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Do you light the way in the winter?

 
gardener
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I'm a strong believer in letting nature take it's course.  So in winter if the hens stop laying, I just buy eggs. I don't like buying eggs, but I want my hens to be healthy.  We have had some good rain this winter. Thank goodness!!! Of course we can use a great deal more. Anyway I put plastic on the sides of my coop because the hole coop was getting wet, and all the feeders filled with water. Once I put the plastic up it was dark and gloomy in the coop.  I put a 50 watt Led shop light in the main part of the coop. I put it on a timer. It turns on about 6:30 am and off about 6:30 pm.  One door is always open, so they can come and go as they please. ( They have an enclosed yard). I did this so they wouldn't be in the dark on those rainy gloomy days.  The thing that makes me wonder if I have made a mistake is, I'm getting more eggs then I was. Not like summer, but  4 to 6 a day. I have 17 hens. 4 are Sapphire gem that are supposed to lay high two hundreds, and 4 are Isa Brown, they are supposed to lay 300 a year. Everyone seems healthy and happy.  I went out tonight just after the light went out. It seems a few were having a hard time finding the perch loosing the light all of a sudden.  It made me wonder what other people do.  Light, or no light?
 
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Jen Fulkerson wrote:I'm a strong believer in letting nature take it's course.  So in winter if the hens stop laying, I just buy eggs. I don't like buying eggs, but I want my hens to be healthy.  We have had some good rain this winter. Thank goodness!!! Of course we can use a great deal more. Anyway I put plastic on the sides of my coop because the hole coop was getting wet, and all the feeders filled with water. Once I put the plastic up it was dark and gloomy in the coop.  I put a 50 watt Led shop light in the main part of the coop. I put it on a timer. It turns on about 6:30 am and off about 6:30 pm.  One door is always open, so they can come and go as they please. ( They have an enclosed yard). I did this so they wouldn't be in the dark on those rainy gloomy days.  The thing that makes me wonder if I have made a mistake is, I'm getting more eggs then I was. Not like summer, but  4 to 6 a day. I have 17 hens. 4 are Sapphire gem that are supposed to lay high two hundreds, and 4 are Isa Brown, they are supposed to lay 300 a year. Everyone seems healthy and happy.  I went out tonight just after the light went out. It seems a few were having a hard time finding the perch loosing the light all of a sudden.  It made me wonder what other people do.  Light, or no light?



I don't use lights at all with my ladies, because, as you said, I think nature knows best.  I have a small "run" that is just a hoop house that is covered with clear plastic so they will still go outside in the winter.  Mine don't really mind the cold, but they don't like walking in the snow.  With the hoop house, they have a snow-free place to walk, it heats up well in the winter, and the clear plastic doesn't cut down on their light.

Short answer = no light :)
 
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no lights here. not surprised that a light that turns off abruptly leaves them confused since they are signaled by the fading light to roost.
 
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I don’t use lights.
 
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I don't use lights but if I did, I'd have them come on early and turn off before dusk so that the birds can find their way to the roost without the sun setting in an instant on them.
 
pollinator
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Mike Haasl wrote:I don't use lights but if I did, I'd have them come on early and turn off before dusk so that the birds can find their way to the roost without the sun setting in an instant on them.




^^^This.

I haven't used lights in the past, but I'm going to be adding them soon. Possibly even later today if I can find where I put everything. But, I do know that my birds freak out if the lights suddenly turn off, so my timer will be set so they get an early dawn and a natural dusk.

Supply shortages around here are getting annoying, so I'd rather not have to depend on store eggs if I can avoid it.
 
Jen Fulkerson
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Thanks everyone.  I need to think about what I need to do. The easy solution is just don't bother with the light.  The problem with that is the west side of the coop has an old shed about 4'  from the coop, and where the shed ends a walnut tree my son has cut down twice is now a 6' bush. A barn on the north side and a giant almond tree in the south.  It's a great location most of the year when every inch of shade is needed.. Just a couple of winter months when they could use the sun.
Maybe I will have the light go out at like 2, maybe find a dim light stay on until maybe 4, and that way there should be a small amount of sun light that will naturally get darker. Something to think about. Thank you.
 
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Set the timer so the light comes on at 4am and goes off at 2pm well before it gets dark.

I have both used lights and not used lights. I found that production hens laid whatever, they didn't care about light but older breeds stop for 5-6 months of the year without light. I stopped using lights as I noticed boredom issues, the chickens had free range to the outside in fact they were fully free range if they wished, but in wet and windy weather they didn't want to be outside and with a light on inside they were awake a lot longer and got very bored, they then started egg eating, pecking and fighting. turning the light back off cured those issues.
 
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