Will chickens sleep in the coop with a light on?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by jimmywalt, Mar 25, 2013.

  1. jimmywalt

    jimmywalt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Mar 24, 2013
    I'm new at chicken raising. We have 3 chicks and a coop that we will be using. We live in Michigan where it gets cold in the winter. I was thinking about using a light in the coop to keep it warm and the water from freezing (nights can get to 10 degrees here). But will the light cause the chickens not to sleep or mess them up (eating, drinking, laying eggs) if it's light 24/7? We have a small coop like this one. Thank you!

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    http://common2.csnimages.com/lf/49/...ision-Pet-Products-Hen-House-Chicken-Coop.jpg
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  2. jimmywalt

    jimmywalt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Also, what type/watt of bulb would you use? Currently we have a 250 watt infared red bulb in our brooder box with the 3 chicks.

    Probably wouldn't have room in this small coop for that light and deflector, so would a 100 watt household (lamp - old style) light work?
     
  3. pen

    pen Out Of The Brooder

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    My husband just uses a regular light bulb and our chickens have continued to lay eggs all winter. We leave the light on 24 hours a day during the very cold days and nights but then when it starts to warm up a little I have the light on a timer, mostly for in the fall when we dont get enough sunlight, or in the spring when the sun doesnt shine, which can happen here in Missouri for days and days.
     
  4. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    Leaving a light on 24/7 will cause stress in any animal. Stress can take the form of disease or pecking or laying less, or all three. In fact, it's been proven that 24/7 lighting depresses egglaying in hens. You might be getting eggs, but you'd get MORE if you let them have a dark period.

    As far as a heat lamp, I would invite you to search BYC on that one. There are a lot of opinions, but I would say that perhaps most of us don't use any supplementary heat for a variety of reasons--one of the most important being that they cause the hens to be dependent on the heat and don't allow them to naturally adapt to the weather--then if the power goes out, the hens are in a world of hurt. Also, many people have had fires because of their heat lamps. But if you do a search for posts on heat lamps or supplementary heat, you'll find a wealth of information.

    If you MUST have a light on 24/7, at least have it be a red bulb rather than a white one.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  5. 4 the Birds

    4 the Birds Chillin' With My Peeps

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    The only problem with a standard light source is that it could add too much heat and light to a small coop. I would go with a red bulb and and very low wattage and even a nightlight for a coop of your size. My chickens are for sure MORE egg productive during the winter months with an added light source. Without added light our egg production is cut in half. The coop is large enough so that they can roost near the light, away from the light, or even outside in a three sided covered area. It is best if there are options for them for light/dark or for warmth. Our birds are in no way stressed and stay healthy. I hear the "your coop will burn down" or "if you lose power then your birds will suffer or die" opposition to light/heat in the coop all the time. Use and install your lighting with common sense and you will be fine.
     
  6. kdwag

    kdwag Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I went back and forth on that for quite a while My four girls were 8 weeks when I put them in their coop and it was late October. The coop has a higher top to it. My husband used one of those small screw in hooks that he screwed into the top of the coop, and I cut a small hole in the vent on the side. I can hang a brooder light on the hook and run the cord outside to an extension chord inside the barn. To date, I have left a light on at night twice when it was in the single digits.. I would also leave the light on for a little longer after I closed them in (not sure it was a good thing or not) and then I would go out and turn it off. On the times I left the light on all night, I noticed they were restless and didn't sleep well at all. I haven't done it since They are now 6 1/2 months old. Sometimes during the day when it's really cold outside and their coop door is open, I leave it on but turn it off just before dark. They don't seem to go in as well with that light on and I think it confused them a bit. They were dustbathing when they should have been roosting, etc. So, long story short, if they are fully feathered (8-10 weeks) they will be fine, as long as they are breeds that are cold hardy (some breeds aren't). Mine slept in their nest boxes on top of one another until they were a good 14-16 weeks old. Then they started to roost and outgrew the boxes. I would avoid ordinary household lights because some of them have a toxic film that will kill birds. Good luck.
     
  7. dutch girl

    dutch girl New Egg

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    I live in Colorado and the temps went below freezing many a night. I have no heat in the coop , but it is well insulated. I have an ordinary 60 watt light with an extension cord into the house and keep it on a timer so they have about 12-13 hrs of light. My coop is high and I only have 3 hens, but they did just fine and kept on laying all through the winter. I did close the coop every night through middle of March but do not even do that now, although it was 4 degrees last night. They adjust to the temp without any problems if you do it slowly. I use an small aquarium heater to keep the water from freezing.
     
  8. jimmywalt

    jimmywalt Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Great idea on the aquarium heater. How does that look? Do you have a picture? What does your water container look like? Thank you!
     
  9. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

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    There's no doubt that making sure that birds have 14 - 18 hours of light a day in the winter, and doing that by supplementing light, will keep birds laying. It's when there's no dark period at all that birds get stressed and egg production suffers compared to birds that get 14 - 18 hours of light, not compared to birds with no supplementary lighting. Here's the science: http://umaine.edu/publications/2227e/

    Leaving a light on 24-7 is hard on birds. Many organic and/or humane treatment programs require a dark period for any livestock.
     
    Last edited: Mar 25, 2013
  10. motheroffive

    motheroffive New Egg

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    [​IMG]Thank you so much for this question and all who have answered. I live in Northern Ontario and I now know not to bother with the heat lamp and to not keep the light on 24/7. Also I have been putting snow in the coop for their water supply and they seem to love it and it serves the purpose.
     

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