How should I change the lighting? Need Advise!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by dbounds10, Sep 22, 2011.

  1. dbounds10

    dbounds10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 15, 2011
    Fort Worth, Tx
    I have 6 pullets (4 have been laying about 6 weeks). Egg production is quickly falling and I assume it is the short days. I have heard you should not change the lighting to quickly or drastically because that could also effect the eggs. My coop has electricity and I have a 60W bulb in there now. I have not been turning it on at all since I used it to train them to put themselves to bed at night.

    I am thinking about setting a timer to come on at 5:30 or 6am every morning for the extra added light. Since it is still dark at that time, will the sudden blast of light be bad for them? How bright does the extra light really need to be? Should I change to a 25 or 40W? Also need to start thinking about some added heat pretty soon since my coop is not insulated. Even though we are in Tx, is can get into the teens at night.

    Need some expert advise on how to integrate the lighting change without stressing them and how to integrate the heat light from the regular light when it gets cold. I only have 1 light socket in there so I will have to physically change the white out for a red when it gets cold. I dont want to use one of those hanging lights for fire hazzard reasons.

    Any help would be greatly appreciated!
     
  2. SkyWarrior

    SkyWarrior Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 2, 2010
    Wilds of Montana
    I keep a light on when it's dark. It helps with egg production.

    I live in Montana, and it gets to be -30F at night sometimes. No heat. They do okay.

    Either that, or knit sweaters for them. [​IMG]
     
  3. dbounds10

    dbounds10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 15, 2011
    Fort Worth, Tx
    Quote:You mean you leave the light on 24x7?

    I dont want to do that I just want to have it come on about 5:30 or 6AM and then let it get dark naturally. But, I was afraid that just blasting them with a 60W bulb at 6AM when its still dark outside would freak them out.

    Anyone know if it will stress them?
     
  4. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Using a timer, try having the light come on at 5:00 am. Have it go off, when you wish. Mine goes off around 4 pm. Whatever daylight they get after 4 pm varies, of course, from winter to summer, but our light comes on at 5 am, year around. It hardly forces them, as 14-16 hours of daylight would, but having a few extra hours in the morning, consistently, allows for laying to be adequate, which I assume you are after.
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011
  5. dbounds10

    dbounds10 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 15, 2011
    Fort Worth, Tx
    Fred's Hens :

    Using a timer, try having the light come on at 5:00 am. Have it go off, when you wish. Mine goes off around 4 pm. Whatever daylight they get after 4 pm varies, of course, from winter to summer, but our light comes on at 5 am, year around. It hardly forces them, as 14-16 hours of daylight would, but having a few extra hours in the morning, consistently, allows for laying to be adequate, which I assume you are after.

    What wattage bulb do you use?​
     
  6. florida lee

    florida lee Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I have a timer on my coop light, it comes on at around 0530 and off at 0730. They seem ok with it. the sudden on light did not seem to bother them except they expect me to let them out right way (still dark), I make them wait until after dawn. Out of 11 pullets I'm only getting 3 eggs/day. still only getting 3 eggs day with the light - no change that's good. The other pullets haven't started laying yet.
     
  7. southerndesert

    southerndesert B & M Chicken Ranch

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    Jun 17, 2011
    Morristown, AZ
    We have a single 15 watt bulb in each hen house and run the lights from 5:30 am to 7:30 pm daily giving 14 hours light. Our girls lay well year round with this setup and the light is not too bright as to freak them out coming on or going out.

    Some worry their birds will not be on roosts at lights off, but ours seem to know when to get up there and we also do not feed in the hen houses so there is really nothing to do in there but roost or lay eggs....
     
  8. nuchickontheblock

    nuchickontheblock Chillin' With My Peeps

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    May 16, 2010
    south portland, maine
    we have a 40 watt bulb goes on at 4:30 and off at 7:30 am. But mostly they are out free ranging and put themselves to bed about 5 pm. Today it was dark and dreary, and for work reasons needed to leave them in the coop/run, so put the other 40 watt light light for the whole day. When it gets really wintery and short days, we'll keep the light on from 4:30 am to 6:00 pm They put themselves to bed early even in the middle of the summer when it's daylight until 9!

    We live in Maine and don't heat our uninsulated coop. Just keep a heater for the waterer so it doesn't freeze. They girls did fine last winter.
     
  9. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    To start off, you want to add additional light at an extra 15-30 minutes a week until their day length is what you want it to be at, say 14-16 hours, it's not the long day that stimulates them to lay, but increasing day lengths. With new pullets I start at the natural day length (around 14 hours here right now, if you include twilight) and add 30 a minutes a week until I get to a 16.5 hour day length. That is the longest day of the year here and avoids problems with them seeing longer, and then shorter days as we go into next summer. Our birds are replaced once a year, in the fall, so they never really come off of this lighting schedule. Once they are at 16.5 hours they stay there until they become somebody's chicken dinner at the end our annual laying cycle. If you wanted them to molt next fall, you would need to decrease the lighting at some point.

    It's generally not recommended to switch the lights off abruptly, as they need that sunset to go to roost, but turning it on abruptly in the morning doesn't bother them. We have a dimming light controller that controls the lights to mimic sunrise and sunset, but you can move the birds' photo period back and forth without any ill effects on production as long as the total period doesn't change. E.g., you only give supplemental light in the morning, and as the days get shorter you move their day 15 minutes earlier every two weeks. This always gives them a natural sunset, but in the depths of winter here in Wisconsin that means turning on the lights around one o' clock in the morning to give them a 16.5 hour day.

    The light intensity only needs to be enough to where you can comfortably read a newspaper in the coop. The color of the lamp really doesn't mean anything as far as heat goes, 100 watts is 100 watts, the red ones produce heat without bright light that can be annoying in some situations, but the white ones heat just the same.

    You really don't need supplemental heat in Texas. We had a backyard flock in West-Central Texas and they did just fine without any heat, they didn't even notice the "cold" weather (which is probably about 40 degrees warmer than our present home in Wisconsin in the depths of winter).
     
    Last edited: Sep 22, 2011

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