Topic of the Week - Winter Egg Laying


In the Brooder
Nov 17, 2016
Lighting questions often come up.

Posted this on other threads, hope it helps:

There are a lot of opinions on supplementing light to keep the chickens laying during time period where there is less than 12-14 hours of available daylight.

My coop gets ~16 hours of light now 365 days per year.
My birds seem to molt regardless.

Having had to install electricity for the thermostatically controlled water heater, I took advantage and installed a lighting system.

My system has two timers. The first is set to turn the lights on at 5am, off at 9pm.
This timer also is used as the to power my heated nest boxes when called for.
For the lights, timer goes on, power passes through a photocell, then to a 300 lumen LED bulb, 4.8 watts, in the coop, and 2 - 4.8 watt LEDs for the outside run.
These bulbs are considered warm, around 3000k, which my research lends me to believe are best suited for stimulating the pineal gland.
I light the outdoor run because I found the birds huddled outside the coop door in the dark one 5:30am morning...
They have access to the run 24/7, as it is as secure as the coop.

The lights are on only when it is dark enough outside to be necessary (photocell).
The time on very closely mimics my Summer Solstice.

The second timer is set to go on at 8:30pm, off at 9:30pm, a diffused 200 lumen LED 4 watt bulb.
This low light allows the birds to settle in before all lights out.

I have used this method for a few years now, works well, some of my flock members are >9 years old now... all seem happy and unstressed.

This system costs less than $10 per year to operate.

My coop was designed to hold ~25 to 30 birds comfortably.

I started with 6, and add 2 or 3 per year for egg production. I gift 90% of my eggs.

I do not cull... these are "pets" that produce compost, my main objective.
I currently have a dozen or so birds, I started replacing heritage breeds with hybrids, they do not seem to have the same life expectancy as the heritage breeds. My numbers have never exceeded 15.

I have not had to deal with frozen eggs in years...

Heat the nesting boxes to stop eggs from freezing.

I have not had to deal with frozen water in years...

Forever Water Heater one that lasts.
Unfrozen Nipple Watering for those cold days.

I do nothing for winter preparation, everything is on autopilot

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