Why won't my chickens wake up to the light in the coop?

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by bethgwd, Nov 3, 2010.

  1. bethgwd

    bethgwd Out Of The Brooder

    21
    0
    22
    Jul 14, 2010
    Greenwood, SC
    Hello!
    The days are really getting shorter here in the south (SC)! I decided to add a light to the coop because I am getting 0 - 1 egg a day! The only problem is my chickens are not waking up to the light! Last year, the light worked just fine! Any suggestions?
    Thank you!
    Beth
     
  2. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    102
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    Er, by "waking up to the light" do you mean "increasing egg production"?

    If your issue is that you're not seeing increased egg production, then my first question would be, have they molted or are they starting to molt? If they are going into, in the midst of, or coming out of a molt, then no they will not be laying much if at all. Light won't change that, you have to wait for the molt to finish.

    Another possible explanation is you've added light too late in the year, if it's only been on for a few weeks. You can try bumping it up to 16 hrs (from 14) and see if that helps any but no guarantees at all. If you are serious about keeping up egg production, you need to start adding light when natural day length falls below 13-14 hrs (which may be in August or September, depending where you live)

    And mind you, what counts is day length *in the coop* -- dark-painted or poorly-windowed coops, or coops in very dim shaded locations, may give the chickens an effective daylength that is markedly shorter than time-between-sunup-and-sundown.

    Even if you are doing the exact same thing with lights that you did last year, all of the above still applies. Reason being, pullets in their first year of laying often experience much less winter 'dip' than older hens do. In fact for some production lines/breeds you may see little if ANY reduction in winter laying the first winter, even with no supplemental lights and even here north of Toronto [​IMG] But it changes when they get older.

    If on the other hand you just mean that the chickens are not getting off the roost when your light comes on in the morning, I dunno, does it matter? The light has the same effect on reproductive hormones whether or not they're sitting there or down bopping around.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  3. NeeleysAVLChicks

    NeeleysAVLChicks Chillin' With My Peeps

    959
    4
    131
    Aug 4, 2009
    Leicester, NC
    As always, wonderful advice from Pat... [​IMG]
     
  4. bethgwd

    bethgwd Out Of The Brooder

    21
    0
    22
    Jul 14, 2010
    Greenwood, SC
    Thank you for responding Pat! I added the light about a month ago when the days started getting shorter. I think I will try increasing the length of time that it is on! I really thought the girls were starting to molt but they still don't really look like it! I got 2 eggs today so MAYBE production is on the rise! [​IMG]

    Have a great day
     
  5. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner True BYC Addict

    20,486
    3,880
    506
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    I am about the same latitude you are so our day lengths are pretty similar. How dark your coop is may make us some different. I do not add any light. My pullets that start laying before winter hits usually continue laying all winter with little drop-off until the next fall's molt. My hens more than a year old molt and quit laying when fall hits. Right now I have one that has molted and already back to laying almost every day. She was broody and molted while she was raising her chicks, so she got an early start. I have one that has not started molting yet and is still laying. I don't know what is going on with her. The rest are molting and have quit laying.

    I'll give you these links about molting. The pictures may be interesting. Good luck!

    Mississippi State describes molting
    http://msucares.com/poultry/management/poultry_feathers.html

    Kansas State feather loss
    http://www.ksre.ksu.edu/library/lvstk2/mf2308.pdf
     
  6. bethgwd

    bethgwd Out Of The Brooder

    21
    0
    22
    Jul 14, 2010
    Greenwood, SC
    Thank you for responding and sending the articles. I am going there now!
    Have a great day!!
     
  7. patandchickens

    patandchickens Flock Mistress

    12,521
    102
    341
    Apr 20, 2007
    Ontario, Canada
    If they have not molted now, they are probably starting, or going to start soon. (If these are a year and a half old, ish, now). And there is just nothing you can do about how THAT affects laying.

    A month ago, days were already less than 12 hours long (less if your coop is dim), so that was probably somewhat late to be adding light -- you might want to make sure to start earlier next year, if you still want to do it.

    Good luck, have fun,

    Pat
     
  8. Chicken-Rage

    Chicken-Rage Out Of The Brooder

    66
    0
    29
    Sep 26, 2010
    Taylors SC
    greenville here, just thought I stop in and say hi.[​IMG]
     
  9. Jackie B.

    Jackie B. Paris Mtn. Eggs

    423
    0
    119
    May 13, 2010
    Greenville, SC
    Hi Chicken-Rage, I'm in Greenville too! Over by Furman. Introduce yourself on the SC- "where am I, where are you thread"!

    -Jackie
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by