Drop in egg production? About Supplemental Light in the Coop...

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ADozenGirlz, Oct 26, 2011.

  1. Yes, I light my coop.

    4 vote(s)
    66.7%
  2. No, I don't light my coop.

    0 vote(s)
    0.0%
  3. Undecided. I'm not sure whether I will or not.

    2 vote(s)
    33.3%
  1. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

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    Oct 18, 2009
    Connecticut
    You may have noticed a drop in egg production over the past few weeks and that's normal this time of year. Providing supplemental light for your hens is TOTALLY a personal preference. Some folks choose to give the hens a "break" while others prefer adding light to the coop for a few hours a day to promote egg-laying. Again, completely a personal preference. If you choose to add light to your hens' day, here's the text from my blog post that can be found here: http://networkedblogs.com/ncx5f
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    "Supplemental Light in the Coop

    As summer winds down and daylight hours grow shorter, you may notice a decline in your hens’ egg production. With decreased daylight hours, a hen’s egg production will decline naturally. Some folks view the change of seasons as a good time for the girls to have a break from egg-laying, others encourage egg-laying in the autumn and winter by providing supplemental light in the coop. Whether to light the coop or not is a personal decision for each chicken-keeper to make.

    How does added light encourage egg-production?

    A hen’s ovaries are stimulated to produce eggs by the many glands that comprise her endocrine system and the endocrine system is stimulated by light. Adding supplemental light can fool a hen’s endocrine system into believing there are 12-14 hours of light in the day, causing the ovaries to produce eggs as it did in the spring and summer months.

    When and how to add supplemental light?

    Sunlight fades gradually and at dusk chickens prepare to settle into their favorite roosting spots before darkness falls. Chickens have poor night vision and cannot find their roosts in the dark. Adding supplemental light at the end of the day, allows no transition time for them to get positioned for sleeping. This can cause confusion, stress and possible panic leading to injuries. It is better to light the coop in the morning as they will not object to instant sunrise.

    Setting a light on a timer that turns on in the early morning hours is the recommended method for lighting the coop. To allow 12-14 hours of light in the day, ccalculate backwards from sunrise to determine how many hours the light should be on. For example, if the goal is to provide 13 hours of light during the day when sunset is at 6pm and sunrise at 7am, the timer should turn the light on at 5am and off at 6:45am. The timer will need to be adjusted every few weeks to keep pace with the solar system.
    The amount of light needed will depend upon the size of your coop. The amount of light is not critical, it should just be enough to allow the hens to see inside the coop. I have an 8 x8’ coop and I use a 6 foot, incandescent rope light above the roosts, which is enough to simulate sunrise. In my 4’x6’ coop, I use a small string of Christmas lights in the coop and, since we have an electronic pop door opener, I hang strings of Christmas lights around the run and set the pop door to open when the lights turn on. Festive and functional!"

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    Last edited: Oct 26, 2011
  2. csummer8882

    csummer8882 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Apr 20, 2011
    Rockingham County, NH
    Thats wonderful! I have a small coop and have been worried about placing light bulbs in there. Seeing Christmas lights, I am now encouraged and I think that I may put lights in there now! Thank you so much!
     
  3. SundownWaterfowl

    SundownWaterfowl Overrun With Chickens

    I light the coops. Light comes on around 5:45-6pm and stays on a couple of hours. I've never had any problems with the birds "This can cause confusion, stress and possible panic leading to injuries.", from adding the light at the end of the day. If I don't put the light on at night, they won't even go in the coops, they'll pile up at the entrance door and I have to pick them up and put them in.
     
  4. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

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    Connecticut
    Quote:You're welcome!
     
  5. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

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    Connecticut
    Quote:How old are your chickens that they don't go into the coop at dusk by themselves without a guiding light? I'd say that's the exception and not the rule.
     
  6. SundownWaterfowl

    SundownWaterfowl Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:How old are your chickens that they don't go into the coop at dusk by themselves without a guiding light? I'd say that's the exception and not the rule.

    Some are a year or two. They are Silkies though, sort of stupid. [​IMG]
     
  7. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

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    Oct 18, 2009
    Connecticut
    Quote:How old are your chickens that they don't go into the coop at dusk by themselves without a guiding light? I'd say that's the exception and not the rule.

    Some are a year or two. They are Silkies though, sort of stupid. [​IMG]

    Ah-ha! That explains it. [​IMG]
     
  8. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    I do dimly light, on a 5 am timer, year 'round in the barn. Goes off at 10 am, year around. I do chores at 6 am, so I need to be able to see anyhow. This hardly "pushes" them, as we only get 7 hours of natural night during the darkest days of December anyhow. They are allowed 13 hours of darkness and sleep. Egg production drops a little bit, but that is fine with me.

    In the summer, the sun is pink at 5:30 am and it doesn't get dark until after 10 pm in June. Those are the extremes up here.
     
  9. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

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    Jun 17, 2011
    Morristown, AZ
    Good idea with the rope lights, we have always us a single 25 watt bulb on at 5:30am and off at 7:30pm and there are no issues with birds not finding the roost. We do not feed in the hen houses so when they all go in they simply get ready for the night as there is really nothing else to do.

    I have heard folks say they have had issues at lights off with their birds, but never seen it in any of our flocks.... [​IMG]

    The dimmer bulb also is to lessen shock at lights on and off in our hen houses. We use light because our nice warm winters give us some of our best laying as long as there is enough light daily and summer slows our girls down when 100 to 117 for highs here in AZ.

    May have to try the rope light....
     
  10. Aemelia

    Aemelia Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 28, 2011
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    I'm taking a lazy noncommital route to lighting. I'm turning on my back porch light which lights up the run at 6:15am. That's also when I open the door and let them out. They are usually awake already anyway at that point, at least they have been so far. We aren't getting as many eggs already and I honestly don't think the light is making much difference to them but I need to turn it on anyway to let them out.
     

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