Winter coop hours/ sleep time

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ChickenMamaC, Aug 14, 2018.

  1. ChickenMamaC

    ChickenMamaC Songster

    Jun 6, 2018
    Santa Fe, NM
    The days are already getting shorter! I started thinking about winter, when it’s dark as early as 5:30. Will my chickens go to their coop that early?? Do they sleep for 14+ hours in the winter months?

    I would think a lot of people in northern states/ countries must be using lights. However, I’d like to keep them as close to their natural circadian rhythms as possible. I don’t mind lower egg production. Some of my pullets probably won’t even start laying before winter anyway.

    What do you all do? Lights? Let them sleep way more?
  2. PotatoHead

    PotatoHead Songster

    May 18, 2018
    North Central Idaho
    My Coop
    Interesting questions....I am also interested!
    Kayla's Lunch likes this.
  3. Kayla's Lunch

    Kayla's Lunch Songster

    Jun 9, 2018
    I would like to know also. I only got chickens in June,so this will be my first winter with my girls!
    CrazyCrttr75 and PotatoHead like this.
  4. lissalischicks

    lissalischicks Songster

    Jan 31, 2016
    Los Angeles, California
    Yes they will go in earlier as the days gets shorter.
    As for lights, only one year I did not do lights and they just slept until the sun came up. The rest of the years I have done lights. The minute the lights go on the chickens walk out of the hen house and go into my enclosed run. My run has lights so they hang out until the automatic chicken door opens. Funny enough, even though we have lights, they will still go into the hen house depending on natural daylight hours and sit there and wait for the lights to go off.

    RNPAULIE69 Songster

    May 27, 2017
    I don't keep lights on for my girls, when they feel the need to roost they go. I do however put lights on in the morning in the pens only because we leave for work at 6 am and its still dark in fall and winter. They tend to get up when dogs go out in the morning and the lights on house go on..they are motion censored. Then they find themselves sitting in a dark pen when the sensors go off . It's more for their safety so they can see after they exit coop.
    Kayla's Lunch likes this.
  6. llombardo

    llombardo Crowing

    Mar 11, 2018
    I worry about predators along with the time change, especially for those that work. I'm not fond of the idea that they technically could be in danger because of the time chsnge.
    Kayla's Lunch likes this.
  7. rosemarythyme

    rosemarythyme Crowing

    Jul 3, 2016
    Pac NW
    My Coop
    Chickens can't tell time, so they go by daylight. Yes they'll go in when it's dusk, regardless if it's 5:00 or 9:00 PM. I have an autodoor set by timer so I'll adjust it to close earlier as the days shorten.

    I don't do artificial lights. I'm fine if the older girls don't lay through the winter.
    Kayla's Lunch likes this.
  8. RWise

    RWise Songster

    Dec 25, 2012
    Oakhurst Oklahoma
    I use lights set to give them 13.5 hours of light per day. For my girls this is the point they lay best at, less time and the eggs drop off fast. To much time is bad also, and production again drops off.
    The old gals mostly dont lay in the cold months, but they dont lay much in nice weather either,,,
    Kayla's Lunch likes this.
  9. HenniesInMyHeart

    HenniesInMyHeart Songster

    Mar 12, 2018
    I never use lights; I don't believe in artificially altering my chickens' circadian rhythm. Naturally, they go to bed earlier and sleep more in winter.
    RNPAULIE69 likes this.
  10. Cindy in PA

    Cindy in PA Crowing

    Jul 8, 2008
    Fleetwood, PA
    I use lights every year. They get up & eat when the lights go on, but I have always kept the food & water in the coop for that purpose. I would never want them out in the run until the sun comes up.

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