How many Hours of Light do Chickens Need?

K-12 Chickens

Songster
9 Years
Oct 6, 2010
2,177
27
194
Michigan
We are new to chicken keeping and had a question:


We are in the Eastern Time Zone and were wondering when to put a light in the coop. Our one Grey Leghorn whose name is Snowbell is already laying small pullet eggs.
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The other chickens( 2 Buff Orpingtons, 2 Silver-Laced Wyandottes, 2 Isa Browns and 1 Arucana) haven't started laying yet. How many hours of light will they need when the days start getting really short?
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joedie

Songster
10 Years
Mar 17, 2009
1,492
10
161
SW Indiana
When mine first started to lay they didn't need any extra light, they just layed straight thru the winter like clockwork. After the first season they started slowing down with the decrease in daylight. I've been keeping the light on in the coop now from dusk until dawn. Doesn't take much electricity for a single bulb. Or you could put the light on a timer. But I don't think you'll need to worry about it this year if they are young pullets.
 

woodmort

RIP 1938-2020
9 Years
Jul 6, 2010
3,524
977
301
There have been a number of posts on this topic in the last week--here's one https://www.backyardchickens.com/forum/viewtopic.php?id=223674 It may depend more on your latitude than time zone--where I live we get about 8 hrs of daylight in Dec. so I begin turning on lights at 6 am and off at 9 pm in Sept. If you live someplace where you get 12 hrs or so year around it probably isn't necessary.
 

K-12 Chickens

Songster
9 Years
Oct 6, 2010
2,177
27
194
Michigan
Yep! They stay on the roost once they've hopped on even thought the light is on. Our light normally goes off around 7:00 though.
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WoodlandWoman

Crowing
12 Years
May 8, 2007
5,717
80
283
Wisconsin
Mine normally go to roost well before the light goes off at night. It's a dim light, not bright and they can see through the windows that it's dark outside.
 

jh7192

In the Brooder
9 Years
Nov 18, 2010
33
7
23
Taneytown MD
Generally, birds require 14 hours of light to lay. As we are now just about to the shortest day (interms of daylight) you should be shining a light on the birds for about 4 hours daily. We get about 11 hours of daylight at my latitude. However, if the bird coop is near the house and the house lights shine into the coop or the birds can see the house lights, additional lighting may be un-necessary. Only very dim light is required- about 1 foot candle is adequate. To control electricity costs use compact fluorescent tubes, or maybe tube. From your description, youhave only a few birds, therefore a single tube should do the job.
 

Ole rooster

Songster
8 Years
Jun 25, 2011
2,083
43
196
Milner, Georgia
I've just about read all the post on time of daylight and egg production. My hens just don't care. It starts getting light here now at 7:00 and they're in the coop for the night at 5:30 and there all laying. From 7 hens I'm getting at least 5 eggs a day. My EE is almost an egg a day. So by the lighting guru's theory I should be getting maybe 3 eggs a day. So I don't know what's going on. I just put out feed and collect eggs.
 

BecciB

Chirping
6 Years
Mar 25, 2015
7
5
69
If you have a light on you would get 7 eggs a day, if you have 7 hens.
I sell my extras so it is worth it to me to have the light on for the extra couple of hours.
 

Den in Penn

Songster
8 Years
Dec 15, 2011
3,418
217
216
SE Pa.
If you have a light on you would get 7 eggs a day, if you have 7 hens.
I sell my extras so it is worth it to me to have the light on for the extra couple of hours.
Welcome to BYC.
Only if you have the very best egg layers should you expect 7 eggs a day from 7 hens. Even then the will take an occasional day off. Most good laying breeds will start out in a rush and do 6 days or so, then a day off then repeat. As the laying season goes on they will slow down. As to having the light on; there is a debate as to whether the light for a few more eggs is worth the stress on the hens. If you are wanting more eggs then its good. If you want them more for pets then it is looks at as bad. So it is something you have to weight in how you decide to manage your flock.
 

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