What keeps birds laying, light or heat?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by savingdogs, Nov 6, 2009.

  1. savingdogs

    savingdogs Chillin' With My Peeps

    We are still constructing the lighting part of our chicken coop and I have a question I have not seen posed here.

    What exactly about putting lights into the coop keeps chickens laying. That it is warmer in there, or that it is lighter?

    We were wondering what kind of bulbs to use and whether we need a heat lamp and a light lamp or not.

    We live at a fairly high elevation so have cold and mostly rainy winters, but we have a few months of snow and freezing temps as well, our lows are not below the teens on the coldest nights usually.

    What works for you? We would like our birds to be comfortable as well as keep their egg production up without spending too much on lighting/heating their coop if possible.

    Thanks everyone in advance for your consideration of my question.

    Arin on Dunegan Mountain
     
  2. swheat

    swheat The Bantam Barn

    Mar 18, 2008
    Alabama
    My Coop
    I am in the south so it doesn't get extremely cold here, but I think it is the amount of light they get. They need about 14 hour of daylight to keep them laying. Some breeds may lay through the winter anyway.
     
  3. mypicklebird

    mypicklebird Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 8, 2008
    Sonoma Co, CA
    Longer days (lighting for light, not heat), keeps them laying closer to year round. People usually aim for a 12 hr day.
     
  4. ChickenToes

    ChickenToes Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 14, 2008
    NE Wisconsin
    Light keeps them laying. Put a light in the coop and set a timer so it turns on in the morning. Aim to give them 12 to 14 hours of daylight. In my experience, if it gets extremely cold (and I mean temps consistently below zero) then they don't lay as well, no matter how many hours of light they have.
     
  5. Big C

    Big C J & C Farms

    561
    0
    139
    Dec 15, 2008
    Vernon Texas
    1. Breed specific for your area.
    2. Provide as much naural light as possible with your coops at a north south alignment with light entering from east west.
    3. Feed and water 24/7.

    Ours average 85%
     
  6. gsim

    gsim Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,993
    20
    176
    Jun 18, 2009
    East Tennessee
    Window at east end of coop for sure. If possible, windows at south end too. Low wintertime sun will light and heat the coop. I have an 8x16 for 24 chooks. It has double hung sash at east and west ends, and really large home made awning type windows facing south where entrance and pop doors are. In summertime, the south windows let no sunlight directly in due to 12" soffit. West window is near to trees and little direct sun comes in there ever. You will have to consider all of that when you orient the coop and also for choosing the site itself. I doubt heat is a big problem up there. It is a consideration in Tennessee.

    Breeds important. I chose barred rock, rhode island red, black austrolorpes, and buff comets. All have reps for being consistent year round layers. Black aussies are especially noted by some to be really good wintertime producers. Buffs begin to lay earlier, and mine began at 16 weeks. At 20 weeks they are still the only ones laying. So breeds are important to consistent egg-laying. Also, try to give them all of the fresh greens you can lay your hands on. Try to avoid feeding them store-bought feed all winter long. Try to find wilted lettuce, etc for them in cold weather. We had a gigantic crop of peppers this year so we are freezing some for use during the winter months. (they are the smaller ones that will never be close to ripening this late in year.) [​IMG]
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    87
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Quote:It's basically the light. That said, if the chickens get real real cold, that can hinder laying (until the cold snap ends) even if they're getting enough light.

    We were wondering what kind of bulbs to use and whether we need a heat lamp and a light lamp or not. We live at a fairly high elevation so have cold and mostly rainy winters, but we have a few months of snow and freezing temps as well, our lows are not below the teens on the coldest nights usually.

    If you are just lighting the coop, anything is fine - either a regular lightbulb or CFL or even an xmas LED string. You only need about enough light to easily read the newspaper by, at chicken level. So a typical 8x8 coop with a 6-8' ceiling, painted a light color inside, would only need a 40-60w bulb.

    For heat, there are other things it makes more sense to do IMHO before applying electric bill to the chickens -- see my 'cold coop' page link in .sig below for ideas.

    The teens is not cold for a chicken, as long as they are in draft-free dry air. If your climate runs to having 100% humidity most of the time when it's cold, you may need a lamp for warmth at milder temperatures than those in other climates; but I would not jump to conclusions. Remember it will be warmer int he coop than out, much of the time (in terms of nightly lows). Just keep an eye on the chickens, you will see whether they're having troulbe or showing early signs of frostbite or not. Then you can turn a lamp on if you HAVE to. The most sensible thing IMHO if you have to use electric is to have a bulb shining over the roost, rather than using thousands of watts to try to heat the whole coop.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat​
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by