Yet another lighting question.......

Discussion in 'Coop & Run - Design, Construction, & Maintenance' started by khable, Sep 7, 2007.

  1. khable

    khable Songster

    Mar 16, 2007
    LaGrangeville, NY
    Hi all,

    I have been reading about using supplemental lighting in the winter for egg layers to continue to lay.

    I have also read that they continue to lay without the light.... which is it?? [​IMG]

    I have almost 20 week old Buff Orpingtons...

    I do want eggs over the winter... but wouldn't mind if they slow down at all. Maybe to 1/2.... Just would hate it if they stopped completely.

    WWYD?? [​IMG]

    If I were to put one in, I was thinking that a rope light (kind like a Christmas light strand but totally enclosed in a plastic tube) Would that be a good choice??

    Do you extend the day light in the morning or night... or both??

    Thanks again for your answers for this newbie!
  2. Country Gal

    Country Gal Songster

    Feb 2, 2007
    Capac, MI
    Hi Kim,

    I think that if you do not give supplemental light, it only slows down the laying, it should not stop it all together.

    I've read that if you do give supplemental light, give it in the morning. The chickens might freak out in the evening if it's light then all of a sudden *BAM* everything goes dark. I have mine on a timer and right now it turns on around 5:00 a.m., but I think I'll have to change it to go on earlier pretty soon...

    Good luck!
  3. justusnak

    justusnak Flock Mistress

    Feb 28, 2007
    South Eastern Indiana
    Hmmm, well...I dont use timers...I just go in same time every morning, and turn on the light....I use flourescent lighting, not too expencive to run, and not hot. Being that you have Buff Orps....they should lay through the winter no problem...might slow down a little, but they are supposed to be great winter layers.
  4. khable

    khable Songster

    Mar 16, 2007
    LaGrangeville, NY
    Oh good. I wasn't sure about their winter laying capabilities.

    I really don't mind them slowing down.

    If they slow down too much... can I add the light then and they will pick back up??? or is it something you need to do from the start so they don't slow down??

    County Gal... I never thought of the light going out at night I bet that would freak em out a bit. [​IMG]

    Thanks guys!
  5. Newchickenmom&kids

    Newchickenmom&kids Songster

    Apr 11, 2007
  6. khable

    khable Songster

    Mar 16, 2007
    LaGrangeville, NY
    Thank you for the link! Very interesting!

    I guess mine will lay just fine over the winter.

    Any other B.O. owners who can share about their winter experience.
  7. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Winter laying is not merely dependent on light alone. It's important mind you, and should be timed to coordinate to a diurnal cycle of about 14 hours. But just flipping on the lights isn't enough!

    Heat is also critical, because a cold chicken can't lay eggs well. You will have to keep the henhouse at 50-60 degrees most of the time.

    But, the most important factor is timing. Hens that have been mismanaged and come into the molt during the peak of the fall/winter season won't lay many eggs, for example. So just tossing some extra feed at your birds, keeping a heat lamp going and turning on the lights from time to time won't cut it, unless you just want to do all that for the exercise. The matter of timing is your primary concern. Timing? What do I mean?
    The answer to this question has been said bettter by another, so let me quote him, if I may:

    "The great majority of farmers' flocks lay eggs only during what may be called the "natural season" of the year, mainly in the spring and early summer. One of the principal reasons for this is that the fowls are usually kept in an almost natural state. They do not receive the special attention that the egg farmer gives his flocks. Doubtless the great majority could be made to yield eggs well throughout the year by proper management -- management such as the egg farmer gives his flocks.

    An important thing to remember in rearing fowls for winter laying is to have the pullets mature between September and November.
    This can be determined by the date of hatching and by the method of rearing. The Asiatic breeds require much longer than the Mediterranean classes.

    The American fowls hatched between late March and early May will begin laying during October, provided they are properly managed. Such calculation helps in the long run and it is better to have some system that embraces as many helpful features as possible, than to have no system at all.

    It must be remembered that the winter is not the season which is favorable to egg production. Therefore, the poultry raiser has to contend with unfavorable conditions, especially the condition of cold and wet, to say nothing of the natural tendency.

    Management of Laying Stock
    So far as egg laying is concerned, the egg farmer's year begins in October. This is the usual time. Everything should then be put in readiness for egg production. The pullets and hens should be placed in their permanent winter quarters and special care taken to prevent overcrowding. The sooner the flocks are made up, the better as a rule, because they then get accustomed to their quarters and there is less danger of upsetting them when they begin to lay.

    None but mature pullets should be selected for laying. All that are puny, undersized, lazy, weak or otherwise undesirable, should be weeded out and prepared for the table. These will not pay their board. This statement does not apply to late-hatched pullets; it only applies to those that are inferior to other stock hatched at the same time.

    Only such hens as have proved their worthiness in the previous season should be kept over for a second or third winter.
    They usually make good breeders and breeding stock should be selected from them always, rather than from pullets. Too often, however, in the farm flock, the reverse practice is followed. This is suicidal to profitable egg production. It should be reversed.

    It is just as important to feed well for eggs as it is to breed well for them. As soon as cold weather approaches, corn (carbohydrate) must be added more freely to the ration than during the warm weather.
    By this, it is not meant that the nitrogenous (protein) matter should be cut out of the ration altogether. It is superior, as a general rule, to have the fowls somewhat too fat than poor or even in merely good condition.

    By proper management, egg production may continue without interruption during even extremely cold weather, but, in order to maintain the flow of eggs, the hens must be protected against sudden change.

    Properly housed fowls will usually lay well no matter what the character of weather, provided the poultryman is deft in offsetting excessive fluctuations of temperature and moisture. Because large quantities of carbonaceous matter are used in maintaining body heat, a carbonaceous ration may be better for egg production during very cold weather than a nitrogenous one. Do not forget, though, that much carbonaceous matter is used up to maintain the heat of the fowl, but there should be still enough surplus of protein to meet the demands of egg laying.

    Autumn Care of Layers
    When making up the flock for the fall season, the hens that began laying earliest and laid best with the least fussing should be chosen first. Next to this should come the hens that did best during the summer.
    It is a much disputed question whether pullets or hens do best as layers. Many poultrymen claim that pullets are superior and, therefore, the more profitable, but there is nothing decided on this subject. For this reason the statement may be repeated -- do not part with a hen so long as she lays well. A hen on the nest is worth two pullets in the field."

    M.G. Kains, Profitable Poultry Production, 1910

    So you see, just blasting the lights wont do it alone.
  8. kstaven

    kstaven Crowing

    Jan 26, 2007
    BC, Washington Border
    Personally I would put more weight on the diet part and breed than heat or light.

    We hit -16 here during the winter and they still lay. Although production does drop from the summer #'s. Draft free coop and lots of bedding and they do just fine. Pushing hens to hard to lay in the winter just burns them out quicker. That is OK from the commercial perspective but not so desirable from the hobbyists point of view.

    I have 5 year old hens here that are reliable winter layers. The characteristic has been passed on to their progeny. So the lineage of your birds will have an impact also.
  9. ozark hen

    ozark hen Living My Dream

    Apr 4, 2007
    Mansfield, MO
    interesting link to have. thanks for sharing.
    Elderoo, love that avatar of yours.
  10. Zenbirder

    Zenbirder Songster

    May 3, 2007
    New Mexico
    Quote:kstaven, do you use any extra lighting? Or do you just go with natural sunlight?

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