Lighting the coop with food in the run

Sep 22, 2019
Ontario Canada
We are new to backyard chickens and have been getting a lot of information from all of you. Finally decided to join and participate. We have built a great coop and covered run for our 12 girls. They are at 17 weeks now so are getting close now. We keep their food and water in the run for them and that has been working well. They stay in the run each weekday and get out to free range evenings and weekends. We are deciding if we will start to use artificial lights soon. My question is this. We have a light in the coop on a timer ready to go. We would start it early in the morning but the run will be still dark. Will they be ok for a few hours staying in the coop until there is enough natural light to see their food and water
Thanks in advance.


5 Years
Jun 20, 2016
Hello! Honestly, I don't use lights as it makes force lay and I don't like that as they need a natural break. If you do, I would turn the light on at night instead of the morning as that can wake them up. Chickens do get out early enough and they can see light pretty well. Overall I wouldn't use lights unless you live in a cold climate and it gets around 32-20 degrees. But, I would ask for the degree specifics to a chicken owner in the north.


5 Years
Apr 23, 2017
White House, TN
Hello and :welcome. I don't use lights in the coop, I think that if you light the coop just a couple hours before daylight that they would be fine until sun up. Now I imagine that they will be READY to eat when the sun comes up. I think they will lay over their 1st winter due to lack of molt. Hope all works out well for you and your chickens:thumbsup


Mar 22, 2016
Mid Michigan
We pretty mush have the same set up but we have different aged chickens. We do use artificial light in our coop. At the same time it is very limited. In the morning we only have them come on for about 30 minutes right around daybreak (summers not at all) and in the evening for about 30 minutes right about dusk. It helps them get into the coop and settled in for the night or at least we think so.

Cindy in PA

14 Years
Jul 8, 2008
Fleetwood, PA
I would not light the coop unless you have food & water inside. You don't want the chickens outside in the dark, even if they would go out & waking them up early with nothing to do, could lead to problems. I light my coop, but have always kept their food & water inside, so they can spend the extra time tanking up, before they go outside.


5 Years
Nov 12, 2017
Western Ohio
We use a timer in the coop to achieve 14 hours light each day. We have one 60 watt bulb in the coop. Light turns on about 2 hours before we let them into the run where food and water are at. In the winter, we do provide water in the coop, and during more extreme weather we provide food in the coop as well to make sure they can properly drink an eat enough to stay warm and hydrated.

With regards to laying, light matters. Our first year pullets were declining in laying until we added light to bring them up in hours of light per day. We have heritage breeds, so our birds are only 4-5 eggs/week/bird anyway. Our neighbor does not provide light but has production birds and they lay irregardless it seems, but dramatically drop off production at 2 years old.

With regards to a “break”, birds take a natural break during molt. Personally, had I not provided light, I would have been without eggs (or had few) for several months, so adding light seemed to be a good option to meet our desires of having eggs. We feed an all flock with 20% protein (OS On the side), so they are getting good nutrition to support their systems.

In the end, it’s great you have electric in your coop! Now you can decide how to use it. Heated waterer to keep water from freezing, light for 14 hours exposure, cooling fan or ventilation fan in hot weather, even an electric fence if needed.

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