to add light, or not?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dfvellone, Jun 21, 2010.

  1. dfvellone

    dfvellone Out Of The Brooder

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    Plenty of daylight these days, but I've debated adding lighting to my coop for the shorter days to come.

    I live in Northern New York so winters are plenty cold. My reasoning in not lighting the coop to extend "daylight" hours was that in forcing the hens to produce eggs I would be robbing them of energy they need to comfortably weather the winter.

    Am I wrong in my assumption that their production drops off as the days get shorter because shorter days mean colder weather, less feeding hours and they need to conserve the energy that would go into egg production to survive the winter better? Would my "forcing" them to produce compromise their ability to thrive during the winter?

    My coop is insulated and tight but unheated, yet the chickens do well throughout the winter even in temps. well below zero. Never lost one through 4 winters.

    Also, as the potential amount of eggs they will lay is predetermined, by dropping of production through the winters will they lay for more years? I've got 3 year old pullets that still lay with decent productivity through Spring/Summer/Fall.
     
  2. roverjohn

    roverjohn Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm doing exactly what you are doing and just planned on having a few more birds to keep me in eggs over the winter. I've heard they will produce longer this way but maybe an expert will chime in and confirm this.
     
  3. dichotomymom

    dichotomymom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    They most likely will produce more but my take on it is that if you're in a harsh winter area, it's a bit unkind. They need those reserves to get through the cold temps.
     
  4. saladin

    saladin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Everyone has their own opinions when it comes to lighting. Here's mine:

    You are most likely raising chickens because you want to "do it yourself." You desire to move away from the factory farm production of meat and eggs to have a more quality product. If that is even remotely the case, then why would you desire to then turn and utilize the very methods of those on the factory farm? That just does not make any sense too me.

    If you want winter eggs then why not get breeds that lay well in the winter as well as other times? That's what heritage breeds are all about. saladin
     
    Last edited: Jun 21, 2010
  5. JulieZ

    JulieZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I DO use a light but only a cheap $1 night light. The reason why : Because of me. If I want to walk out to my chickens at 2am because they are making a fuss & I'm worried about a fox, I can at least see a little inside their coop. I was using more than that but didn't feel they needed it when the summer came/they were past the "infancy" stage & I didn't like my electric bill running an extra $60 a month. I also purchased chickens that produce & live well during colder months. It's a personal decision but what do we all do at night? Sleep. What do we all sleep in? The dark. The ones that don't need a ... night light. [​IMG]

    Julie
     
  6. grasjm36

    grasjm36 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I to feared that adding a light in the winter would be somewhat cruel. I bought my girls so I wouldnt have to support the wretched factory farms. I just bought pullets and then chicks so that I can stagger my ages and egg laying. I just hope that they will lay a bit in the winter!! I have lots of customers relying on me for eggs now.
     
  7. JulieZ

    JulieZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    This past winter was harsh on most of us & any chicken outside. I do think a light in the corner with a low wattage is not cruel & unusual punishment when used if someone is cold. I will not hesitate to place something in the far corner during the harshest time of winter but as far as the entire coop to create egg production ... no way !!

    Julie
     
  8. grasjm36

    grasjm36 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I want to be able to heat my coop in the winter, I have red lights. Will those be dim enough for heat but not keep them awake or whatever?
     
  9. JulieZ

    JulieZ Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I'm no expert on chickens. I'm still learning myself & just today I received 3 out of the 4 total of eggs from my chickens ... that's pretty new. HOWEVER, I use "A" red light in the corner when it is cold outside with no harm & it's easier on the chickens & the electric bill. All this information graciously provided by the people here in the forums when my chicks were still furry butts. : )
     
  10. Lesa

    Lesa Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you are happy with the production of your chickens- why change anything? I am sure that the way most people spoil their chickens on this site- that a light bulb in the coop is far from cruel and unusual punishment! I want healthy food for my family and I want healthy and happy chickens. In NY state, I have a bulb on a timer that comes on at 4am and goes off at dawn (during the shorter days of winter.) Trust me, it doesn't make my chickens egg laying machines! I am unwilling to spend a lot of money on the organic feed that they get and not get enough eggs- but that is JMO. If your chickens are pets and you don't mind not getting eggs- you don't need a bulb!
     

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