Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Orpstralope, Nov 3, 2009.

  1. Orpstralope

    Orpstralope XL College Raised Eggs

    Oct 11, 2009
    So in my coop there are 4 100 watt bulbs, just regular lighting. My question is: I've been leaving a couple of the lights on all the time for a few weeks, and I got my first egg today. Should i leave the lights on for 24 hours or is this a bad idea? Thanks!
  2. Big C

    Big C J & C Farms

    Dec 15, 2008
    Vernon Texas
    Some people think that adding extra hrs by using artificial light helps egg production.
    In our experience all this does is add to your electric bill and disturb the natural rythmn of your flock comparative to the daylight hrs at any given time of year.
    Best practice is to have the appropriate water and feed 24/7, structured times when you re-water and feed, treats at regular intervals.
    Disturbances to the flock(s) natural cycle is what causes decreased egg laying.
    In our experience...
  3. SimplyForties

    SimplyForties Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2009
    Carroll County, Va
    You'll find a lot of differing opinions on the topic of artificial lighting. Personally, I don't use it. If you do choose to use artificial light in your coop, the idea is just to extend the natural daylight hours, not leave the lights on 24/7. Also, the concensus appears to be that you add light at the beginning of the day, as opposed to the end. Good luck!
    Last edited: Nov 3, 2009
  4. Orpstralope

    Orpstralope XL College Raised Eggs

    Oct 11, 2009
    Thanks, that makes much more sense than what I was originally doing - I'll plan on changing the routine tonight and for the rest of the week!
  5. greathorse

    greathorse Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 1, 2008
    Northern Colorado
    It absolutely effects the number of eggs your hens will lay. Commercial poultry operations dont leave lights on just so they can pay a huge electric bill. Whether or not you choose to do it is your perogative of course.

    I had lights last winter and my best production was in December and January. If you want to hatch it might be a good idea to get them under lights so you can get your chicks started nice and early

    Your choice of course
  6. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    I've had chickens about 5 years longer than I've known about BYC. When I first started out I was told by an old farmer that if you have lights in the coop 24/7 was better than partial lighting. I didn't know any better so I've had a light on ever since. I get eggs in the winter. They have no problem sleeping. And 1 CF bulb doesn't cost hardly anything to run. My Xmas lights cost more than the coop w/ heat. It is truly a choice. Good Luck.

  7. Big C

    Big C J & C Farms

    Dec 15, 2008
    Vernon Texas
    Yes, it is your choice.

    In our experience here:
    The more naturally raised our flocks are we get the same production ratio over a year period. Monthly average is 87% Cost ratio per egg averages at .07

    We modeled our main coop like a commercial production facility. Commercial facilities in our area are basically modified greenhouses. Ours is a modified greenhouse. Our main flocks get the natural lighting from the sun and moon. Like tonight, it is almost a full moon and during this cycle our egg production is up at this time of month. Little if any artificial light is induced.
    A separate coop that contains Red Stars is a contained "dark" coop. The flock is given 14 hours out and the rest in. Production for this flock runs at 98%.

    Our average production using this construction sustains at 87%, unless there is a disruption as stated.

    The commercial egg producer in our area (5 miles from our farm) use no artificial lighting.

    Yes, its your choice. Its just want you want to pay vs what you get for. The cost ratio also depends on the breed(s) you raise that are naturally acclimated to your local climate.
  8. Tailfeathers

    Tailfeathers Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 31, 2007
    Washington State
    Ironically, there is a thread right above this one with the same subject. Here's what I just wrote there:

    When I started out with chickens, I didn't even know that there was such a thing as a timer and kept light on my birds 24/7. I never had a single problem. Then I found that I could buy a timer for like $5 at WalMart - so I did. I now keep my birds on 15 hours of light and still have had no problems whatsoever.

    All the arguments I've read for not adding supplemental light have centered around the idea of letting the birds have some rest. My response to that is to simply point out that anyone who's had chickens for any time at all has seen birds sitting outside perched on a limb or on the ground in the middle of the day, in the middle of summer, with nothing but sunlight around them, and be sound asleep. And anyone who's had chicks has seen the little potlickers be scooting hither and thither only to stop all of the sudden and fall over like they're dead but rather just go sound asleep.

    As for letting nature take its course, since when do any of us do that? I don't know anyone that lets their birds totally fend for themself. We provide them with special foods, shelter, vitamin supplements, worming and parasite treatments, etc. etc.

    My birds must pay for themselves. There is no free-lunch on my place. So to have them out of commission for months during the Fall, Winter, and Spring just doesn't make any sense at all to me. If others want to do that and/or can afford to do that, I say God Bless them but it doesn't happen here. Besides that, I've got folks who have come to rely on me to provide them with farm fresh eggs. I'd never keep any of them coming back if I went out of production for half a year.

    Lastly, interestingly enough, I've got some ducks still in a pen down by the pond because they haven't stopped laying. Last year I got duck eggs all through the winter and they aren't on any lights other than the utility line that is up in our driveway.

    Cackler, as for what is the best time to set the lights to come on and go off, I say do what works best for you. I have my lights coming on at 0430 and off again at 0730. Then they come on again at 1800 and go off at 2100. I go out about 2045 to do my chores. When the light goes off I go in the coop, pull all the birds out of the nesting boxes that habitually want to spend the night in them and put them on the roost. That way I don't have a bunch of filthy eggs every morning. And btw, when I set my clocks back in the house, I didn't bother changing the timer outside at all.

    Hope that helps.

    God Bless,
  9. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    It is worth looking at the location of people weighing in on this subject. Texas, for instance, where daylength is never all that short *anyhow*, is quite a different story from northern latitudes [​IMG] If by Boone the o.p. means "NC", then that is frankly not all that far north either, and thus not going to be affected by short winter days NEARLY so much as people are in, like, Washington or Alaska. If you want to add light, add light; if you don't, don't [​IMG]

    There are some questions as to whether 24/7 lighting is good for birds' health or longevity, but certainly it will not kill 'em in the short term and if you were going to replace your flock after a few years *anyhow* then there is probably no real concern at all. Beyond that, I'd suggest doing some reading and making up your own mind.

    Good luck, have fun,

  10. Chicken Fruit

    Chicken Fruit Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 25, 2009
    Echo Homestead
    We leave our coop and barn lights on (we just use regular 60 watt bulbs, theres one in the coop and one in the barn) until we go to bed. We only get about 9 hours of day light on a good day right now.

    We forgot to do that for a week or ten days, and we literally went from 6 eggs a day to one. Even withthe lights on it took another week to get more than 2 eggs a day, but we left the light on by accident for 48 hours and after that went back to the normal until bedtime routine and now we are back to 6 eggs a day.

    So for us I'd say it works... It didnt mess with out chicken's behavior at all in any other way.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by