I set my timer for 14 hours of light


11 Years
Apr 28, 2008
SW of Greenwood, INDIANA
My hens were only getting twelve hours of daylight today. They quit laying about a week ago, so I decided to get a timer and increase the light time for them, but I didn't want to be changing it over and over.
I Googled for "sunrise sunset December 21, 2009, Greenwood, Indiana". From there I learned that on the shortest day of the year, December 21:
Sunrise will be 8:01 A.M. (Standard/winter time) in Greenwood, Indiana.
Sunset will be 5:23 i.e., almost 9 1/2 hours, so I had to add 4 1/2 hours of light using a 75-watt bulb.

I set my timer's time to Standard Time even though we are now and will be on Daylight Saving Time until November 1st, and for A.M. the light is to come on at 5:00 A.M. and go off at 8 A.M. For P.M., the light comes on at 4 P.M. and goes off at 7 P.M.

Doing it this way, they should get use to having three extra hours of light in the mornings and three extra hours in the evening making a total of the same, exact 14 hours every day this fall and winter until spring when I will shut it off.

Maybe my young hens will start laying this fall rather than waiting until spring.

EDIT: BTW, I also keep a 15-watt bulb turned on 24/7 so they can still see in the dark to go to roost after the 75-watt bulb suddenly goes out at 7 P.M. It's very dim, but it gives just enough light for them to see the roosts in the 24'x12' area in the barn where they will all be this winter.
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Great post we do pretty much the same with just different hrs. On 12-21-09 we will get sunrise at 10:59 A.M. sunset at 2:40 P.M. for a total of 3 hrs and 41 mins of light.
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Yes, nice post. What effect does this have on the chickens? Do they just carry on laying right through or do they get clapped out earlier than they would've done?
I have no personal experience, but I've read here on BYC that hens laying 365 days a year have fewer years of egg laying. After all, like humans, they only have so many eggs to develop in their ovaries.
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Joe, have you thought about doing all the extra light pre-dawn? There are no disadvantages unless you count having to wear a headlamp for after-dinner coop visits; and there are two very *large* advantages: 1) it gives you the benefit of whatever heat the bulbs are giving off during the time of day you most need it; and 2) it allows the chickens to have a natural gradual dusk to let them get on the roost easily, so you don't need that nightlight.

Just a thought,

Good stuff there Pat. I've just got the three ex-batts at the moment so I won't bother this year but now the coop and the incubator (see my BYC page) is almost finished that will change next year and I'll defo be thinking bout doing this next year.

Thanks, Pat, yes, I did consider the twilight. On Dec. 21st it will be at 7:31 A.M. (30 minutes before sunrise at 8:01 A.M.), and at 5:53 P.M. (30 minutes after sunset at 5:23 P.M.). I was afraid that inclement weather such as a dark storm or heavy clouds might block the twilight, leaving the chickens in total darkness. Of course those dark periods could occur any time during the day too, and that's why I leave it on for them 24/7. Really a 15-watt bulb is not all that noticeable.

I figured mine out to 15 hours and have it split to morning and evening it doesn't seem to bother them when it starts getting dark they hit the roost and just wait for the light to go out.
The last week or so it's really started getting really dark in the morning when I go out to check on them before I go to work. So far they seem to just be hanging out by the ramp in the light that is coming down through the trap door. Which makes me think I might need a light below in the run in the morning so they will at least hit the food bucket which is in the dark.

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