leaving the light on 24x7?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by aharriso, Dec 22, 2011.

  1. aharriso

    aharriso Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 13, 2010
    Raleigh, NC

    I am new to owning chickens. My chicks are 8 weeks old and have been in their henhouse for 4 weeks. I put a brooder light in the house to help keep them warm as the temperatures have been ranging from 30 - 50 degrees at night over the last month - I live in NC. I have been leaving the light on 24x7 to make sure they have some source of warmth but now I am wondering if there is any problem with this? They have just learned to roost - all 5 of them were up on the roost bar huddled together when I checked on them last night (so sweet). Up to this point they have been huddling in their bedding under the light.

    Is it ok to keep the light on all night or do I need to do something different?

    Thanks for any advice!
  2. howfunkyisurchicken

    howfunkyisurchicken Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 11, 2011
    The only problem I've ever had with leaving a light on 24/7 is picking. They have all that extra time to get bored and start pecking each other. My grandfather always told me he never put lights on his layers because it made them "burn out" faster. I'm not sure how much truth there is to that, but it kind of made sense to me so I've never left a light on my birds outside the brooder. At 8 weeks old, I would think your chicks would have all the necessary feathers to keep themselves warm. Good luck!
  3. Capvin

    Capvin Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2011
    Lake Placid, FL
    I do not think that leaving the light on all the time is a good idea. Chickens need a period of inactivity and that comes when it gets dark. They can not see and they go on their roost and do not get off until it is light again. It may not be so important when they are only 8 weeks, but as they get older I would suggest that you put the light on a timer so it could come on early in the morning, like 5AM and go off when it gets light. In the evening just let it get dark naturally and then they will go on their roosts.
  4. aharriso

    aharriso Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 13, 2010
    Raleigh, NC
    Thank you both for your advice.

    I was keeping the light on for warmth but if you think they are old enough to keep themselves warm then I'll turn it off at night. They have a fully enclosed house (but not insulated).

    I was going to add a 4-5 week old Americauna to my flock. Do you think she will need the extra warmth (light) at night?

    Thanks again for the responses.
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    At 8 weeks old, they are no longer baby chicks, but juveniles. They need to be acclimated to ambient temperatures, and then allowed to live their lives more naturally, in my view. Perhaps you should could raise the lamp for a few nights and only at night, lowering the heat output. Then, do away with it all together. Last year, I brooded out chicks in fall and raised them through our winter of subzero temps. Once they were 8 weeks old, they did just fine, as they were fully feathered. Their youthful metabolism kept them plenty warm. Welcome to chicken keeping and to BYC.
  6. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I have a light in the coop 24/7. Hasn't caused me any trouble. It used to be posted on here a lot that white light might increase the picking, red light not so much. Isn't true by me, but others posted different experiences. I'm using a 13 watt CFL.
    I think the theory that thickens will burn out sooner isn't true. Hens have tens of thousands of eggs in their ovaries, way more than they will ever lay. And mine have all layed well till 3-4yo.
    30*F-50*F is not very cold to a chicken and Howfunky... is right-at 8 weeks they should be fully feathered and should be fine at those temps. If you want to eliminate the light you might want to acclimatise them gradually.

  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    Bringing in a younger chick, at this point, complicated things a bit. Yes, she will need some assistance, but not much. Likely she is an EE and they are very tough, in my experience, and have good body size and mass at a young age. The newer, younger, bird will need the heat you are providing for another week, but at 6 weeks, she won't need it either.

    Do expect some rough behavior of the existing flock toward the stranger!! I would highly recommend you place her in a small cage, with her own food and water, and place the cage in the coop amidst the other chicks. A kind of "see but not touch" transition period. After a few days, let her mingle with the others.
  8. aharriso

    aharriso Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 13, 2010
    Raleigh, NC
    You guys are great - really appreciate all the advice.

    Thank you Fred's Hens for that advice for the new pullet. I had heard that newcomers would likely be picked on. I tried to find the Ameracauna at the same age and time I was getting the others but could not. I may wait until I have a bit more experience. I appreciate your advice and will certainly use it if I decide to get her.

  9. ECBW

    ECBW Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 12, 2011
    I do not recall exactly age when my chicks stop needing a heat source. But I did you what you are doing... observe them closely. It comes a time when they would roost/sleep away from the heat source, that is when I pull the plug and save energy.

    If they are not quite ready and you are concerned about too long of lighting period... I used black light.
  10. hickchick55

    hickchick55 Chillin' With My Peeps

    I keep a nightlight on in my coop at all times. I believe it is not enough to interfere with their roosting, yet they are able to get to the nest box in the dark morning and lay if necessary. I don't have any more problems with "bombs away" off the roost.

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