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Is it time for the artificial lights?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by GroovyGallus, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. GroovyGallus

    GroovyGallus Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2009
    Genesee, ID
    Kind of a long post but looking for advice or insight. Thanks -

    We have just moved to a new farm and brought our 15 laying pullets and one rooster with us. They seemed to adjust very well to the new, roomier coop and love roaming around the farm. They are all about 7 months old and have been laying very regularly. We get between 10 and 14 eggs every day, in the nestboxes. They have always been quite good about laying eggs in the nest boxes from the beginning.

    THEN - we added 8 more hens that we think are a bit older than the others. All is well among the group after a bit of pecking order fighting. All the new girls have vents that indicate they are laying. And i saw one lay the other day.

    NOW - the # of eggs has drastically gone down. With 23 egg laying birds you'd think our # of eggs would go up but it is going down. We only get about 10 eggs a day now. We found a few in an odd place outside so kept them in the coop today until about noon. By then there were only 6 eggs!

    So while it is possible they are laying in other places around the farm, i am wondering what else could be the culprit. Specifically i was wondering if it is the diminishing light that is doing it. Seems like we have about 12 hours of sunshine and i thought that might be enough. Should we add lights now? When do most of you that add artificial light start?

    Any thoughts on what it could be?
     
  2. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    Some say 14 hours is minimum for winter to maintain egg production. I had read an off-site article that said one wants to maintain light to within 30 minutes of the longest day of the year. I am running at 13 to 13-1/2 hours and all seems well...excellent production so far. And that's all I know about this. I am thinking about allowing it to cut back a little more. I sort of subscribe to allowing the girls to follow the natural rythms of life...shorter days and less energy committed to egg production. Maybe next year as they are still less than 1 year old [​IMG]
     
  3. blueseal

    blueseal Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jul 3, 2008
    WALDOBORO MAINE
    i noticed my egg production has dropped the last 2 days. been getting a dozen a day or more and now only 6and 7 eggs a day. the days are getting shorter guess i should add a light. never had to the last 3 winters .
     
  4. Omani

    Omani Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 10, 2009
    Machias,NY
    How long have the two groups been together? Maybe some of the girls are still upset and are laying away from the tumult just to be safe.[​IMG]
    I know you're supposed to turn on a light for them in the winter to simulate summer lighting conditions. But what if they are out all day and come into the coop at night on their own?
    Also, what kind of bulb, I wonder? I've read that any bulb will do. I use a flourecent daylight bulb for my exotic birds with a timer so they get about 12 hours of daylight a day. They have not had a single soft shelled egg since I started using it.
     
  5. GroovyGallus

    GroovyGallus Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 28, 2009
    Genesee, ID
    We are planning on getting solar powered lights. They are only about 20 or 30 dollars and should be able to provide enough light. I don't know if it matters if they are regular incandescent or if they need to be natural light. Somehow i suspect just any light will be enough. when we do install them we plan on having a timer so that it comes on around 4 in the morning or so and goes off around 8am. Then when they go to bed at sunset it is the natural fading of the light. We are however, still contemplating letting them go through a nature cycle this year as they are so young - let their bodies finish growing.

    The two groups have been together for about 5 days and even in the very large yard area they stay in the two groups. Funny girls.
     
  6. mdbokc

    mdbokc Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 22, 2009
    Oklahoma County, OK
    I use a 60W soft white bulb in a 12 x 8 coop. The light is really focused on 2/3 of the coop as I did not want the light to be shining into nests as they prefer the darker look in there. They do gather around the light in the AM until I get the doors open for them to come out.
     

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