Is there such a thing as too many hours of light for chickens?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Do I look like a chicken, Aug 15, 2007.

  1. Do I look like a chicken

    Do I look like a chicken In the Brooder

    Aug 15, 2007
    Western Oregon, U.S.A.
    Do chickens require a period of darkness? I installed a photocell on my hen house to light it at night with a low wattage bulb and the chickens don't seem to mind. They seem to be plenty rested and aren't acting abnormal in any way. We raised them from chicks and kept the light on at night all throughout their lives. They have all turned out to be big, healthy, beautiful birds. Does anyone think that I should douse the light for any reason other than to save energy? We'd hate to be unwittingly harming our birds in some way by not providing them with some darkness if that is necessary.

    Thanks for any replies.
    Mike [​IMG]
  2. chickbea

    chickbea Songster

    Jan 18, 2007
    I'm certainly no authority on this, but here's what I think...
    Light has to do with egg production in the hen; when the daylight decreases in the winter, hens will slow or stop laying. Factory farms encourage high production by keeping their birds in about 23 hours of daylight, or so I've heard. That isn't good for the long-term health of a bird.
    I suppose if your bulb is no brighter than the moon would be, it wouldn't hurt your birds. Is it like a night light?
  3. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Crowing

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    14 hours of light per day makes a good layer -especially in winter.
  4. PurpleChicken

    PurpleChicken Tolerated.....Mostly

    Apr 6, 2007
    My chicken farmer friend asked me about how I am handling giving my chickens light.
    He likes to test me since I'm a chicken newbie, then tell me how to do it. He's
    an old Yankee farmer from Vernon, Ct. He doesn't raise chickens anymore since there
    is not much money in small scale chicken farms. He does raise several hundred
    turkeys that he charges top dollar for. The yuppies up here have no problem
    dropping $100 for a fresh Thanksgiving turkey.

    He told me 16 hours of light is critical for egg production. He also said florescent
    light is not good. incandescent or sodium halide work well. I'm assuming this is
    because they provide the full sprectrun of light unlike florescent.
  5. Do I look like a chicken

    Do I look like a chicken In the Brooder

    Aug 15, 2007
    Western Oregon, U.S.A.
    Thanks for those replies folks. In my books I can find all kinds of references mentioning minimum lighting for good egg production, but nothing referring to maximum light, leading me to believe there is no such thing, thus my post. What you've all said makes great sense, especially about the type of lighting. Right now I'm using a compact florecent that is about 24 watts but is equivelant to 60 watts incandescent. Perhaps too bright and certainly from what the old chicken farmer says, the wrong kind of light. I'm thinking that I will put the light on a timer instead of the photocell. Only prob with that is it will need adjusting every now and then as the nights come sooner moving toward winter. I can handle that. Maybe I can find one of those new fangled autoadjusting timers, eh. Anyway, thanks a bunch.

  6. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    There are studies that link excessive light exposure to ovarian tumors in poultry. Light 24 hours a day is not healthy for them. 14-16 hours a day will boost egg production if you desire it or you could just let them follow mother nature's plan.

    Best wiring scheme for turning off lights a specific period of time is a photocell wired in line with a timer. The photocell will turn the lights on at dusk, the timer can turn the lights off at say 10:00 PM and turn them on again at 6:00 AM and then the photocell shuts them off as the sun rises.
  7. Do I look like a chicken

    Do I look like a chicken In the Brooder

    Aug 15, 2007
    Western Oregon, U.S.A.
    Mac, shortly after posting my last, your suggestion about the photocell combined with a timer ocurred to me and it sounds like the thing to do. Actually, I'm not so much looking to extend our hens production, it's more of a comfort to the birds, so that they return to the HH and get on the roost before losing all light. We live out in the sticks and it gets real dark fast and we don't want them caught out roaming around in the dark. The light is just more of a beacon that indicates it's time to come in for the night.

    Thanks for your reply.


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