Lighting a Small Chicken Coop HELP!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by hen madame, Sep 13, 2013.

  1. hen madame

    hen madame Out Of The Brooder

    74
    11
    43
    Sep 13, 2013
    Madison, WI
    OK, here is the main reason I finally joined the site today---I am slowly losing my mind on trying to figure out the appropriate lighting system for my small coop and run. My chickens all of the sudden stopped laying eggs this week. I'm in Wisconsin so I guess with the shortening days that's not too surprising, though I admit I thought this wouldn't start until October. My house is in a valley and the coop is under some trees that haven't lost their leaves yet, so I'm wondering if the decrease light intensity might be affecting them?

    Anyway, as I said the coop is small and a lot of the information I am running across seems to be related to larger chicken coops (walk-ins) that would be much bigger than mine. The coop is wired, but the power will be coming from and extension cord I have read on this forum that some folks use LED rope lights but I'm confused with what color white I should try...warm, cool, clear, full spectrum? Also, I was concerned that the material used in these ropes might be harmful to the chickens (some use silicone to make them waterproof).

    CFLs scare me because of possible breakage and mercury, or is this a silly concern? I mean, is it common that the birds break the bulbs? Because of the size of the coop the bulb wouldn't be all that far from my hens when they roost.

    Also how intense should the light be in the coop (lumens)?

    Maybe I'm just making this more complicated than it is. Any input is appreciated.
     
  2. TOP KNOT

    TOP KNOT Chillin' With My Peeps

    703
    55
    138
    Mar 10, 2013
    SHERIDAN IL
    If it were me, I would get a plant grow light or a light for reptiles that gives the needed vit D. Just an idea, I have not yet lighted my coop, but I have thought about it.
     
  3. appps

    appps Overrun With Chickens

    4,766
    576
    281
    Aug 29, 2012
    Australia
    Why don't you just get a solar light that will stay on for an hour or so then turn off. Nothing to catch fire or break as they are just led bulbs.
     
  4. Ciqala

    Ciqala Chillin' With My Peeps

    316
    26
    121
    Apr 14, 2013
    New Hampshire
    Just yesterday I found little battery operated LED lights that look just like bulbs that you screw in and have a pull switch at the dollar store. I don't have electricity out to my coop, I hung it up and it's fantastic.
     
  5. jetdog

    jetdog Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,282
    130
    148
    Jun 18, 2013
    Massachusetts
    I bought a 13 inch led light at Lowe's, I think it is arou
    nd 100 lumens doesn't get hot and I have it on a timer, it has a protective cover over it I just stapled the cord up high so they can't get to it. It's only aboutan inch wide a a foot long.
     
  6. MEMama3

    MEMama3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,511
    78
    148
    May 23, 2013
    Vacation Land; Maine
    I have white icicle lights in my coop. My coop is only 4' tall. I secured the lights around the edges and then staples the icicles randomly up to the roof so they don't hang down. My girls could easily reach them from the roost, but none have even tried. It works beautifully and stays nice and cool to the touch.
     
  7. hen madame

    hen madame Out Of The Brooder

    74
    11
    43
    Sep 13, 2013
    Madison, WI
    Thanks folks for all the suggestions...Question on the LEDs, are they a warm or cool white?
     
  8. MEMama3

    MEMama3 Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,511
    78
    148
    May 23, 2013
    Vacation Land; Maine
    LEDs are cool white. I really don't think the type of light makes too much difference. The trick is to be able to read a newspaper in the light your provided. Then you know it's bright enough.
     
  9. hen madame

    hen madame Out Of The Brooder

    74
    11
    43
    Sep 13, 2013
    Madison, WI
    OK, sounds good. I was thinking about using some old LED outdoor Christmas lights (warm white) that I have around the house...should be good enough to read a newspaper by, I would think.
     
  10. 4Girlz

    4Girlz New Egg

    1
    0
    6
    Nov 11, 2013
    I'm a little late getting to this dance, but I too have a small 4 x 4 coop for 4 laying hens that we got this spring. All of the suggestions I found were for larger coops too and I was at a loss as to what to do. I understand that you need to supplement the light in the morning hours so the chickens can go to roost at normal sundown times. If you light the coop in the evenings and then all of a sudden turn out the lights, the chickens cannot see well enough to find their roost which can cause stress - something us chicken pet lovers want to avoid! So we put in a timer to come on at 3:15 am and go off at 7:15 am which gives the hens approximately 13 hours of light currently. (You can look up sunrise/sunset times for your area and adjust the timer accordingly as times change.) Ideally, they need 8 hours of total darkness to sleep and 14-16 hours of light to continue laying.

    The first night, we put in a 25 watt bulb to come on at 3:15 am. This was the first time we closed the coop pop door all year. The hens have a very secure coop/run so this was not a problem in warmer weather - they just woke up and let themselves out when there was enough light. Well, the first night/morning the light came on like clockwork. The only problem was that for our small coop, it was so bright I guess the chickens though it was high noon. Lucy, my leader and loudest, started cackling non-stop when the light came on and they could not get out the pop door! Because of all the commotion, soon, the owls were gathering in the woods hooting and looking for an early breakfast (didn't get much sleep that night because of all the noise!). Thinking the light was just to bright, I removed it and put in a little 4 watt night light. That worked a bit better - they seemed to adjust better that first morning but that really didn't satisfy me either - I thought they needed a little more light than that. So began my quest for something stronger that a night light but dimmer than a 25 watt bulb.

    I soon ran across this blog talking about keeping dog houses and water warm in the cold Utah winters and an idea was born! Here's a link to the blog. http://utahbirddogs.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=2&p=95376

    We used the same technique with a paint can but we punched bigger holes all the way around the can and placed the 25 watt bulb unit in the end of the can, attaching that to the wall of the coop with the lid removable to change the bulb. I really like this idea. It lets enough light in the coop but the bulb is enclosed in case of breakage. I made a few adjustments but so far this is working great for our small coop.

    I'm also scared of heat lamps and fires! I don't like the idea of heating a coop but we don't have insulation and am concerned about the hens in the upcoming winter so we made the same thing except we didn't punch holes all around - just two in the back to vent - and used a regular 40 watt bulb. The idea is to just give enough heat to supplement what the hens put out on their own without making it too toasty. Tomorrow night the temps will be in the 20s so we'll see how that works.

    Hope this helps!
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by