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Hen's not Laying? Chickens Require 14+ hours of light to keep laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by LoneCowboy, Nov 1, 2008.

  1. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Songster

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    I thought I'd make this it's own post since there have been A LOT of posts lately about peoples hens not laying.

    I want to remind you that Chickens require at least 14 hours of light in the fall and winter to continue to lay. Some might still lay a little, but for the most part the shortening of day light is a signal to chickens to shut down and take a break.

    I've been adding light to my coops now for over a month and I only have one chicken that's not laying. She sleeps in a dark nesting box so probably doesn't see the light

    If they have already stopped laying then you can still add the light however, some just won't start again until the cycle is complete for them.

    Add the light inside the coop and add it to the early morning rather than late night. This will help them go to roost normally as dusk comes and they still have enough light to find their roosts. Put it on a timer because missing even one day can send birds into a molt or shut them down for the winter.

    Depending on the size of your coop will depend on the amount of light needed. Some small coops work fine with a 15 watt bulb others need larger.

    Also remember that chickens lay best when the temp is between 45 & 80 degrees so if it gets too much colder they'll slow down some.

    According to "Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens" a 60 watt light 7 feet above the floor provides enough light to light 200 sq feet. A reflector helps increase the amount of light as well so you might be able to get by with a lower wattage.

    Even though they need 14 hours, Storey's says to keep them at 15 hours of light.

    Now there is a totally acceptable alternative and that's to let them have their natrual break. It does however mean store bought eggs for you. [​IMG]
  2. Colored Egg Farmer

    Colored Egg Farmer Chicken overload

    My chickens were at 14 for the summer lighting schedule and I was now told to add 2 more hours to 16 on 8 off... I guess I have to go find my poultry books and see what they have to say about that.
  3. da-cajun-angla

    da-cajun-angla Songster

    Jan 22, 2008
    i feel so stupid...i didnt know that! i was wondering why im only gettin 1 egg a day out of 5 hens. the weird thing is, i got 5 free hens thurs from mosquito control, and they r laying in cages with no nest box or anything, but my spoiled hens wont lay....so u put some lights w/ timers on to keep them laying huh? duhh, i feel stupid..lol

    EDITED for language. Please review the rules of posting at BYC which include.

    1. Remember this is a family board no swearing / foul language and no inappropriate "Adult" topics.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 1, 2008
  4. Grindlefamily

    Grindlefamily Songster

    Mar 30, 2008
    Fairfield, ME
    If I add the 4 hours of light to the morning - before sunrise, that would be 2 am - that doesn't seem to make sense to me.

  5. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Songster

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    Mine currently comes on at 3:30am. That's what they need to keep laying. But not required. Some people just let them take their break. You could add it at night, but then the light goes out abruptly and they freak out and can't find their way to their roosts and that stress isn't good for them. This is what all the chicken books say to do.
  6. mistylady

    mistylady Songster

    Jun 1, 2008
    Ohio near Coshocton
    I need some kind of solar light on a timer ... there is no electricity near the coop! Does anyone know of anything that will work for me?
  7. LoneCowboy

    LoneCowboy Songster

    Aug 26, 2007
    Longmont, CO
    You might have to go with a battery operated light and a solar battery charger. Which is basically what a solar light is, but you'd have to put the parts together yourself. I don't know of any solar lights with timers.
  8. cackle

    cackle Songster

    Jul 8, 2008
    North Carolina
    Quote:I don't know how far it is from your house to the coop but we use long orange extension cords. Have them running all over the place. To the meat chickens to the electirc fence...
  9. ticks

    ticks Pheasant Obsessed

    Apr 1, 2008
    The Sticks, Vermont
    We were only getting 11 hours of light and I have been getting 3-4 eggs out of 4 hens.
  10. welman

    welman Songster

    Jul 16, 2008
    New Hampshire
    If the hens have not started laying yet but are due to (19 weeks) would it still be OK to let them go without the extra light? I'd hate to mess up their systems before they even start but extension cords and solar lights might be out of my reach!

    Thanks for starting this thread!

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