Winter flock care and feeding


Free Ranging
Mar 20, 2017
3. Sun light- During the winter we have very short days And I know sunlight is obviously a necessity for laying- if they do lay throughout the winter, do I need to supplement with artificial sunlight? I read that it is an option- but is it actually a healthy option for them?

If you provide artificial light, that can cause winter laying.
But some pullets or hens will lay in the winter even without extra light.

If they do start laying, there is no need to add extra light.

For some things, like calcium, laying eggs makes them need more of it. But laying does not make them need more light.


Jul 1, 2017
Upper Midwest, USA

The other reason to add light in the winter is so they can eat more. They can't eat in the dark and they can eat only so much at over a given timeframe. The colder it gets, the more food they need. At some point they don't have enough daylight length to eat enough.

I don't know the details of how cold/how dark. I'm in the ballpark of as far north as you but I don't expect to get as cold. I'm sure I don't need extra lighting but I am going to make sure they always have food and, especially, that they always go to roost with a full crop.

I think it also matters how much natural light there is in the coop. I can open nearly the entire west wall of my coop; I've noticed a difference in when they go to roost based on whether those doors are open or not. One day won't change their timing but several days in a row will. If your coop doesn't have many winows or they are all on either the east or west sides, it might matter for this.

About your heater - have you considered the amount of dust in a chicken coop? It tends to be flammable as well as clog fans and such. I don't know much about the different kinds of radiant heaters so am not sure how much this might be an issue in your situation. I do know of some barn fires caused by dust on heat lamp bulbs.


Hilltop Farm
14 Years
Nov 18, 2007
My Coop
My Coop
:welcome :frow You have been given a lot of good advice. Having lights in the coops is a personal preference. I do have nightlights in my coops. They are 1 watt LCD sign bulbs that give off equivalent to 11 watts. I do feed all of my birds All Flock/Flock Raiser which is good for all ages of birds. I do give my birds grains and seed for treats so I do put some grit and oyster shells in their feeders, I have a lot of birds so that works best for me and my personal choice. They don't get it everytime I feed them and they take what they want. Everyone is different and have different ways of doing things, whatever works best for them and their flocks. You will find a lot of good information here BYCArticles.jpg Good luck and have fun...

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