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Egg Laying & Shortening Daylite Hours?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Sunnysidedown, Sep 12, 2014.

  1. Sunnysidedown

    Sunnysidedown In the Brooder

    Apr 13, 2014
    Hi there!

    We live in central Va roughly along latitude 37 degrees and are wondering if extra coop lighting during the winter is required to keep the eggs rolling here.. A friend of mine grew up here with 30 chickens on his farm and he says that they had eggs all winter with no problem without extra lighting. We just have 5 hens (mixed) and now I wondering if hooking up extra lighting in this area (Va) is needed? I've read that when natural day time lighting drops below 12 hours that's when hens stop laying and a 40 watt bulb inside a small coop is enough to keep the hens going all winter as long as the light timer keeps at least 14 hours of light in the coop. Anyone here find that extra lighting is not required? Esp those who live along my same latitude (Virginia)?
    Thanks for any answers.

  2. iwiw60

    iwiw60 Crowing

    Jan 27, 2014
    Central Oregon
    There are pros and cons to extra lighting during the winter. Some people do it, others don't. Me personally? I don't provide extra light during the winter months for the simple reason they deserve the rest. Besides, if I was a chicken I sure wouldn't want bright light on me 24/7.

    Keeping lights in your coop you run the high risk of fire.
    And no amount of eggs is worth the destruction of your flock and coop/run, not to me anyways. It really boils down to what each individual decides to do...I wish you all the best... [​IMG]
  3. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Crowing

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    I use a 40 watt bulb in a metal brooder lamp hood hooked to a timer. If you secure your light properly, the risk of fire is small. I suppose that heated water bases could cause a fire also. My chickens have gotten 14-15 hours of light for 21+ years and I have never had a problem. Just keep the bulb & hood free of dust etc.
  4. Sunnysidedown

    Sunnysidedown In the Brooder

    Apr 13, 2014
    Thank you for your replies!

    Yes 24/7 lighting would be overdoing it for sure but if I go the lighting route it would just be enough to provide at most 14 hours of lighting. At my latitude (you both are farther north than I) the daylite here will drop to 12 hours on Sept 26th so I only have about a week to beat that clock with supplemental lighting. As I understand it once the hens go dormant it's very hard to get them laying again so they have to be acclaimated to extra lighting early to prevent them from stopping. (please correct me if I'm wrong).

    My next questions would be :

    1) Do they stop laying 100% until the natural daylite expands back to 12+ hours? Here that would mean a egg break for about 5 months. But if they just slow down rather than quit altogether I could live with that and not use lighting

    2) Does a winter egg laying break extend the hens laying lifetime? I'd rather have hens that continue to lay for a couple of extra years over hens that exhaust their egg laying years in a shorter time by forcing them to lay with extra lighting in the winter.

    Again, many thanks for your feedback!

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