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Light was on, but they were at the door with no interest in laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by kprhok, Feb 24, 2009.

  1. kprhok

    kprhok In the Brooder

    Feb 18, 2009
    After asking a question about leaving lights on, and getting some great responses, I decided to turn the lights on at 5 am this morning (roughly 1.5 hrs before sunrise.)

    Two things happened:

    First, my rooster, which normally starts crowing at 4 am, stopped crowing. I didn't mind that at all.

    Second, when curiosity got the best of me, before daylight, I crept down to the chicken house to see what was going on. I thought I might find all of my chickens nicely tucked in their boxes, laying eggs, knitting, etc.

    Instead, the rooster was standing at the door, and all the hens were packed around him like fans at a concert, just waiting to rush through the door to the outside.

    My question about chicken behaviors: Should I keep the door locked until they've had an hour or two to sit around, or should I open the door at the first hint of natural light outside? I opened the door this time, they walked outside and looked around as if to say, "What are we standing out here for....I can't see a thing!"

    I think I really confused them...thanks an advance for comments that will help me find a good routine that will be satisfactory for the chickens.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009

  2. scbatz33

    scbatz33 No Vacancy, Belfry Full

    Jan 23, 2009
    South GA
    I maybe a little out in left field with this, but I just let mother nature do her thing. Chickens have been chickens for longer than we humans have been messing with them.

    I am constantly amazed at what even the day old chicks just "know". I wish I had a broody hen to take care of them because I think they loose something by being raised "artificially". But it still amazes me what thousands of years of knowledge is inherent in those little shells.
  3. CovenantCreek

    CovenantCreek Chicks Rule!

    Oct 19, 2007
    Franklin, TN
    It's going to take some time for their bodies to adjust to the additional light and come out of "winter mode". Having the light on early in the morning will encourage that to happen sooner, but it won't make them lay earlier in the day. You should see more eggs from them within a week or two, and maybe some of them will even be laid before dawn, but don't count on it. [​IMG]

    Edited to add: I usually try to feed my horses between 5:30 and 6:00 AM. After feeding them, I let the chickens out -- in one coop the light comes on around 4:30, in the other it comes on a 5:19 (just early enough for them to be awake before I get there). I don't wait for the sun to come up, by then I'm fixing breakfast for my daughter. The chickens aren't the least bit bothered by the darkness, they head straight to wherever they expect to find some scratch.
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2009

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