Northern latitudes, daylight, and laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by KristinaE, Oct 21, 2014.

  1. KristinaE

    KristinaE Chirping

    Feb 27, 2014
    I live around 46 degree latitude. For six months of the year we have 13+ hours of daylight: mid-March through mid-September. For the five months between October-Feb we receive substantially less, down to 8.5 hours in December. This is compounded by heavy winter cloud-cover and rain for my city. Blue winter skies in my area are the exception, definitely not the norm.

    I assume my hens (once they are mature) will be taking a winter break from laying from October until the end of February (typical for my friends with hens in my area).

    I know some people let the hens go through their natural cycle and resume laying when they will, and others that add light to the coop to stimulate year-round laying. I do believe that it is healthier for the hen to have a winter break if one is planning to keep their chickens around for many years (which I am). I have no plans to light my coop all winter.

    But... is there a middle ground for those of us who live in areas of persistent winter darkness (and late-fall & early-spring darkness), but would like to have eggs more than half the year?
    Has anyone tried letting the hens rest for a certain amount of time and then added light to the coop? If so, how long do you let your hens rest before adding light? Three months? Four? Is there an ideal time? I figure that in lower latitude areas the natural rest period would be far shorter than ours up here.

    For next year I am thinking of letting the declining light trigger the molting cycle in Sep/Oct, waiting until early February, and then adding three or so hours of light to the coop in the morning (we get 10 hours of light in Feb). What do you think? Doable? Silly?
    Last edited: Oct 21, 2014

  2. Ravennest

    Ravennest In the Brooder

    Apr 28, 2014
    Would it be easier to add 'light to the end of the day' ...during the shorter light night when you keep them inside the coop
    Lock up and you go to sleep...Can you put the lights on a time...they would be of when you come out in the morning.
    Or it would be the opposite if the sun is not out as early in the mornings as it would be during the other would have the timer
    on for that time...this would be during the time that they are in the coop...then you let them out for natural light...can imagine
    what you electric bill would be Try to time it so that you would be 'supplementing' the light hours either at the end or the beginning
    of the day.
    You know your area best....
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014
  3. duluthralphie

    duluthralphie Chicken Wrangler extrodinaire Premium Member

    Jul 11, 2014
    Orrock township, Minnesota
    I live at 45.5 north. I am guessing we have about the same amount of light.

    I have a light on a timer (I paid 6 bucks for it at Menards) it comes on at 6 am now. Goes off at 9am.

    I would be leery about adding light to the end of the day. If you notice chickens tend to go to the roost when the light goes low. If the light were to just shut off, I think (IMHO) it would be traumatic on the chickens. Many might be caught on the ground and not on their roosts.

    I plan to give them a little more light for a few weeks, then letting them go natural for a month around Xmas. I will then add light until around mid February or early March.
  4. Ravennest

    Ravennest In the Brooder

    Apr 28, 2014
    Yeah... about...I added lights to the end of our days so my roo stays on to the twilight which is
    pretty constant in the mornings. I have lights out consistently where they roost...our lights
    can be on but not theirs or they think its time to get up again
    Last edited: Oct 29, 2014

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