Lighting and egg laying.

coolcanoechic

Songster
8 Years
Oct 7, 2011
990
87
138
Raymond, New Hampshire
My Coop
My Coop
From what I have been reading, it seems that there is a 25 hr laying cycle.
I have 2 chickens that are 20 months old. A Plymouth Barred Rock and a New Hampshire Red.
Every day, I go out to the coop and turn the lights on at 3 am. They are already awake and waiting for me. Then in the afternoon, they put themselves to bed early......around 3:30 or 4pm. Dusk comes around 4:30 or so. They hang out on their roost ( awake ) until it gets dark.
I think I am giving them enough light to lay, and they have been giving me one to two eggs a day.
As usual, I went out this morning at 3 am to turn on the lights and found an egg on the floor of the coop with no shell....weird.
I am going to take it as a fluke egg for now since there has been no previous egg shell incidents and the shells are always hard.
What I am wondering about is, do chickens lay at night, because of that 25 hr cycle thing? Seems they have been laying earlier and earlier each day.

Two other things to note:
I have their coop light on a dimmer switch. I turn it all the way down before sunset, so they will go in at night. It sort of acts like a night light. It gives just barely enough light to see. I know chickens can't see in the dark, so I give them a tiny bit of light at night so they won't freak out if there is something that startles them. Is this too much light? Should I just shut it off at night?
Second thing to note: I am trying to break one of the girls bad habit of sleeping in the nesting box, so I have been closing it off at night and opening it back up in the morning at 3am when I go out there to turn on the lights. She is sleeping on the roost now, but I don't know how many days to do this to break the habit. It has only been 3 days so far.

Anyway, I guess my biggest question would be about the lighting situation and egg laying times. I have been trying to keep an exact routine for them every day. I guess I'm just a bit confused.
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Nonny

Songster
8 Years
May 16, 2011
601
36
156
Brisbane, Australia
With my girls, the egg usually arrives a little later each day (definitely not a strict 25 hour cycle though. One one day I might get an egg at 4am from Penny and one at 10am from Tuppence, then the next day both might lay in the afternoon). If I get one that arrives later than, say, 5pm or so, I know she will probably skip the next day and go back to laying in the morning the day after. This isn't set in stone though.
 
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Imp

All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle
11 Years
Sep 7, 2008
14,453
181
318
The Emerald City
My Coop
My Coop
Sounds like you are doing well, very well.

New layers are sometimes erratic egg layers. They are still trying to get things working correctly. I wouldn't worry about the shellless egg, unless it continues frequently. It happens with older layers too.

Yes chickens can lay at night, laying from the roost is brought up occasionally. I don't think it is common.
My experience is they lay mostly in the morning hours, but can lay later in the day occasionally, and at night rarely.

The light won't hurt them at all. Some of us have lights on all the time. If you want to shut it off that's OK too.

I usually see posted a few days to a few weeks to break them of a bad habit.

Good luck,

Imp
 

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