still confused on lights & egglaying!

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by hensandchickscolorado, Sep 13, 2011.

  1. Okay, so I would like to "extend" daylight as winter goes on. My coop has a heat lamp w/a red bulb in it (from when they were babes in there).

    Do I set the timer from say, 7:00 PM to 9:00 PM, and then again from 5 AM to 7 AM?

    Is this enough daylight? How do others do this? I just read the post about the chickens not being able to find the roost if the light suddenly goes out on them. I didn't even think of it a big deal?

    Would love any timer advice. Just tell me what hours you do! Thanks!!!

  2. calicokat

    calicokat Songster

    Apr 2, 2009
    azalia, indiana
    If you are worried about them finding the roost, then how 'bout adding all the extra light to the beginning of the day?

    So you might set the timer to come on at 3am and off at 7am (if it's light at 7 where you are.) That way you get 4 extra hours of light, and a regular sunset for them to go to bed by.
  3. Quote:Wow, that's really smart!!!

    How many hours of sleep do they need? 3 am seems so early, but they are farm animals after all!
  4. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    If you choose to add light then it's best added in the morning, as calicokat stated.

    Chances are that a hen coming into her first season of laying in late summer and/or early fall is not going to slow down the first winter anyhow. If you are going to see a slow down, it will come in their second winter. Just MHO.
    Last edited: Sep 13, 2011
  5. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    All I can do is share what we do, and you can extrapolate your management style.

    We do not "push" the hens in the winter. We don't heat the barn and it is very cold here in Northern Michigan. We keep cold hardy breeds. Providing some extra light helps, as we have egg customers, lots of them. We carry extra hens through the winter and accept a drop of production of 20%. We want them to use their calories for heat and keeping warm as well as egg production. It takes 14 hours of light to maintain maximum production. That isn't reasonable for our climate. It is just too dark for far too long during the dead of winter. In December and January, we only get 6-8 hours of natural light.

    We have the timer come on at 5 am and goes off at 4 pm, year round. They do need to get to their roosts. That amount of additional light provides some assistance without forcing them to lay heavy. Since they are heavy layers for 8 months of the year, taking a bit of a break during winter is just fine with us.
  6. trooper

    trooper Songster

    Apr 26, 2010
    [​IMG][​IMG]I set my lite to come on at 5 and go off 8.I also do not use a high wattage bulb.I think mine is a 13 watt or so.It's enough to give them what they need and I don't make it to bright.I works great for me.By doing this it gets dark and they seem to want to go into the coop where there is a lite enough to see what they are doing.They are on their roosts before the lite goes off.Good Luck
  7. fenceman48

    fenceman48 Chirping

    Sep 13, 2011
    Senoia, Ga
    Is it best to have the light on in the morning or at night? If you have it come on a few hours before daylight, will it trigger the rooster to crow before sunrise?

  8. ScottyHOMEy

    ScottyHOMEy Songster

    Jun 21, 2011
    Waldo County, Maine
    Our natural light here in the latitudes of Maine is similar to that in Michigan. With a heavy cloud cover in the three weeks or so surrounding the winter solstice, it will be pretty much dark out by 4pm, and won't lighten up until near 8 the next morning.

    I'm of the "add light in the morning" school. Unless you've got a bright moon lighting up the iside of your coop, the birds will not move much in the dark, and probably not fly or walk up a ramp to get to the roost. It's in that cold weather that accompanies the short days that you want to give them every opportunity to roost together for warmth, and the natural fading of the light will give them time to brush their teeth and say their prayers before going to bed.

    As far as how early to turn on the light, I also don't favor pushing them too hard in the winter, and 12 hours of light is my target. so adjust the timer every week or two to go on about 12 hours before sunset, and go off mid-morning after the sun is up. The turn-off time is a matter of thrift and economy. You don't really need a bright bulb. 15 or 25 watts is plenty in a 6x10 coop, just enough light to get around or, as a lot of the guides say, just enough to be able to read a newspaper. Even at low wattage, there really isn't much point running it while the sun is up, either.

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