what bulb wattage would be considered natural light?


In the Brooder
10 Years
Jun 26, 2009
Good morning all...
Quick question for all u experts out there. Some of the birds in my flock are beginning to loose an increasing amount of feathers. It's especially noticed on the neck. I'm thinking this is because of a natural molt. There is some pecking within the flock and occassionaally someone will emerge with a couple of downy feathers in their beak. I read that additional lighting during fall and winter would eleviate this problem. I really am not liking the tattered look
. Besides it's gonna be winter soon won't they need all the feathers they can get for warmth? Newbie here(guess u can tell that by my juvie posts;)
Does it sound like I'm on the right trck here? Any comments welcome and appreciated!
They are going through a molt. Different things can trigger it but the normal one is that the days get shorter. Juveniles go through several molts while growing up, but adults usually molt once a year. Throughout the year the feathers get worn out or broken, so nature has come up with the molt as the way to renew their feathers and get them looking good again. If it is the first adult molt, the eggs will be bigger when they start laying again. It is perfectly natural. I don't think you can stop it once it has started. This link tells you a lot about it.

Mississippi State describes molting

Some people, including the commercial egg producers, use artificial lights to extend the chickens day so they will keep laying through the winter. What wattage you would need would depend on the size of your coop. It does not take a lot. I've heard it described as just enough that you can read a newspapaer.
First of all, how old are your chickens. If this is their first year, they won't molt. If they are pullets at the point of lay, how many roosters do you have? Roosters, especially young ones, can be rough on the neck and back of the hens. Light in the winter is more about continuing laying than avoiding molt. So let us know the age and the number of roosters and hens, and what are they eating.
The pullets and roos are about 14-16 weeks old. 16 total. Not sure of all the sexes yet but about 7-8 roosters. Their diet consists of growing mash/crumbles, and snacks like fresh corn, apples, grains, worms. The also forage outside for 3-4 hours a day Should I add some sort of dietary supplement? In the coop and run there are quite a few downy and wing feathers that I have to pick up daily. So far only 3 have the head/neck thing going on. I spend a lot of time observing them and their sqabbling seems pretty mild mannered. My hens plumage seems okay.
I just fixed a light on a timer in my small 8 x 8 coop and used a 60watt bulb. It works well enough however I think it would be more effective IF I PAINTED THE INSIDE WHITE or at least the celing area so it would reflect the light.
Frankly what you describe sounds to me like some combination of a) normal final-juvenile molt and/or b) the roos starting to try to mate the hens, but rather ineptly, with a lot of neck-grabbing and feather-pulling-out. (They grab the back of the neck with their beak to steady themselves as they 'climb aboard', and adolescent male chickens often take quite a while to get from the initial stage of "trying everything they can think of to get to second base" to becoming actual "smooth operators who can unhook a bra with one hand"

So personally, as long as thye have sufficient room for hens to get away from excessivly obsessed roos and as long as it is not *actually* a hens-picking-on-hens problem (stand around and observe them), I would not honestly worry about it.

Additional lighting will not stop them from molting, certianly not their juvenile molts, so that is really not a relevant option.

Good luck, have fun,

Chickens will have partial molts their first year. Nothing will stop a molt. They molt because they need new feathers. Either as they are growing or in order to survive winter. Feathers get damaged over time and have to be replaced. Molting is just replacing lots of those feathers at once instead of one by one. After they are done they will look better than ever and lay better than ever. Eggs also tend to get darker after a molt if you have brown or colored layers. Molts can be good things.
Thank you for all of your input. I guess I'll sit back and let mother nature take its course. I'll just keep my eyes open for anything other than what seems by concensus to be natural starts to happen.

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