We live in California (San Francisco Bay Area). What kind of light do you use? We want to find one that is not a fire hazard.Especially if you live in the north, daylight hours are shortening and cold weather is encouraging feather growth, which takes resources away from laying even if they aren't moulting.
Living in the north myself, I try to supplement more starch and protein at this time of year, partially because of moult, partially to build up their resources for winter.
From personal experience: if my hens completely stop laying before winter, generally they're going to stay stopped throughout winter [EDT: they'll stay stopped even if I begin supplementing light during the winter. If I want eggs in the winter, I start supplementing light now.] I'll get an egg boom in the spring, but I won't get more than a few per week in the winter.
If you live closer to the equator, I'd look into your chickens' feed and housing as possible problem sources.
I don't light the coop, anymore. Too lazy.We live in California (San Francisco Bay Area). What kind of light do you use? We want to find one that is not a fire hazard.
I loved the styleI don't light the coop, anymore. Too lazy.
LEDs are probably the least hazardous, according to some research I did a while back, but to get a really bright one, you have to spend a bit of money. The (cheaper) solar powered ones have never remained bright for very long, in my experience. My best (of only three trials, I admit) experience was with two sixty-watt fluorescent bulbs in wire cages on opposite sides of the coop. (I have a fairly large coop—86 sq. feet or so.) I turned them off at ten and on at seven all winter and they worked well. If I had to do it again, I'd get some sort of hood, because they did get very dusty. If you can justify a timer, use one.
According to something I read somewhere, the light they need should be bright enough for a human to read a newspaper by. I have no idea where I found that; further, more recent research has turned up no more specific guidelines. However, the stipulation seems reasonable. Another specification I encountered was that white light can encourage aggressiveness in hens. I use white light without a problem, but you may wish to use red or orange bulbs.
There are many warnings to not suddenly stop lighting your coop. Having taken the warnings to heart, I can't draw on any personal experiences, but apparently, if the light suddenly decreases, the chickens stop laying, but they keep the eggs. The eggs get larger without being laid, and eventually get very difficult for the hen to pass, leading to prolapse or egg-binding.
Apologies for the form of this answer; I just finished writing a report, and I believe the style is carrying over.
EDT: And whatever you do, do not use Teflon-coated bulbs!
Paragraphs are GOOD!Apologies for the form of this answer; I just finished writing a report, and I believe the style is carrying over.
Any electricity in a coop can be risky for fire, not just the light bulb.What kind of light do you use? We want to find one that is not a fire hazard.
Hmmm, will be kind of testing this theory this season. Mine have some light now(~12hours), but most hens have stopped laying and are molting, will crank up the light to 14+ hours around solstice. Trying to give them time off to molt, but want them to start laying again sooner rather than later.they'll stay stopped even if I begin supplementing light during the winter.