Need help, please

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by TSWisla, Nov 17, 2016.

  1. TSWisla

    TSWisla Just Hatched

    Jul 27, 2016
    I live in the NW suburbs of Chicago. I bought some chicks in May. About a month ago, I was telling my neighbor that they were not laying yet. He told me to get a light and to put it in the coop. He said that it did not matter when to add the light, simply to give them 5 extra hours a day. I set the light on a timer in the evening. Now I have come to find out that I may be harming my chickens by making them lay in the winter and I also came to know that I should have put the light on in the morning rather than at night. What should I do? As I stated, the light has been coming on now for about a month. I would like to discontinue the light all together, but I read that they might molt as a result? Is that true? I feel that that would be bad for them as the cold weather is coming. I need advice, please. I want eggs, but I want to do what is best for the well being of my birds. Thank you.
  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    Chicks hatched in may are not likely to molt now but you should just cut the amount of light about a half hour each day.
    Or you can just change them to a morning light cycle by adding an hour in the morning and subtracting one in the evening till all the light is in the morning.
    Have they started laying yet?
    It won't hurt pullets to lay through the winter. If I add light, I just shoot for about 12 to 13 hours of total day length.
  3. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    There's nothing wrong with light added to evening instead of morning. Some folks don't like evening as they find or think the birds are not on the roosts when the light's shut off. Other than that there's no difference to the added light, morning or evening. Mine is currently added to the evening as I'm using a battery powered light in lieu of extension cord so have to change batteries or at least switch the timer on at the time of day the lights go on. Opted for 2:00 pm opposed to getting up at 4:00 am.

    If your birds are not laying now they wont lay until spring unless you use additional lighting. I moved away from lighting as the pullets would come into lay by winter and continue lay, though slowed, all winter without lighting. Lately I can't seem to hatch the chicks early enough to come into lay pre winter naturally. New to me line of birds that take a bit longer so went back to artificial lighting. No need to feed pullets for an entire year without eggs. I shoot for 12+ hours total light. Where I'm at now is sunrise 6:30, light turns on at 2 to 8 pm. That total time will diminish to 12 hours by solstice.
    Last edited: Nov 17, 2016
  4. TSWisla

    TSWisla Just Hatched

    Jul 27, 2016
    You don't think that they will be harmed if I give the the artificial light only this one year since I already started or should I discontinue it? I have read that they can develop ovarian cancer, etc. And you think that I will be safe letting them have light in the PM then? So I should simply keep doing what I am doing and they will be fine? Thank you.
  5. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

    Nov 7, 2012
    No matter what you choose to do regarding lighting, you will find someone who will tell you what a horrid idea it is. While many folks choose to add light in the morning to get the 14 hours recommended, I choose to add it in the evening. (have not yet started it this year, as I'm still getting eggs. But used it in evening the last 2 years) And no, my chickens did not freak out when the lights went out. They always seemed to be on the perch before lights out. As far as ovarian cancer, I would ask to see a formal study with statistically significant data before using that info in my decision making process.
  6. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    As with anything, you'll find there's a lot of misinformed people eager to pass on incorrect information. You'll run across this problem here on BYC as well as anywhere.

    If you stick around, you'll soon find out that there are quite a number of BYC old timers that can be relied on for good information, and even some relative newcomers. You have already received responses from some of them. In time you will learn whom to trust.

    I'll just reaffirm what they've begun to point out. No harm will come to your chickens by adding light to the coop to encourage egg laying during the short days of winter. It matters not at all when you time the light to come on except if you discover that some of your chickens are having trouble getting onto their perches before the light goes off if you time it for the evening hours. That did happen in my flock, so I prefer to time my lights for the two or three hours before sunrise.

    I did get up early on a couple of occasions a few weeks ago when I started adding light before sunrise. I found an older hen was chasing the younger pullets out of the coop into the dark run and not letting them back inside. I corrected that problem by moving her to my other coop, and now the pullets are mostly sleeping through until sunrise.

    If you choose to discontinue the light, you shouldn't expect any problems.

    I do urge you to go out to the coop and see what your chickens are doing when the light comes on and goes off. It will inform you of any modifications you may need to make for their maximum well being.
  7. Little Fuzzy

    Little Fuzzy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 16, 2016
    Your pullets are only 5 months old, thats still pretty young depending on the breed.
  8. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    Ditto Dat^^^^
  9. nenapen

    nenapen Just Hatched

    Nov 17, 2016
    Do you think she is ready to lay? First time having chickens[​IMG]
  10. weirdlywired

    weirdlywired Out Of The Brooder

    May 10, 2016
    Bellevue NE
    My Coop
    I can't really add much to the lighting question, but we got our 10 ladies in May and not all of them are laying yet. It could be the breed...

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by