question on red light

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by lera, Jan 8, 2010.

  1. lera

    lera Out Of The Brooder

    May 24, 2009
    I stopped at my local feed store today to talk to the "chicken girl" about my hens' feather-picking and cannabilistic behaviors. She suggested I use an infared red light 24/7, which would also help with heat during this cold snap we've been in for weeks.

    My question is: Do I still need to have a regular light to give the hens extra daylight or will the red light take care of that, too? (I would call the feed store, but it's a busy one and I don't know the girl's name. She lives with her parents on a chicken farm and always gives great advice.)

    Thank you. I searched the forums for an answer and didn't see this exact topic addressed.
  2. loralei

    loralei Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2009
    New Caney, Texas
    By all means try the red light it may work for you but it did not stop the aggressive pecking in my flock. I added black oil sunflower seeds to their diet and it stopped shortly after. I used 1 part BOSS to 2 parts feed. I continue to use them but only 1 part to 3 or 4 parts feed.

    God bless,
  3. teach1rusl

    teach1rusl Love My Chickens

    Well...the red lights are supposed to be more soothing than white light 24/7. Are the chickens closed up right now...could that be causing the picking, boredom??? Are they crowded or do they have a decent amount of space? More info. might help others pinpoint the issue a little better...
  4. RocketDad

    RocketDad Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 25, 2008
    Near US 287
    The red light, theoretically, won't keep them awake later and wake them up early (assuming you have it on a timer). In my experience, the red light makes them sleep less deeply. They wake up more when I go check on them.

    I use a couple of ordinary lightbulbs on the timer, set for 2 hours around sunrise and 2 hours around sunset. My production picked back up when I did that. My run is very shaded this time of year, so the light in the coop seems to make them happy.
  5. orchard17

    orchard17 Out Of The Brooder

    May 25, 2009
    Barrington, NH
    I use a red light exclusively for heat. I did not plan on adding supplemental light but my egg production did increase nicely after the addition of the red bulb. We are getting very little sun here in NH these days and maybe it is pure coincidence? Seems to do the trick for us though.
  6. lera

    lera Out Of The Brooder

    May 24, 2009
    Thank you for all of your suggestions. I have a few answers to your questions and some clarification.

    The chickens are not free-range but have an enclosed chicken run. (Our neighbors have a bunch of aggressive dogs and I'm afraid a dog will come over the fence or a chicken may accidentally fly into their yard and meet their demise. Plus we have many small children and I try to keep the chicken poop from making a huge mess all over the yard.)

    The hens do not like the snow. We had about an inch overnight and they stayed indoors most of the day. Until I went in to check the ones who had been pecked and I inadvertently cleared out the coop with my presence.

    I had read that the red light would make it harder for chickens to see blood spots on the others, which should also decrease their pecking. We had a hen die last week and they cannabilized her remains. I don't know if they have a taste for fresh meat or if they are rearranging their pecking order.

    I checked for parasites and have found none. Three of the ten remaining hens have been pecked. One worse than the other two.
  7. Lady Catrina

    Lady Catrina Out Of The Brooder

    Jan 8, 2010
    Joshua, Texas
    I had also never heard of the red light theory, however I do have some suggestions as given me by a poultry book "Avoid the Vet" that I picked up at TSC.

    Hang cabbage in their pen, to give them something to peck instead of on each other.
    Hang old cds in their pen, they will peck at it with it's reflections and spinning.
    Purchase the 'glasses' that you strap on their face, it is like spectacles, and keeps them from seeing where to peck on the others - plus, the 'rose tinted glasses' keep them from seeing the blood.
    Other than that, do as we did with Angel - we separated her, she is in a large rabbit cage within the henhouse. If you have one that is pretty bad, you need to separate her so the others leave her alone until she heals.

    Also, make sure that you have enough square feet per bird to prevent overcrowding - pecking and cannibalism are main indications of this.

    Hope these help,

    Good luck!!
  8. Sillystunt

    Sillystunt Master of the Silly

    Jul 11, 2008
    Winter Haven, FL
    I use red/blue or green flood lights for my heat source. They all seem to act the same with the different light colors. Just use a ceramic socket(brooder lamp) cause they get hot. I do have a 125watt brooder light but it is sooo darn bright. My backyard looks like a light show, hahahaha. The colors are PURDY [​IMG] you have to many roo's? To many per sq ft? is there enough food? They start that stuff when those things are compromised~
  9. Tala

    Tala Flock Mistress

    Up the protein if they are eating feathers.
    That's what the poster who added BOSS did. BOSS have at least 16% protein, which your layer feed should too.
    You could add gamebird feed or non-medicated grower feed to up the protein level.

    Plus if you start giving them treats for entertainment --- hanging cabbage heads, suet or flock blocks, scratch buried in hay to dig for...etc. all those treats will decrease their overall protein consumption so yes I would definitely UP the protein level of their regular feed to compensate.

    The only thing a red light does is reduce the visibility of the already pecked places. They won't be pecking each other in the DARK so adding a red light during the night won't help anything unless you want to use it for heat.

    If they are staying inside the coop and the red is the only light on for them then that might help some.
  10. lera

    lera Out Of The Brooder

    May 24, 2009
    Wow! So many things to think about. You guys are GOOD!

    First, we don't have any roos. Just hens. Ten now since one died last week. We have about 30 square feet and at the time I noticed the pecking was going on, there was plenty of food in the bin.

    Someone suggested cat food for extra protein. I bought a small bag today and gave them some. They weren't impressed. They sniffed it and pecked it, but then left it alone.

    I really like the idea of different color lights. I'm sure my kids would love it, too.

    [Side story: We currently live within town limits of a small, rural town where there have been people against backyard chickens. The town ordinance only says "farm animals," and both the mayor and a council member told me it does not include chickens (or rabbits). I'm trying to keep my chickens on the down-low. Especially since I was recently elected for town council. Although I did have my chickens before the election. I guess I'm rebellious.]

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