I supplemented Light but they still aren't laying

Discussion in 'Feeding & Watering Your Flock' started by lindzmae, Dec 1, 2014.

  1. lindzmae

    lindzmae Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi all,
    About 2 months ago my flock stopped laying. I assumed this was due to molting (which some were) and light. Right now only on eof my chickens is molting, I have supplemented light for ~2 weeks now, and still nothing from these girls. Should I just wade out the winter? Or is there something else I can do to kick these pre-madonnas into laying mode lol.
    I live in northern florida if that helps at all. I don't mind them resting, but don't want to spend the electricity on light if it isn't helping :/

    Lindsay
     
  2. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener True BYC Addict

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    What are you using for a bulb? How big is your coop? When does the sun come up and set right now, and when does the light come on and go off? They do not need very much light at all to kick start the laying. I've heard that it takes a month for the light to take effect. The goal would be to take the current hours of day light, and add 1/2 hour of extra light/week until you get them up to 14 hours/day. I started supplementing over a month ago. My light comes on at 6:30 AM, off at 8:00 AM, on again at 3:30 PM, off at 8:30 PM. I use a 7W CFL in a 10 x 12 coop. My girls have started picking up the pace nicely in the last week. They've gone from 1 - 3 eggs/day prior to adding light to their current 8/day. (15 girls, with 4 older ones who are in varying stages of completing molts)
     
  3. pdirt

    pdirt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    We're up near the Canadian border. I found out during our first year with chickens that we should have started adding light around mid September. We did start until nearly November. We did similar to what lazygardner mentioned, added 1/4 hour per week until they were up to 14 hours of total light a day. I think it took 6-8 weeks to get there, but it worked. I heard that if you just suddenly increase their light, it can shock them and it won't always work.
     
  4. lindzmae

    lindzmae Out Of The Brooder

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    Wish I knew that sooner. Our sun still rises around 6:30am and sets at 6:15pm (although the girls tend to go into their coop for bedtime at 5ish. Our coop and run is 10x12 for 7 chickens. We have a 500 amp work light that comes on at 3am and off at 6:30am. Because I apparently shocked them, should I turn it off and start over? Glad to know it takes almost a month because I was getting worried for their systems. I know its nice to give them a break but am missing my eggs :(
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Stay consistent. Leave the light alone for now. Length of light is not what is important. What makes the difference is changing the length of daylight. As days get shorter, chickens tend to quit laying and molt. As days get longer they tend to start laying. Chickens near the equator never see a total of 14 hours of light in a day yet they follow the same pattern.

    When a hen goes from not laying to lay mode, she has to change her internal plumbing, get that system fired up and ready. She has to start growing some ova into yolks. It’s not like turning a switch on or off. It takes time. A hen also has to store up a certain amount of fat in reserve before she starts to lay. If they have molted they may need to build that fat reserve back up. So even if all the feathers have totally grown back the effects of the molt may not be finished.

    If you start messing around with the light, bouncing it all over the place, all you will do is confuse them even more. Be consistent and they will adjust. Patience is your friend right now.
     
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  6. lindzmae

    lindzmae Out Of The Brooder

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    thank you so so much.

    It's our first full year with the girls!
     
  7. echale3

    echale3 Out Of The Brooder

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    Molting is an entirely natural process that hens need to do, and it's controlled by photoperiod. As mentioned before, this time is when the hen lets her plumbing recuperate so she'll be ready to lay at peak performance once the days get long enough.

    Even in commercial settings where hens are in enclosed houses, hens are molted by manipulating photoperiod and diet.
     
  8. RonP

    RonP Chillin' With My Peeps

    I posted this on another query, this is how I do it, works extremely well, hope it helps:

    There are a lot of opinions on supplementing light to keep the chickens laying during time period where there is less than 12-14 hours of available daylight.

    My coop gets 16 hours of light 351 days per year.

    I turn lights off for 14 days to have birds go into a controlled moult late September .

    Having had to install electricity for the thermostatically controlled water heater, I took advantage and installed a lighting system.

    My system has two timers. The first is set to turn the lights on at 5:30am, off at 9pm.

    Power goes on, passes through a photocell, then to a 300 lumen LED bulb, 4.8 watts, in the 8x8 foot print coop, and 2 4.8 watt LEDs for the 14x14 foot print outside run.

    I light the run because I found the birds huddled outside the coop door in the dark one 5:30am morning...
    They have access to the run 24/7, as it is as secure as the coop.

    The lights are on only when it is dark enough outside to be necessary.
    The time on very closely mimics my Summer Solstice in NJ.

    The second timer is set to go on at 8:30pm, off at 9:30pm, a diffused 200 lumen LED 4 watt bulb.
    This low light allows the birds to settle in before all lights out and 8 hours of darkness.

    This system costs less than $5 per year to operate..
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    Here's my take and experience on supplemental lighting.

    Older layers need 14-16 hours of light to lay regularly thru winter. Last winter I used a 40 watt incandescent light(this year I am using a CFL) that comes on early in the morning to provide 14-15 hours of light and they go to roost with the natural sundown. Last year I started the lighting increase a bit late(mid October), the light should be increased slowly, and the pullets didn't start laying until late December. Here's a pretty good article on supplemental lighting. Some folks think that using lighting shortens the years a hen will lay, I don't agree with that theory but I also plan to cull my older hens for soup at about 3 years old.
     
  10. lindzmae

    lindzmae Out Of The Brooder

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    I plan to cull mine as well when they are 3 years old (the oldest one I have now is 1.5).


    How much was the start up cost? photocells can be pretty expensive. We plan to eventually make our whole house solar power but after I pay off all those darn student loans :( Right now I estimate the light will cost $4/month; but I'll only have to use it October-February since we have lots of light here in the sunshine state
     

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