Providing light in the evening, but hens go to bed when it's dark out

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Raen, Nov 30, 2010.

  1. Raen

    Raen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 3, 2010
    It starts getting dark here around 3:45 now (ugh), and I've been providing supplemental light in the coop to help with egg laying, but by about 3:30 all the girls are in the coop and on their roost. I've been lighting two hours before sunrise, and two hours after, but if they're sleeping when it's dark out, is it even doing any good? None of them seem inclined to lay early-morning; so far I've been getting eggs around 1 PM. The coop has two big windows, so there is tons of natural light.
  2. critterranch

    critterranch Chillin' With My Peeps

    Oct 1, 2010
    Red Creek, New York
    chickens naturally go to bed at sunset because they cant see in dark. but the lights still help. try some extra light in morning and night. i usually start at 15 weeks so they get use to it.
    i do 17 hours of light . but you can do any where from 12-17 . eventhough they are roosting it still stimulates them. i do 5am to 11 pm yes sometimes they can be lazy about what time they usually take turns. i have had mine lay all day long diff times sometimes 3 or 4 in afternoon but thats in summer. they have a mind of their own. lol
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
  3. Denninmi

    Denninmi Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 26, 2009
    I don't think it makes a difference that they are inactive after sunset -- the mere presence of light above the threshold level (which is really low, just a few footcandles -- i.e. twilight level) is enough to stimulate egg production.

    Commercial facilities aren't very bright in their henhouses, and often don't even have windows -- they just string a few lights to make it light enough to see and enough to stimulate egg production -- any brighter and it encourages cannibalism and other problems (even though the birds are debeaked generally) under the packed conditions.
  4. joebryant

    joebryant Overrun With Chickens

    Raen, I went to Lowes and bought four $4 timers. I had already gone to Home Depot and bought four 11-watt bulbs and four small thing-a-muh-jigs that are about two inches long; on one side you can screw in a regular light bulb and the other end has the plugs to plug into the timers. I set the timer to come on at 7:00 A.M. and off at 8:30 A.M. , then in the evening they come on at 5 P.M. and off at 9 P.M.

    I checked sunrise/sunset for Greenwood, Indiana on December 21, 2010: that's the shortest day of the year.
    Sunrise 8:01 A.M.
    Sunset 5:23 P.M. You can find your time here:
    Last edited: Nov 30, 2010
  5. Raen

    Raen Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 3, 2010
    Thanks, guys. The light is a florescent work light similar to this:


    It's on a timer, two hours in the morning and two in the evening. (It's well-anchored and doesn't get hot.)
  6. Mak

    Mak Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 12, 2009
    Londonderry, NH
    We do most of our supplemental lighting in the AM. The lights are only on in the coop about a 1/2 hour after sunset. Which, of course, means they start coming on (on a dimmer) about 2AM or so now. I had read that if you are going to add supplemental lighting, better to do it on the AM side than the PM, because you want the chickens to go in the coop and sleep at night. I don't know if it makes a difference, as this is our first year for chickens, but even with the shorter natural days and cold, I still get 4-6 eggs/day.

    The down side is, there are days the rooster starts crowing in the coop at 2 or 3AM! We're used to it- don't even hear him most days. And the neighbors are far enough away that with him inside, they don't. At least, they aren't complaining!
  7. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    I started lighting my coop back in September, added light in both the morning and evening. The light goes off at 8 pm EST and it is now getting dark here about 4:30. Generally when I go down to lock the coop down in the pitch dark sometime after dinner--around 7--the birds are already fairly well settled on the roosts anyway.
  8. The Fairy Godmartyr

    The Fairy Godmartyr Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 7, 2010
    I started adding supplemental light from 5-8 am and pm. My chickens still go in and sit on the roosts when it gets dark outside, but they stay awake and look around as long as the light is on. I think they are HIGHLY confused by it. [​IMG]

    Before I started lighting the coop, I was getting two eggs a day (from 10 pullets hatched mid-June). In the few weeks since I started lighting, I've gone up to six eggs some days. So I would say it is helping.
  9. Ironmaiden

    Ironmaiden Chicken Maiden

    Jun 14, 2010
    Kansas has daylight savings time and I am so irritated! Ever since it started one of my hens is dropping her egg right off the roost. It's too dark at 6:30 AM (when I go up to do my morning chores before work) now and they can't see a thing, so I set the timer to go off at 6:30 and she still does it. I may try setting the timer for earlier. Grrr...

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