1. If this is your first time on BYC, we suggest you start with one of these three options:
    Raising Chickens Chicken Coops Join BYC
    If you're already a member of our community, click here to login & click here to learn what's new!

Supplemental light for winter laying

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by Twin Willows, Sep 27, 2010.

  1. Twin Willows

    Twin Willows Out Of The Brooder

    23
    0
    22
    Jul 27, 2010
    Just wondering when you should add supplemental light for a longer day so your chickens will lay all winter. I just had a small producer from the next town stop by yesterday to buy some eggs to resell to her customers because her chickens have slowed down on egg production.
    I get up at 5 am and the lights go on in the coop when I start doing chores so I haven't noticed any drop in production, but I know that the days are getting a lot shorter now. Just wondered when I should start adding light and what the optimum length of day light should be. This is the first time that we have had chickens since my parents had 500 layers back in the '50's and I was just looking at the elaborate timer that was wired into the electrical panel of their 2 story chicken house--- but I think I will just use a $6 plug in timer.
     
  2. BirdBrain

    BirdBrain Prefers Frozen Tail Feathers

    May 7, 2007
    Alaska
    I think I read somewhere that 14 hours was optimal.
     
  3. geeber

    geeber Chillin' With My Peeps

    138
    0
    111
    May 3, 2009
    PNW
    [​IMG]

    Good question.
     
  4. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,168
    26
    201
    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    There are a lot of threads on here about this subject and there are two sides to the issue: One group likes to allow their birds to have a winter "rest" period, won't force them and, usually adopt a holier-than-thou attitude about it. The other--to which I belong--feels it doesn't hurt them to supplement lighting. I start the first week in Sept. with a double timer that extends lighting--a 20 w florescent--from 6 am to 9 and then again from 4 pm to 9, EDT. I've never had a problem and it gets my birds laying before I see them in the morning and into the coop at night so I can count heads to make sure they've all made it through the day. Although my chickens are for eggs not as pets, I've never had laying problems and have some 5-yr old hens that still drop an occasional egg. I'd say this may also be about where you live, if you live in the southern part of the US where your daylight hrs. are fairly constant year around, you can probably go without adding light. Us Northerners, however, need a little more production time for about half of the year. BTW as of today we're down to 12 hrs of daylight and it'll drop to under 9 by midDecember.
     
    Last edited: Sep 27, 2010
  5. Twin Willows

    Twin Willows Out Of The Brooder

    23
    0
    22
    Jul 27, 2010
    The 14 hour rule is good to know. I'm in upstate New York so the nights get pretty long.
    Next question, any preference from the chickens on whether to use incandescent or florescent lights? Do they care?
     
  6. Twin Willows

    Twin Willows Out Of The Brooder

    23
    0
    22
    Jul 27, 2010
    Oh, and a comment to "Woodmort", I'm here in Berkshire, about 30 miles from you!
     
  7. henney penny

    henney penny Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,711
    13
    163
    Nov 21, 2009
    Northern Maine
    Last year I used a timer to come on at 4am and it worked good for me ,I had no let up on my egg production.All I have for a light is a small floresant bar that I have on the wall.Mine layed on 12 hrs of light.But this year I have mostly buff orpingtons so I don`t know how this will work with them before I have all sex-links and they are such good layers everyday.
     
  8. henney penny

    henney penny Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,711
    13
    163
    Nov 21, 2009
    Northern Maine
    Last year I used a timer to come on at 4am and it worked good for me ,I had no let up on my egg production.All I have for a light is a small floresant bar that I have on the wall.Mine layed on 12 hrs of light.But this year I have mostly buff orpingtons so I don`t know how this will work with them before I have all sex-links and they are such good layers everyday.
     
  9. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    3,168
    26
    201
    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    Quote:Actually I don't really know, I guess that depends on your preference. A florescent would be a bit cheaper to operate for a given amount of wattage but an incandescent would give off some heat. I use a florescent light called a (I think) Light Stick( or stik) that is basically a light bulb with its own switch and cord. Just stick it up and plug it into the timer. Lasts about 2 years. I got the last one from WalMart.

    I know Berkshire fairly well. I used to live in Dryden in early 60's, hunted on the big potato farm above Richford--the manager at the time was a neighbor.
     
  10. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
    113
    408
    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:With all due respect, I can't think of a single BYCer, myself included, that has a "holier-than-thou" attitude about not providing supplemental lighting. I do however see alot of folks on the pro-light side stumbling all over themselves to justify adding light. If you don't feel bad about adding light, then why justify it; just do it. I raise my birds the way I see fit, because they are MY birds. You are free to raise yours the way you prefer. I don't tell people that they have to raise their birds MY way. I only state why I choose to do what I do.
    NO need to slam other folks because they don't subscribe to your slant on chickenkeeping.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by