hatching -lights on or off?!


7 Years
Nov 13, 2012
Hi, Was wondering if at night when your chicks are in process of hatching, with some of them not quite there yet, and others hatched, do you leave the lights on or off! Does it help with hatching or hinder the young chicks by not letting them rest? Any ideas? What's your preference? Does it matter at all?
If it were at night under a broody, it would be dark. If under a broody hen, even during the day it would be pretty dark.
When in doubt, I follow nature's lead.
Yes, I see what you mean! So, off with the lights tonight then! Am still interested in hearing what others think too.
I thought I'd add that once they're in the brooder, lights 24/7 for the first 3 days (well I guess that would be 24/3 wouldn't it) should be on so whenever they get the urge to eat or drink, they can. After that, an 8 hour night for a while helps.
To accomplish that, I use ceramic heat emitters rather than infrared heat lamps.
I actually like to leave the light on for them, they scream much less I find. I think they like to see each other if they cant they get upset, nothing to cuddle with. You'll notice they will cuddle in the incubator together.
So mixed ideas then. Last night I switched the lights off. They seemed OK. I gradually dimmed them, so as not to upset them!
Lights off in the incubator always with gamebirds. Even though coturnix aren't the most aggressive and don't often cannibalize there is still plenty of possibility of it happening. When it happens in the incubator you're either going to lose a chick or lose the pipped eggs when you open the door to deal with it.

UC Davis research suggests the best results came from lighting chicks 24 hours a day for the first 7 days. THen switching to a 8 hours light 16 hours dark schedule from day 8-40. From day 40 on return to a 16 hour schedule.

Birds raised for meat ONLY can be kept on an 8 hour light period for their entire lives (You can also feed them 30% starter the entire time). This suppresses sexual maturity so that the birds aren't wasting their energy fighting or mating. Keep in mind this will grow birds the fastest but is only for meat birds since it can damage fertility.
I read an article that recommended using lighting in an incubator either for 12 or 24 hours a day would improve hatchability and result in less stressed chicks and also using red LED lighting can be used for same reason. It was also recommended that light was left on for a few days during and post hatch to enable the chicks to eat and drink 24/7 in the most important days following hatch.

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