Encouraging egg laying using artifical lighting

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by fresheggs4u, Dec 6, 2007.

  1. fresheggs4u

    fresheggs4u Songster

    Dec 6, 2007
    Has any one used artificial lighting to encourage your hens to lay?

    I have 28 hens and went from 19 eggs a day down to one or none. I suspect the shorter days is why.
    I have seen numerous articles about using 40 watts bulbs to increase the light to at least 14 hours per day. I live in east Tennessee and our days are about 10 hours long now.

    My hens will not roost in the coop only outside. Do you think it would work to string lights outside in the pen? Would this encourage them to lay?

    I keep layena feed and fres water available all the time.

    The pen is about 800 sq. ft. with bird netting on top to prevent hawks.

    Any suggestions? I really miss the eggs! Also my customers are disappointed.

    I know it is natural for them to slow down in the winter, but stop!? Any help is appreciated.

  2. Godiva

    Godiva Songster

    May 17, 2007
    I don't have a whole lot of experience but I had two polish who stopped laying early in the fall and molted. I put lights in their pen and within a few weeks they started laying again. I put lights in the other chickens coops at the same time and they have been popping the eggs out nice and regularly. My chickens are in chicken tractors and I have one light per chicken tractor. I have 25 watt bulbs in right now and it seems to be working fine...

    I bet having light around in the pen would help if that is where they are all the time. Why won't they roost in the coop? Are the roosts outside more comfortable? Isn't it going to get a bit cold for them outside as the season progresses? IF they get cold enough they will quit laying too. As soon as I got my chickens out of the cold they picked their laying up almost instantly!
  3. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    I have a light that goes on automatically in the morning, probably between 4:00 and 5:00. It doesn't stay on all day, just gives the girls a head start on the morning. By the time I get out there (usually around 7:00, all 5 eggs have been laid. I'm just down the road a bit from you, in Williamson County, so our natural lighting conditions are similar. All my girls like to stay inside at night, and they're all young red sex links, which could make a difference.
  4. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    We use compact flourescent, much less energy draw and same light as a 40-watt bulb. You can buy a timer at hardware store, Home DEpot/Lowes for a few dollars that lets you set when the light turns on and off.

    Most people use it only to extend light in the AM, so that the chickens aren't surprised by a sudden blackness at night and can't find their way to the roost. Our days are REALLY short here in the frozen north so ours comes on at 3 and off at 6:30, when it starts getting light naturally. This increases their daylight to about 13 hours. I know 14 hours is what people use to get optimum laying, but I have a little guilt about disrupting thier natural cycles, so I'm using less. I figure if we lived south, say in Puerto Rico, they'd have 13 hours of light right now, right?

  5. Queen of the Lilliputians

    Queen of the Lilliputians Songster

    Apr 5, 2007
    I have a light in my coop also, although it's there to keep the waterer from freezing. I just hung my old brooder light with a reg. 100watt lightbulb in it directly over the waterer (a few feet up though, so no danger of meltage)

    I didn't set it up until cold weather set in a month ago... and we were down sign. in daylight hrs by that time. We were getting 1 egg a day out of my 27wk old pullets. Put the light in and.. the next week it was 2. The next week it was 3, then 5. A few days ago I got 10 eggs from 10 layers. HOLY COW! Feel like I'm swimming in eggs (thought I'd get maybe 3 doz from these ladies. If they keep up at the current average rate of 8-10 a day, I'll be SWIMMING in eggs!).

    Made a huge difference to my girls, albeit unintentionally.

  6. Farmer Kitty

    Farmer Kitty Flock Mistress

    Sep 18, 2007
    I have a 7 1/2 watt bulb in my coop that is on 24/7 due to the fact that it is pitch black in there when it's dark outside. I thought I would have to turn the higher watt bulb on when I got out to the barn in the morning once the natural daylight shortened but, out of 12 pullets I'm getting 10-12 eggs a day. [​IMG]
  7. NS2A

    NS2A Songster

    Jun 11, 2007
    I use a 40 watt bulb to put them in light 14 hours a day. I run it from 3am-7am and then its daylight around then. Since the snow, they don't go out at all, so it's farily dark in the coop. I am getting (basically) an egg per day per pullet.

    Not sure if I'd run a light, even a 7.5 watt 24/7. I think total darkness is good for them at some point.
  8. fresheggs4u

    fresheggs4u Songster

    Dec 6, 2007
    Thanks for your comments! I think i will try starting some lights this weekend.

    Any clue why my hens will not roost inside? They eat and drinkn in there and lay eggs inside, but will not roost. Is there a way to encourgage them to go inside?
  9. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    Apr 6, 2007
    I use artificial light also and our 10 hens produce 7 to 9 eggs a day.

    I'm concerned about yours. If they have already stopped laying adding
    light now may be bad for them. I'd just wait until spring at this point.
    Then add some light next Fall.

    Interupting their cycle now may interupt a molt that has already started
    or may mess with them in some other way. It may just not work.
  10. SeaChick

    SeaChick Songster

    Apr 25, 2007
    Southern Maine
    Sorry to hijack this thread, but what happens if a molt is interrupted? I'm begining to think that's what happened to our adopted BO. She arrived in October and we had lights on. She hadn't had any at her old home. She had started to molt and it is now progressing VERY slowly. Having never witnessed a molt I don't know if that's normal and I'm worried that our additional lighting messed her up somehow. Is there anything I can do? (should I move this thread???)

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