Light bulbs inside coop at night

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by chriscruz, Nov 22, 2015.

  1. chriscruz

    chriscruz Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 5, 2015
    Santa Cruz, CA
    The nights in Santa Cruz are not freezing, but do dip into the high thirties and low forties. Is it o.k. to leave a 60 watt light bulb on at night for 4 month olds or is that not necessary and does it mess up their internal clock?

    Chris Patton
  2. OrganicFarmWife

    OrganicFarmWife Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 21, 2015
    No where Nebraska
    Not nessisary, chickens do not need to be kept warm, especially not at your temps. Adult chickens can survive below freezing temps comfortably as long as their coop is draft free and dry. The biggest danger to the bird is their legs, so a large enough roost, wood not metal, is recommended. Is there any reason, other then you wanting to keep them warm, that you want a light?
  3. Folly's place

    Folly's place True BYC Addict

    Sep 13, 2011
    southern Michigan
    Lighting 24/7 isn't a good idea, and as the previous poster said, no heat is needed. Next winter, you may consider using that light on a timer to come on at 4 am. so the birds continue to lay in during the short winter days. Mary
  4. chriscruz

    chriscruz Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 5, 2015
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Thanks for the response! No other reason to keep light on. They do roost snuggled side by side.
  5. chriscruz

    chriscruz Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 5, 2015
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Good advice - thanks! They aren't laying yet, but I will keep the timer idea in mind when they do.
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Chris, I took this when the temperature was 4 degrees above zero Fahrenheit. If a cold wind were blowing they would not have been out, but since it was calm they were enjoying the sunlight.


    I’ve had chicks less than six weeks old go through nights with the lows in the mid 20’s Fahrenheit. Yours do not need any heat at all.

    Having lights on 24/7 will mess them up. There are several egg defects that can be caused by too much light. They need their dark downtime just as much as we do.
  7. kimmypooh246

    kimmypooh246 New Egg

    Nov 23, 2015
    So should we not have heat lamps on in the winter? It get below freezing in Montana
  8. Hokum Coco

    Hokum Coco Overrun With Chickens

    Dec 6, 2012
    New Brunswick,Canada

    I am subject to -40º weather l live in Canada think North Pole. I have been keeping chickens and birds for decades.

    Your best practice I find is to not be too concerned about winterizing or heating your coop to help your birds combat the cold.

    Predator proofing "ABSOLUTELY".

    Your efforts should be spent in winterizing your birds and letting them acclimatize to their surroundings.
    This is done by feeding them whole corn if available or cracked corn as an added supplement in a separate feeder.

    The extra nourishment is more then adequate to bring them through the
    "COLDEST" winter.

    Do keep an eye open for birds that maybe not be adapting well to the new menu and may be at the lower end of the pecking order they can sometimes run into problems and may need extra TLC.

    That being said in a perfect world the flock will flourish and do just fine .

    I do not add any extra heat or lighting.
    Egg production does slack off but I have more than enough eggs for the table all winter long (24 hens).

    Some people may disagree with my method but it has worked well for me and I am not about to change.

    I look at it in the same light as winterizing your car.

    You really do


    have to winterize your car if you can keep it in a controlled environment at all times otherwise you are in for

    "MAJOR" problems.

    When it comes to lighting if you find you are short on eggs it does apparently help. I personally do not bother in my operation eggs are sold only to neighbours when they are available (if the sign is out I have eggs). Eggs in my operation have a tendency to crack and freeze during the winter months (we do not discard them and are fine but use them in house not for sale) the more eggs you produce during these months the more eggs will fall into this category.

    I have roughly 24 Golden Comet hens the longest I ever been out of eggs can be measured in hours >12<24. You will find that the egg supply in any hen is a finite resource the quicker you milk the eggs out of a hen the faster it will be spent and end up in your stew pot.

    On average one hen produces somewhere between 600 to 700 eggs in its life time. Lighting only effect the speed of delivery of the eggs which at the end of the day would amount to less than a year in the hens life is my guess

    If you do decide extra lighting is necessary have your light on a timer to lengthen the day "MAKE SURE IT IS SECURED BY 2 MEANS OF SUPPORT" one being a "SAFETY CHAIN" in case one fails especially if it is an incandescent bulb or heat lamp.

    I personally raise hens as a hobby; and for their manure to enrich my vegetable garden any thing else the hens provide is merely a bonus.

    Here is one BONUS NOW not many people can enjoy seeing in their back yard on a regular basis.


    Nest boxes
    In my nest boxes I fold a feed bag to fit (nest boxes are 1 ft³). When a bag gets soiled; fold a new one; pop out the soiled; pop in the new. Feed bags are a nylon mesh bag.
    Frozen poop just peels off in below freezing temperatures and just flakes off in summer when left out in the sun to bake and dry.

    I have 65 trips around the sun it is the best method I have stumbled upon.

    Make sure the twine is removed from the open end of the bag it can get tangled around your birds.


    Last edited: Nov 23, 2015
  9. chriscruz

    chriscruz Out Of The Brooder

    Oct 5, 2015
    Santa Cruz, CA
    Thanks for all the good advice! I love the idea of using the old feed bags - I have dozens of them and usually recycle to the feed store, but will place them in the boxes now! We have resorted to an electric fence around our vegetable garden in the summer to keep the deer out - they are constant companions in our orchard and we don't mind them eating the apples, persimmons, oranges and grass.

    -Chris from Santa Cruz

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