"We'll Leave the light on for you...."

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by Bogtown Chick, Oct 3, 2012.

  1. Bogtown Chick

    Bogtown Chick Overrun With Chickens

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    Any thoughts to leaving the light on in the coop all night? I have an energy saver light bulb down in the coop. Ever since they were peeps they always had a light on. In the brooder a heat lamp of course. And then when I switched them over to the big coop there was a chillier evening that May night and I brought the heat lamp bulb down there as well. Through the summer and after they were feathered out great I switched to a coiled energy saver bulb that gives off next to no heat. The reason being as we're predator heavy in our neck of the woods and a gentleman in town who has many chickens recommended leaving a light on at the coop. My set up for electricity is within the coop and perhaps he meant an out door light but it's just not the way I'm set up. It's worked. No predator deaths (knock on wood) to date.

    Then I was reading posts to extend the lighting time for the chooks to help with egg production. that their body works and is based on the cycles of light they get. Well mine get light all the time so I thought well maybe it's important they get a little darkness. So I tried it this weekend. It was a 70-80 degree fabulous fall weekend. I shut their light off and their egg production went from 5 a day to 2 almost within a day. I turned the light back on Monday and today it looks like I've got 4 layers back. Do I already have the answer or are their stronger feelings on giving them that little bit of darkness for their sleeping hours. Their night light is not right in their faces. Their roosts are lofted and kind of sectioned away from the light...so it's indirect in a sense.

    What do you think?
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  2. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Most likely they stopped laying because they are so used to having the light on. It's not healthy though, and they need darkness to get rest. I think leaving a light on is fooling with mother nature. Chickens are meant to take breaks over the winter. My girls that are on their first year are laying great. The second year girls are molting. No amount of light will get them to lay right now :p
     
  3. Bogtown Chick

    Bogtown Chick Overrun With Chickens

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    Thanks aoxa. I think in my heart I knew I should do that for them and that's why I tested that out this weekend; as I want them to have as natural of a life as possible. There's a solution for me in getting a solar outdoor shed light to keep predators at bay or second guessing things around the coop at least. I think I'll ride out the low egg production--which I'm sure would be just a temporary adjustment to things, and get them on a normal light schedule.
     
  4. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Why don't you get them a very dim light so they can see enough to get around, but not light enough to influence laying?

    Even little children's night light would be fine :)

    Try not to give them a heat lamp either, as going from inside the coop, to the outside could shock their systems in cold weather. They don't need it unless they are under 8 weeks. I've had 10 week old chicks outside without heat in February and they all did fine. They seemed a little cold at first because I didn't slowly acclimate them, but I moved them on a relatively mild weekend (around freezing mark) and they settled it.

    I hope I didn't come across as too opinionated. I'd rather my layers take a break during the winter and save their eggs for spring/summer/fall, because they can be productive longer that way. I don't want to send my 3 year old hens away because they're spent. I have 4 year old hens that are still productive where it counts.
     
    Last edited: Oct 3, 2012
  5. Bogtown Chick

    Bogtown Chick Overrun With Chickens

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    Oh gosh I didn't think of children's night light. That would be a great starting point to wean them down from the light at night time and until I get an outdoor light for the coop. I was just thinking low heat and low energy use when I put in that other bulb.

    Your Opinions are perfect in my view and exactly the answer I was looking for. My birds I think will be just fine without the light...they need to get used to it and I like the idea of keeping them as productive layers for a while and riding out laying cycles.

    So no heat lamp for you in the winter (how about the really cold nights?): Do you have an insulated coop to retain any of their body heat in winter or what have you done there? I'm still debating what to do for them this winter. My coop is fairly loosey goosey-predator proof but ventilated well-windows and the such..I'm sure your Canada Winter may be very similar to our Northern MN Winter. We're generally a dry cold here. Worst night last winter was about 20 below but our worst in recent memory probably has been in the -40 to -50 range. Those thankfully don't last too long but you never know... I'm leaning towards insulating the roof only and just doing heat lamp on the nasty nights. I'm sorry I know this post has lead to a whole other topic...Ha!
     
  6. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    I've never provided heat in the winter, but on those really cold nights I did worry. My coop is not insulated, but I used deep litter last year. Not so sure I would do it this year because we keep waterfowl as well, and wet litter = bad. Dry conditions is the most important thing in the winter. You want them to be as dry as possible. Wet conditions create frost bite - and the moisture from their breathing is wet, so that is why good ventilation is important. I find warm oatmeal is a great way to warm them up. That's about the extent of my heating attempts last winter. I didn't lose a single bird, but it was unseasonably warm in December and March. Our winter was much shorter last year.

    I have many bantams and fancy breeds, and they all do fine. :) Only one ever showed any signs of the weather getting to her, and she was not healthy to start with.
     
  7. Bogtown Chick

    Bogtown Chick Overrun With Chickens

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    Thank you so much. I am reassured about wintering them, with minimum efforts, here. I have mostly standard breeds-good winter chickens. I have a "Whoops" bantam cochin rooster from a mix up at the tractor supply tank and I 've read to watch the moisture on his feathered feet, etc. I love the warm oatmeal idea. I'm about spoiling them with their food!

    Our winter was pretty mild last year too....

    Thank You, Thank You, aoxa!
     
  8. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    No problem at all :)

    My cochins did fine. They have a lot of feathers to keep them warm.
     

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