so much for the info!
    Have a great day
    CHristina​
     
  5. Toast n Jelly

    Toast n Jelly Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 29, 2007
    St.Charles, QC
    Well I waited until all those that needed to molt did and have their new feathers almost in. I added light starting last night to go on a bit longer in the evening and on about 5 a.m. and we shall see how that goes.

    I really think that they should be given the time to molt and of course, we're talking about the older hens, the younger ones were still laying throughout the fall. I think that we will have good strong shelled eggs and some jumbos at that. [​IMG] I'm in Quebec, Canada.
     
  6. BeardedChick

    BeardedChick Chillin' With My Peeps

    Quiet Steve's Digits, my chickens don't know they could be taking a break. [​IMG] We are getting about 10 hours, and while they aren't laying full tilt, production is decent.
     
  7. wendy

    wendy On the Hill

    Jun 14, 2007
    central louisiana
    digitS' :

    Wow, Wendy!

    . . . and you are down there near the 28°N line . . .

    Steve

    the last two years before in winter we did not use a light. and one day we would get a egg, then none, then 2, then none, etc. i had trouble getting a dozen in 2 weeks time! i got hooked on fresh eggs and could not imagine buying store bought [​IMG]

    wendy​
     
  8. We still get 5 eggs a day from 5 birds. Your stats show they are about 5 hours short. We are a little south of Milwaukee. Should I ad light????
     
  9. gottaknit

    gottaknit Out Of The Brooder

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    May 28, 2008
    I'm in Oregon (45). Last winter I didn't use any light and still got plenty of eggs, about 2 a day from 3 hens. However, it was their first year, which I understand is their best.

    This year I haven't had a single egg in a month, so I rigged up a light yesterday. I set it so that they will get 16 hours of light total. Any idea when I'll start getting eggs again....? [​IMG]
     
  10. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

    2,119
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    Dec 12, 2007
    ID/WA border
    I gotta say, I'm a little surprised that people "down south" would have much of an interest in lighting but if it works for you, then nothing succeeds like success.

    There are different ideas about natural light vs. artificial light. If you are in the north and the birds would be spending 2/3rds of their life sitting on the roost in the dark, I can't see how anyone would think that would be healthy.

    I started giving the birds 14 hours of light when daylight hours dropped below 11. I don't know if that was a good time to start that, or not. We're down to 9 1/2 hours of daylight now and will lose another hour over the next month. Also, it has been cloudy with rain nearly every day for a couple of weeks. Sheesh . . . dark and dismal but, hopefully, the birds aren't suffering from Seasonal Affective Disorder or anything of the sort.

    You can check your current daylight hours by clicking on that link in the original post. And, that information from the University of Saskatchewan (Saskatoon, 52°N) is generous. Be sure to read what they say about lighting and then scroll down to near the bottom of the page to Table 1, "Lighting Programs for Laying Hens." Saskatoon is on its way to having over 16 hours of darkness out of every 24. . . if people are going to have chickens there, they need some kind of break from that! And, these folks are giving the best advice they have.

    Steve
     

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