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Lighting schedule for layers, how important is it?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by Kmhv04, Mar 19, 2016.

  1. Kmhv04

    Kmhv04 Out Of The Brooder

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    When I was a kid, my family raised chickens from chicks to laying hens. We did things a bit different compared to what some people are suggesting on here. We did things very simple and I don't remember ever losing a chick. We used a big box with newspaper in the bottom, chicken wire on top and a clamp lamp for a brooder. I don't ever remember knowing the precise temperature or using a thermometer to gauge temp. Like I said...simple. Now....for my question....

    My question is: After reading through a chicken hatchery pamphlet there is a box of info on "Lighting Schedule for Laying Hens". It has some strict guidelines for lighting. So, do you do anything special with lighting for your laying chicks or do you just use natural lighting and supplement extra light in winter months?

    **See PICTURE below to clarify what I meant by lighting schedule for chicks being raised to be layers**

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016
  2. BongeDundee

    BongeDundee Out Of The Brooder

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    My hens don't have any light in their nest box. They lay during the day, even when it's overcast or "dark" because it's raining. I didn't supplement any light this winter either. Even though there was no additional light, most of my hens continued to lay. Part of the reason why I didn't provide light was because I read somewhere that if you hold off on providing light, then hens won't lay during the winter and will lay longer in the long run. It's really up to you though. I just find that it's easier and it even saves money because I don't have to run electricity out to my coop for that.
     
  3. azygous

    azygous Chicken Obsessed

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    This is the forum for raising baby chicks, and it seems you're asking a question about laying hens and supplemental light? Or are you asking about heat lamp temperature guidelines from the first week through age four weeks for baby chicks?

    If it's laying hens you wish to discuss, it would be better to wander on over to the chicken behaviors and egg laying forum.
     
  4. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    Lots of people supplement lighting during the winter months to encourage continued laying, with no ill effects. It usually involves putting a low wattage light or even string of Christmas lights in there on a timer, set to go on at a whatever time will approximate the 14-16 hours of light for optimum laying. For instance, they may set them to go on 4am and off around 7, or whenever the sunrise is. Otherwise the chickens tend to take a large part of the winter off. Pullets will usually lay well during their first winter, but older birds not so much.

    It's strictly a matter of personal preference. I don't supplement. I figure Good Lord gave them a schedule and it includes a little time off during the winter to replenish what an egg laying season takes out of them, so I ain't messing with it.

    I'm also big on keeping it simple. I brood outdoors in the run with the adults. Chicks are in a wire pen and can see the Bigs, and the Bigs can see them. I generally have full integration, with little or no interference from me, by the time the chicks are 4 weeks old. I don't use a heat lamp, just an easy metal frame made from scrap fencing, straw packed inside, all around and on top, and a heating pad. I don't take temperatures under the pad...if the chicks are happy, I'm happy. I'm in northern Wyoming and brood chicks even when temps are in the teens and twenties, so some kind of heat is essential out there, but I distrust 100% heat lamps or clamp on lights. One person can use them, just hooking one up at random and go 50 years without a problem. Others put one in for the very first time, secure it like Fort Knox, and burn down a coop. Since I'm already old, the odds are against me! [​IMG]

    But all of this is up to you. If there was only one way to raise chicks and chickens, this entire web site would take half an hour to read! [​IMG]
     
  5. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    I took it mean a little of both, @azygous <sigh> I'm probably way off base, again! [​IMG]
     
  6. Kmhv04

    Kmhv04 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 15, 2015
    British Columbia, Canada

    Actually it is for chicks....the pamphlet says to start at 3 days of age with .... I am trying upload the picture, but like others have found, it's tricky....
     
  7. Kmhv04

    Kmhv04 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 15, 2015
    British Columbia, Canada

    Thank you. What this schedule from the pamphlet was telling me was to start at 3 days old. Once I get the picture uploaded I think it will solve the confusion. I also did a poor job titling my question. It is meant in regards to chicks being raised to become layers.
     
  8. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    In that case you are golden. There is no special lighting requirement for chicks to become layers. They just need warmth, good food, a clean environment, and fresh water.
     
  9. Kmhv04

    Kmhv04 Out Of The Brooder

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    Oct 15, 2015
    British Columbia, Canada

    Were you able to see the picture I just added? Is this common? I thought it sort of strange as we NEVER did anything like that. After reading it in this pamphlet/guide I second guessed my experience (it's been like 15+ years though since I raised chicks...). I want to start a solid foundation for good consistent layers, so I figured I'd ask other BYC members.

    Thank you all a ton for your quick and kind responses!
     
  10. Blooie

    Blooie Team Spina Bifida Premium Member

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    If you have time, please wander over and take a look at this thread.

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/956958/mama-heating-pad-in-the-brooder-picture-heavy-update

    Not only do I think that the lighting requirements in that pamphlet are "off", I think they are actually a bunch of hooey! There are lots of us who are raising our chicks with no lights at all - just a heating pad. The surprising finding was that chicks do BETTER if they have a natural day/night cycle, just as they would under a broody hen. She sure isn't providing those chicks with 23 hours of light, and they aren't awake 24/7, running all over the place, eating continually, and then dropping where they are mid-run in sheer exhaustion. Neither are Mama Heating Pad raised chicks.

    These are my chicks. The video starts out dark. Granted, for the first couple of day they were in the house, when we actually intended them to be out in the run from the start. But hubby had a medical emergency and ended up going to the hospital from the ER, so we were a bit tardy getting the outside pen put up. But they were out there before they were much older than this video, and all other chicks I raise are out there too, right from the start. These chicks grew up quickly, are strong and active, and laid well all through the winter. So you are right to wonder about that statement!! Good for you for questioning that!

    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Mar 19, 2016

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