Light in coop?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Tinkerchick, Nov 6, 2007.

  1. Tinkerchick

    Tinkerchick In the Brooder

    Jun 26, 2007
    Heber City, UT
    I want my new hens to lay eggs in the winter and I heard that they will if you put a light out in the coop. How long should I keep the light on out there? And is there anything else I can do?
  2. NS2A

    NS2A Songster

    Jun 11, 2007
    You need 14 hours of light a day. So, figure from when the sun rises until it sets, then add an amount to equal 14 hours.

    To add the light on the end of the beginning of sunrise/sunset is up for debate. So is adding any light at all.

    Use the search function for all the opinions.
    Last edited by a moderator: Nov 6, 2007
  3. Mulemom

    Mulemom Songster

    May 8, 2007
    Sacramento, CA
    I put a light in my coop and it works! I was not sure if I should, but when I went out there and turned on the light on a dark day, the hens would all run in and hang out in the light. That was before they were even old enough to lay eggs. I think the light makes them happy. Maybe that's why it helps them continue to lay, but the fact that I'm getting 14 eggs a day out of 24 hens that are 24 weeks old makes me happy too!

    I bought a cheep timer ($11) at Walmart and the light comes on at 5am and goes out at 7pm. My girls put themselves in the coop as soon as it gets dark, but they don't go to sleep untill the light goes out. They are walking around talking and eating, it's like a slumber party in there now untill the light goes out! Sometimes I get to go out an join the party for a while. I like that too!
  4. bigzio

    bigzio Crowing

    Jan 20, 2007
    Yep, adding light to equal 14 hours correct, however it's best to add all the additioal time in the AM to equal 14 hours so the hens can go to roost with normal light. Imagine getting caught on the dark floor when the light suddenly goes out, or in the middle of drink? Then find your way to the roost in the dark. It just makes a better situation for the flock.

  5. SandraChick

    SandraChick Songster

    I would like to re-iterate that adding light in the morning is better than in the evening.

    Be aware that with some flocks, the addition of light can make them uneasy and they may start to peck at eachother. This problem is seen more often with evening light, but happens with morning light also.

    Also think of the fact that hens do need some "time off" to do things like help replenish calcium to bones, as well as other nutrients. THe lack of light also helps the hens' body know it's time to molt. Molting is an important process, but you don't want them to begin moulting when it's freezing outside (especially if they end up in a hard moult) .

    I noticed that the hens that I allowed to hatch young, layed later in the year and also layed more consistantly after "their break" than the others (I keep track of each hens' laying daily).....which just strenghthens my thought that breaks are important. Remember, factory chickens don't need a break, because the factory just gets rid of them after 1-2 years....Us backyard chickeners keep chickens for their lifetime--so a break is warranted.

    If living in the far north- adding light to continue laying can be a good thing--especially since the winters are so long, but I recommend making sure they get at least a little bit of time off each year.

  6. johnnyjack

    johnnyjack Songster

    Oct 21, 2007
    keep the light out let them rest for the winter.they will still lay enough to feed you if ya got 24 hens.
  7. I have a love/hate thing with winter. It is so pretty and I like the time off to read and play with puzzles but I always feel sorry for my outdoor animals.

    I'm considering adding a heat lamp to the coop but I don't want a light on out there 24/7. It is already getting down to around 20 at night and in a short time that will read minus 20. Of course, the girls decided to go through a hard molt - some, like my turken, are almost naked. I wish I could find a safe heater for the space.

    Any suggestions to help them grow some feathers a bit faster? I've been adding cat food and oats to their daily diet.
  8. therealshari

    therealshari Songster

    Apr 18, 2007
    Beryl UT
    When we built our coop, we made the walls a full 8 foot high. By the time you get to the roof peak, that's nearly 9 foot.

    We have a light with the a reflector on it that hangs from the center of the roof peak. Right now, we're using a 40 watt bulb but will soon switch to a heat lamp.

    Our chickens are awakened early (about 1AM) by the light and are then let out into the yard between 7:30 and 8:00 AM. The light goes off around 9 AM.

    In the evening, they happily come into roost shortly before dusk... about 15 minutes after sunset.

    So far, the lamp has also helped raise the heat enough to keep the water founts from freezing solidly.

    We're located in the high desert country of SW Utah... about 40 miles west of Cedar City and our nights have been averaging about 20 degrees with a dip to 15 degrees.
  9. Tinkerchick

    Tinkerchick In the Brooder

    Jun 26, 2007
    Heber City, UT
    So I guess I should let them rest most of winter. I think I might extend the light for a couple of weeks then give them a break.
    Thank you all for your info.
  10. Wildsky

    Wildsky Wild Egg!

    Oct 13, 2007
    I have a ceramic heat bulb I used for my girls in their brooder - if you don't want light you could use one of those. They're used more for reptiles.
    My fitting also has a dimmer type switch so I can turn the heat high or low.

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