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#179 - 07/27/02 05:30 AM Winter Lighting for Eggs
Anonymous
Unregistered


I would like to hear the varying opinions on lighting the coop in the winter to get more eggs instead of allowing the hens to stop production based on natural light so that I may make a better informed decision about my own practices with my new flock.

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#180 - 07/27/02 05:47 AM Re: Winter Lighting for Eggs
Bruce Smith Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 560
Loc: Michigan
We have very long days in the North in the summer, so right now we do not have
any supplemental lighting. As the days get shorter, we gradually add more and
more light so as to always maintain about 14 hours of light per day. This seems
to be optimal, and it is what has been recommended for many years. We use a
timer to switch the light on earlier and earlier in the morning so they always go
to roost with the setting sun. With a timer, you have to be aware if you have a
power outage. This changes the start up time by the number of minutes or hours
the power is off. Hope this helps.

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#181 - 07/27/02 02:19 PM Re: Winter Lighting for Eggs
Anonymous
Unregistered


We are in NE TN and during the shortest days of the year add lighting also. I have found that solar lights work great. We have a solar powered light outside of all the chicken houses and when we shut them in for the night we simply move the light inside the coop. As the night goes on the light gets dimmer and goes out. We use the type light intended for along sidewalks, it comes with a little stand and has a hook on top of the light. Turns itself off too. We just include it in the routine and its pretty simple. Not too many days that don't have enough solar to power them up. Just some food for thought.
Janet Tallon

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#182 - 07/27/02 03:47 PM Re: Winter Lighting for Eggs
Bill Ludwig Offline
Classroom Professor

Registered: 07/17/02
Posts: 2582
Loc: Ohio
I do as Dr. Smith does. I found a timer at an Ace Hardware that is electronic and has a battery back up. If the power is off the timer will keep its time and is easily set to the minute. Just as he mentioned I set the timer for morning and let them roost with the setting sun. It worked well for me last winter. Good luck.

Bill

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#183 - 07/27/02 03:55 PM Re: Winter Lighting for Eggs
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
I do light my coop but mostly because the winter lights are heat lamps. I have had unlit coops and still got eggs in the winter, just less than during summer. I don't know how encouraging laying in the winter might affect a hens overall health. I guess none of us truly know. So I would say to go with whatever works for you, what is easiest for your care routine and what *you* feel is best for your birds. Since I sell eggs now, I am going to try to keep the best winter production I can.

Susie

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#184 - 07/27/02 04:35 PM Re: Winter Lighting for Eggs
Anonymous
Unregistered


If I decide to light them this winter I have a timer in the coop right now that I operate a fan with for our heat.

I was just wondering mostly if it's better for the health of the chickens if I don't force them into unnatural winter production.

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#185 - 07/27/02 07:47 PM Re: Winter Lighting for Eggs
CJR Online   content
Coop Master

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 8489
Loc: Montana
Don't consider that winter production is unnatural. Lots of hen without additional light keep right on laying--other factors come into play. Late hatch pullets may just come into lay by winter--and they will go right on laying without supplimentry lighting. You may not get another year of two of laying from hens that are "rested" during winter months--it is still determined by multiple factors. If you want eggs, as long as hens are well fed, they will lay eggs--it is quite normal, lights won't harm them! CJR

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#186 - 07/27/02 09:30 PM Re: Winter Lighting for Eggs
Anonymous
Unregistered


I am just getting started in the chicken biz. I own 50 15 week old laying pullets. So far things are going great my flock is very healthy and very happy thanks to the info I gather here at the coop. My question is on the lighting I read here and in many books about the 14 hour deal in the winter but most vetern chicken folks around here leave their light on 24/7 and get plenty of eggs.So tell me this is their any disadvantage besides your electric bill going up by leaving your light on 24/7??

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#187 - 07/28/02 07:15 AM Re: Winter Lighting for Eggs
Anonymous
Unregistered


Thanks CJR, that's what I was wondering!

We just had our first 6 little eggs for breakfast this morning! So tasty and the best part is knowing where they came from and how old they were. I gathered the 6th blue Araucana egg just this morning right after it was laid. Of course, I thanked the pretty white Araucana that gave it to us and petted her :p

Right before she laid the egg (I wasn't in the coop the moment she laid), she was sitting in the same nest box she laid her other egg in when all the other girls piled out of the fenced in yard to get their morning range feast. She was rolling and sitting on a fake egg, not moving much. I figured something was about to happen but then I wondered if this was a sign of broodiness (where a person has to break the broody hen). Then I realized this is probably just everyday behavior right before laying an egg...true?

In other words, what is the normal behavior right before and after laying an egg? Wish I had been there at the right moment!

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#188 - 07/28/02 08:58 AM Re: Winter Lighting for Eggs
Susie Offline
Lord of the Fowl

Registered: 07/16/02
Posts: 1902
Loc: Arkansas
Buckeye Boy -- last winter I had my coop lit 24/7 simply because I use heat lamps in the winter. The coop is pretty large (about 12'x12') and the heat lamps are all on one end so they can get out of the light, however, nowhere is totally dark. I haven't noticed any ill effects. The birds still roost and sleep like normal. In fact, my birds sleep in sorta late. They don't get off the roost until about 7:30 or so even in the summer.

Mtech -- All hens are a little different. I have some who will sit on that nest for a long time before laying and egg and then maybe even a couple of hours afterwards. Others, hop up, lay the egg and get right down. They say that those who sit longer might have more of a broody tendency. However, a hen that has truly gone broody won't get off that nest but for once a day to eat and drink and some won't even do that. Cackling after laying an egg is also another sign that a hen might have that broody tendency.

Susie

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#189 - 07/28/02 09:35 AM Re: Winter Lighting for Eggs
Graciel Offline
Coop Keeper

Registered: 07/18/02
Posts: 423
Loc: New York
BuckeyeBoy, I don't know much about lighting for hens, but in dairy cows, you don't get the milk production with 24 hour a day lighting that you get with 14-15 hour a day lighting. When you go to 24 hour lighting, you're really messing up their melatonin release, and since that's one of the master hormones, this is Not a Good Thing. smile The idea is to mimic a spring day when they want to lay eggs and the calves are on the ground needing milk. When you go 24 hours, you've gone beyond suppressing melatonin like a spring day, and you're trying to suppress it entirely. You don't want to do that if you can help it. Cows need quite a few foot candles of light to affect them, but I don't think poultry are as fussy this way. Like I said, I'm not up on it. But in general, you want to keep the light at 14 hours or so for the best results/health in the flock.

Jennifer

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