Lighting the coop for warmth and egg production?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by joyfuljourneys, Nov 16, 2009.

  1. joyfuljourneys

    joyfuljourneys New Egg

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    Oct 30, 2009
    We are having a cold snap here in Colorado (in the 20's to 30's). I know it can get worse at times, so I had set up the coop with a hook for a light. Currently have just a regular bulb in there. My coop is small (just 16 sq ft, about 4.5 feet tall, with 5 girls) so that is plenty to take off the chill.

    I am also experimenting to see if it bumps egg production back up, because we went from 4-5 a day to 2 a day. I had read that it can help, and I had read that it may do nothing.

    I now fear that I have totally thrown the girls off. I went out the back door about an hour ago (3-4 hours after sunset) to let my neighbors dogs out, and the girls all came tumbling down the ramp making their "oh good, here come some goodies" noise. They should be happily roosting right now.

    So will the light totally keep them thrown off, should I just set it to run through some part of the day, or will they adapt?

    I know that the heat isn't really needed at this point, but I still haven't sealed as many of the gaps as I had intended with my design. The coop is elevated with part of their run underneath to give them space out of the weather when needed. I had added sides underneath to give them more cold weather shelter, and have added a thicker layer of straw to the bottom of their coop for warmth.

    thanks for your wisdom, oh great chicken gurus!
     
  2. Eastins Eggs

    Eastins Eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2009
    Ceresco Nebraska
    When are you adding the light? Light should be added in the morning not at night. Set the lights to come on at around 4:00 or so in the morning.
     
  3. CrazyFowlFreak

    CrazyFowlFreak Pine Hill Farm

    Apr 24, 2009
    WV
    Adding a question, please. Can they have too much light?
     
  4. TipsyDog

    TipsyDog Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2009
    Aregua, Paraguay
    I have my light on for 1 hour past dusk. It goes on again about 5 AM in my area to give them more daylight. They should have darkness in between for sleep.
     
  5. Eastins Eggs

    Eastins Eggs Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jan 11, 2009
    Ceresco Nebraska
    Quote:Yes, chickens should have between 8 to 10 hours of darkness.
     
  6. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    No, they'll get used to it. It takes them a few days to get used to a new regimen. You don't have to add light only in the morning. Most people do that so that they can go to roost at the natural sunset so they aren't plunged into darkness when the lights go out. You can add light in the evening also if you provide a small night light for them to go to roost, or sequenced lighting, or even a dimmer that can simulate a sunset.

    Yes, they can get too much light. If the supplemental lighting is too bright or left on for extended periods they can get a little stressed out. It can lead to picking.
     
  7. joyfuljourneys

    joyfuljourneys New Egg

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    Oct 30, 2009
    well poor girls! No wonder they are a little squirrley! I am going to go turn off the light tonight and then figure it out from there. [​IMG] thnx

    No, wait. So if I add light in the morning, then do I need to haul my booty out there to open the coop when the lights are on? Not appealing. If I add light at night, will I have to coax them to bed? The light would be in the coop. They spend much of their time in the run as it has water, food, and a decent shelter that they like scratching around in. coop is for roosting and egg laying, as well as following another chicken in to when she might be doing something of interest lol!

    So in this scenario, when would you add light? and should I not fret about the temperature factor? Truly, the regular bulb has it to about 38 degrees inside, and it is about 20 outside. (I have christmas lights in my cold frame, and it has made a huge enough difference that spinach and lettuce as well as bok chuy are all growing, along with the herbs I transplanted in)

    I am just a newbie, and think of my chicken's as my pets and family (i know, i know, gag!) and am over-worried about the cold of the winter. I may just need a reality check, ya know?
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009
  8. numamahen

    numamahen Out Of The Brooder

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    Mar 13, 2009
    I hate to admit this but my girls - hatched last Feb, have lived with a red light since then. They have had 12-14 hrs of light (some with supplemental white light) & then red.... Today from 23 hens - we had 12 eggs. We too have had some up & down egg numbers here in Minnesota, temperature being colder - 20's in the mornings. Haven't added the heat lamp. Two florescent lamps - one white from 5:30am - 7, then from 5:30pm to 7 pm & one red. Reading the post on lighting in the morning - I supposed I should rethink. However, with what i get from eggs, I suppose we are doing ok. Any thoughts? My girls were really skittish when we did the white light. It has just been for about a week now. So I am still figuring it out. First winter with girls like this..... Good luck!
     
  9. Mac in Wisco

    Mac in Wisco Antagonist

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    May 25, 2007
    SW Wisconsin
    Quote:I gather you were leaving it on all the time? No, if you want to give supplemental light to encourage them to lay then 14-16 hours of light should do it. You can supplement light in the morning or morning and evening if you can figure out a way to get them to go to roost before the lights turn out completely, but the total light shouldn't be more than 16 hours.
     
  10. TipsyDog

    TipsyDog Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2009
    Aregua, Paraguay
    Quote:I think you need to add a light to a timer. I have a light on from about 4:30 PM to 7 PM. Then a night light goes on till 8 PM. That gives the impression of dusk and allows them to settle down on the roosts before complete darkness sets in.

    At 5:30 AM the timer turns on the light bulb. I don't go out to open the coop door. I have an automatic door opener/closer, but if I didn't I still wouldn't go out until I get up. They just keep themselves busy in the coop and lay eggs, etc. The general idea is to give them 12 to 14 hours of daylight. They do need darkness too for proper rest.

    Timers will really keep your work to a minimum! For heat (if I need it and only in EXTREME cold) I would suggest a red heat lamp on an in-line thermostat - this is the one I have http://www.morelectricheating.com/default.aspx?page=item detail&itemcode=FOST05341002 This can also be plugged into a timer so you're only heating from dusk to dawn as needed. I have heard from many people that the red heat lamp is less invasive than white and allows better rest. I plan to use it sparingly because my girls do need their beauty sleep! [​IMG]

    Good luck!
     
    Last edited: Nov 16, 2009

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