Lights for heat... but eggs too?


In the Brooder
7 Years
Jul 3, 2012
Southern MD (Western Shore)
My Coop
My Coop
I searched for an answer to this question, and didn't find exactly what I'm looking for, so here goes...

I have a small bar light in my chicken's roost. I've been using it on a timer to help with consistent egg production, but I don't think it's working, as two of my layers have stopped laying now that the days are shorter and colder. That's not a big worry for me though.

So, it's getting colder, and I've done a lot of reading about using vrs not using lights for heat. Really, this little bar light I have puts out a small amount of heat, and I wouldn't mind leaving it on all the time for my 4 hens.

However, if I leave it on all the time, will this affect their laying... will they be stressed and lay "too much?" If the light's on all the time for heat... will they sleep well?

I've read about lights for heat and lights for eggs, but not about one affecting the other. What do you think?

My coop is small. The food/water is on the bottom, and they have a roost on the top. Currently, the bar light is in the roost.
If your coop is well ventilated but not drafty, it's unlikely the chickens will need additional heat. They produce a surprising amount of it and down is an excellent insulator.

Chickens lay best with about 16 hrs of light per day. The big commercial factories keep the lights on 24/7. Whether you choose to do this or not is a personal decision. We've opted not to light at all, letting nature dictate things. But, we aren't selling eggs and even if we get only 1 or 2 a day, it's plenty for our needs.

So it gets daylight now at 6:30am and dark at 5:30pm. (I'm in Maryland, and we just set the clocks back).

Therefore, if I set my light timer to come on at 1:30am and then off at 6:30am, that would give off more heat in the middle of the night AND add to the hours of daylight my hens will need for "summer" egg production. That solves BOTH my issues!

So they'd get 8 hours of darkness (from 5:30pm to 1:30am), 5 hours of artificial light/heat (1:30am to 6:30am) and then 11 hours of natural light (6:30am to 5:30pm).

Does that sound humane?

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