Light or no light????

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In the Brooder
7 Years
Jul 16, 2012
I have had chickens in the past and was always told to keep a light on during the night for better egg laying. Is this true? We are getting ready to have daylight savings time end here in Illinois, so it will be dark by 4:30 or 5 p.m. Any comments? What about a heat lamp? Is it necessary?
I like my hens to take their break during the winter, so I do not add any artificial lighting. They do still lay; just not every single day. But you certainly can add light and one of the easiest ways to do this would be to add a timer onto the light to have it come ON about two hours before sunrise and then go off. I do not like the idea of having the light come on after sunset since when the light goes off suddenly at night, there is no time to allow the chickens to get settled into their roosting spots for the night since they can't see in the dark. So having it come on a couple hours before sunrise works best.

I would not add a heat lamp since chickens can handle the cold (unless they are tropical birds like Seramas); but do make sure you have ample ventilation to prevent a lot of humidity inside the coop. If there is too much humidity, the wetness on the combs or feet can cause frost bite. If you have birds with very large combs, you might want to just rub some vaseline on them just as a preventative measure anyway.

Hope that helps.

I tried putting a light on a timer for my girls last winter. I had the lights come on about two hours before sunrise. Well, I went out one afternoon and it was about two hours before dusk and all the girls had gone to bed. It was bright sunlight out! I lured them back out into the run with treats. They came out, ate their treats, and went back to bed. That was the end of the extra lighting experiment!
I use a timer in the evening and in the morning. I have found that this keeps them laying during the winter. But keep in mind this will greatly reduce how long they lay eggs and how soon you will have to replace the hens.
i have reset the timer to come on just after sunset and turn off just after sunrise. this gives them 24 hrs of light. Its a little over kill but this also gives them some heat at night. around 10 degrees the next few nights. they don't seem to mind the light and go to sleep at night. They can see outside the coop at night due to the 3 large windows in the coop. I have 14 hens currently laying and i get 8-12 eggs a day!! but like i said before, this will reduce how many years a hen lays. If you make your hen lay during the winter then you will have to replace her a couple years sooner if you want a constant supple of eggs. I let them out of the coop at 6:00 am (it gets light at 7:00 am). If you want eggs then give them light! If you want pets that lay eggs then give them a rest during the winter and don't give them light and you will have great pets for many years to come. Don't get me wrong my girls (and guys) are pets and each one has a name but i also sell eggs and need a constant supply.
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