How many hours of light

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dragonlair, Sep 5, 2010.

  1. dragonlair

    dragonlair Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 29, 2008
    do hens need to lay? The days are getting shorter and I was wondering when they were going to slow down. Also, I have 14- 12 week old pullets. Will they start laying this fall or wait until spring if i don't run lights for them? They are an assorted flock, though I think most of the pullets are EE's.
  2. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    I believe the commercial egg producers keep lights on 12 hours a day.

    Some of yours may not lay before spring, but I'll bet you'll get eggs from some at around 20 or 22 weeks. I have a few EE's and I got the bluish eggs somewhere around 22 or 24 weeks, but I got mine much earlier in the year. My birds never stopped laying during the winter, they just slowed down, and I did not provide light.
    Last edited by a moderator: Sep 5, 2010
  3. D'Angelo N Va.

    D'Angelo N Va. Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 28, 2009
    They need 12-14 hrs. a day of light. Hmmmm as far as laying this year or next, my guess is they will start later this year, but not too will see an increase next year. EE's (or atleast mine) tend to do pretty well laying into the cold months....
  4. MustLoveHens

    MustLoveHens Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 1, 2010
    Albion, Wisconsin
    Chickens cycles run on light and to a point tempurature. The more light there is-ie longer days- tell a hen that it is spring. This is why the commercial egg houses keep lights on with the temp constant. They are simulating spring which is the optimum time for hens to lay. The father south you are you have a longer lay cycle and the farther north you are the shorter it is. This is not to say you won't get eggs in winter but the amount will be less and your hens will lay more sporatically.
    In answer to how much light they need it is 12. I've also heard 14 but 12 sounds more correct to me. This is also why the commercial houses keep them under lights. They get 2 eggs every 24 hours-sometimes three.
    As for the average backyard hen, you will see a drop in egg production at moulting time (late summer into fall) and a decrease in egg production throughout the winter (October-November). In spring the hens cycle back into heavy production. In more southern climates this production drop can be not as drastic as those father north who have much longer hours of darkness.
    As for your pullets, Im thinking you wont see eggs from them until spring. You might get an egg before then but I think it's getting a little to late in the season. You also might get a random egg from them during the winter.

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