Lighting & heating the coop? Chicks hatched July 21st

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by ADozenGirlz, Oct 18, 2009.

  1. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

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    I'm BRAND NEW to BYC and chicken raising. We got our layer chicks July 23rd this year and are wondering about the "How-TOs" of artificial lighting & heating in hopes that they will begin laying this winter. We live in Connecticut and there are fewer daylight hours every day at this time of year.
    What is the best way to artificially light our 12 chicken coop? (ie: how many hours after dusk,how many before dawn?).
    Also, what is an ideal temperature for our coop? We have electricity run out there and would like to keep them comfortable, but not toasty warm. I purposely bought cold-hardy breeds (5 Plymouth Rocks, 1 Australorp, 2 silkies, 1 Orpington, 4 Easter Eggers) but would still like to provide some warmth in the colder days & nights.
    Thanks!
     
    Last edited: Oct 18, 2009
  2. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

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    They need about 14 hours of light for max production, and any artificial light should be added in the mornings.

    Let them go to roost with the natural light, and get them up early

    Heat is not normally needed if your coop is dry and draft free
     
  3. Chicken Chat

    Chicken Chat Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Are you able to plug your light sorce into a timer? It will make your life a lot easier. I am glad to see that you did your homework and decided on cold tolerant breeds. They shouldn't have any trouble with the cold as long as your coop is draft free, just make sure that your roost bars are wide enough for them. They need to be able to fully cover their feet (toes) with their bodies to prevent frostbite.
     
  4. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

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    Thanks for your replies. We do have a timer, I just wasn't sure when to set it for optimal lighting conditions.
     
  5. lovmyrodies

    lovmyrodies New Egg

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    hi, i'm in CT too. my coop is 4X6. do you think a 125watt food warmer bulb is too much heat/light in the coop or would a lesser watt bulb be sufficient? thanks
     
  6. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    See my 'cold coop' page (link in .sig below) regarding coop temperature. Readers' Digest version: you will not have to heat a well-managed coop in CT with your breeds, and probably *should* not unless you actually see problems happening. Honest. Chickens are NOT people. And they come already wrapped in thick down jackets, too [​IMG]

    Others have already covered the light issue -- basiclaly you just need enough light to read a newspaper at chicken level without making your eyes hurt, for 14 hrs a day, I prefer the idea of adding all the light pre-dawn (when it gives you the most useful 'heat boost') but some use light after sunset too without any trouble once the chickens get used to it.

    Your chickens will probably not all begin laying this fall, though -- chances are that at least some of them will 'give it a pass' til days lengthen again in Jan or Feb. No matter what you do with lighting at this point. So it would be good not to have a sort of 'whatever happens happens' attitude [​IMG]

    Good luck,have fun,

    Pat
     
  7. lovmyrodies

    lovmyrodies New Egg

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    Thanks so much for the advice!
     
  8. EGGTASKTIC

    EGGTASKTIC Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I find the energy efficent bulbs 9w = 60 to be a good light source. I get the ones that have the extra cover over the spiral-- they look more like a regular bulb. I use a timmer and as all have said get the girls up early. Next I am adding a 5 gal bucket with a deer feeder spinner attached to it to give them some scratch at 5 am to keep them active.

    Remember Dry cold air is ok. Cold damp stale air is bad.
     
  9. ADozenGirlz

    ADozenGirlz The Chicken Chick[IMG]emojione/assets/png/00ae.png

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    Thanks for all the feedback. We put a low-energy bulb in the coop on a timer to go on at 5:00 a.m. for extra light as it gets dark at 4:45pm right now. Despite the fact that my screen-name is "A Dozen Girlz" one of our 12 "GIRLS" turned out to be a ROOSTER recently and was rather vocal at 5:10 am today before the sun even came up. Ugh! We'll keep her though as "she/he" was always our beloved runt and is so pretty now that we're attached to "him/her".

    As for heat, we decided to by a "ThermoCube" that automatically turns the power on at 35 degrees and off at 45 degrees- it is attached to a red heat lamp inside the coop. Seemed like a reasonable solution to my neurosis that my birds may be uncomfortable at temps below freezing (and I'm sure it's more my concern than theirs!).

    I still welcome any additional input. Thanks to all!
     
    Last edited: Nov 5, 2009
  10. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

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    Quote:That is really much, MUCH warmer than they need it. Honest. You are running your electric bill up for just *no reason*. In a well run coop I have seen no evidence of chickens being "uncomfrotable at temps below freezing", truly. (Not til it gets real cold, I mean)

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     

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