Chicken coop lighting is one of the simple but major issues new chicken farmers are having problems with. Improper chicken coop heating may result in the deaths of chickens especially if you are growing young broilers.
Should you add supplemental lighting to your chicken coop? Will hens overwinter? Learn why you might want to add a light bulb to your chicken coop.
Chicken coop lighting for laying hens
Hens naturally lay eggs when the days are long, and they slow down when the days get shorter in winter. This is because daylight stimulates the pituitary gland, which stimulates the hens’ ovaries to produce eggs. Hens lay when they have daylight for at least 12-14 hours per day, and egg production drops significantly and may even stop once the days are shorter than this.
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A 40-watt light bulb suspended about 7 feet above the ground will provide enough light intensity to replace daylight in a small chicken coop of about 100 square feet (10 feet by 10 feet or so). For a larger chicken coop up to 200 square feet, use a 60-watt light bulb.
With a timer to ensure at least 14 hours of light, you can program it to turn off when “natural” daylight floods the coop or keep it on if your coop is not getting adequate daylight; the hens will lie down throughout the winter.
When setting the timer, lengthen the day in the morning rather than the afternoon, if possible, because if the light in the hen house suddenly goes out and it is very dark outside, the chickens may become disoriented and not be able to find their perches. in the dark.
Consistency of light is important. If you choose to act as a timer instead of buying one, you should turn the light on and off at the same time each day.
Chicken coop lighting: Should you use the light?
Some chicken farmers believe that it is important to give the hens a break in the winter, opting to deal with the lack of eggs during the shorter days of the year rather than using supplemental lighting. It is important that you decide what you are comfortable with.
If you have a sustainable and natural approach to agriculture, you may decide that it is important to respect the natural laying cycles of the birds, and you are willing to give up winter eggs so that they live longer than they would in the wild. If you are producing eggs commercially, this may not be a viable option for your business plan, and supplemental lighting may become part of your bird management.
You certainly don’t have to use the light; you can take a hybrid approach. Give hens a natural break in the fall as they go through molting and egg production slows and then stops. Then sometime after the winter solstice, prepare the light and give them long days again. They can go a few months without eggs, but not all winter.
Chicken coop lighting vs heating
Chicken coop lighting is different from heating. Heating is used to maintain the temperature inside the chicken coop and to keep the chickens warm, especially for young broilers. Chicken coop lighting is used to give the energy needed by the chicken, especially the laying hens. Lighting is also needed 24 hours when raising broilers because they need to eat all the time.
Frequently Asked Questions about Chicken Lighting
What kind of light should I put in my chicken coop?
A nine-watt compact fluorescent bulb is all that’s needed for a typical backyard coop. Plug the light into a timer and have it come on early enough in the morning to give the birds 15 hours of daylight, and egg production will be improved through the shorter days of winter.
Do chickens need a light in their coop at night?
So, if you’ve ever asked yourself, “do chickens need light at night?”, the answer is no. If you leave a light on for 24 hours straight in your chicken coop, your flock will recognize it as sunlight and not get the restful sleep they need. Lights are only needed for broilers so they can eat all night and expedite their growth but if you are raising regular heritage chickens, lights all night is not needed.
Should chicken coops be dark?
Chickens can’t see in the dark. If your coop looks like a windowless doghouse, your hens will stay put on their roosts, even if the sun is shining outside. They won’t eat enough to be able to make eggs. And if your hens are in the dark, they won’t lay them either.
Should chicken coops have windows?
Ideally, a coop needs at least one window to let light in. Chickens are light-sensitive animals and daylight regulates both egg-laying and molting. Windows really ought to be of such a size and position that the sunlight can reach every part of the floor space during some part of the day.
What temp is too cold for chickens?
Chickens are quite hardy and can tolerate temperatures below freezing, but they prefer a warmer climate. The ideal temperature for chickens is about 70-75 degrees Fahrenheit.
Do I need to lock the chickens up at night?
It is crucial that your hens stay in their coop at night. Despite what you might think, there are almost always predators around, even in urban areas. So keep your flock safe and secure.
Are LED lights OK for chickens?
The answer is yes – if light levels are adequate during brood and growth periods if the light dimmer does its job correctly, and if the birds are cared for properly. Birds perform just as well under LEDs as under other typical light sources found in chicken houses.
Can chickens get too much light?
Too much light too soon can cause a young chicken to develop before its body is ready to support egg-laying. For that reason, it’s not recommended to provide artificial light for hens under the age of 16 weeks. 20 weeks is safer still. Don’t add supplemental light until your hens reach the point of lay at about 20 weeks.
Can chickens sleep with the light on?
Don’t leave a white light on 24 hours – chickens will perceive it as sunlight and will not sleep during the night. Use light only to get about 14-16 hours of “sun” for them a day, and if you’re using a timer double-check that it turns off and on at appropriate times.
What time should chickens be let out in the morning?
What is this? Normally around sunrise is best, but if your work schedule dictates that you leave before sunup, as long as your run is predator-proofed, you can open the coop door and the chickens will come out on their own when it gets light out.
Does red light bother chickens?
Red lights don’t supplement daylight—and thus don’t help your hens continue to produce eggs—they can keep your birds calm during the winter months. Some chicken keepers find that installing red lights in their coops leads to less bickering and pecking within the flock.
Should a chicken coop be insulated?
The walls of the chicken coop need to have good insulation installed. This will help keep the chickens warm in the winter and cool in the summer. The insulation will also help to keep the coop at optimum humidity levels. When the chickens are kept at the optimum humidity levels they produce more eggs.
Do I need to put a heater in my chicken coop?
Unless you’re brooding chicks, you don’t need to keep a coop toasty warm, but I do suggest keeping your coop around 40° F. So if you want your birds to produce through the winter (in cold climates specifically), keep your coop’s temperature within your chicken’s comfort zone for best results and happy hens.
Can I put a heat lamp in my chicken coop?
DON’T use heat lamps inside the coop. There is no way to use a heat lamp safely inside a chicken coop. Any chicken can fly into a heat lamp, catch its feathers on fire and incinerate the entire flock and coop.
When should I turn off my chicken’s light?
Baby chicks do not need light at night but they do need to be kept warm. It is usual for keepers to use a combined source of light and heat, hence they get both 24 hours a day. Below: Baby chicks in a brooder with red light. Artificially reared chicks are usually given light for 24 hours a day.
How do I keep my coop warm?
To help small coops retain heat, cover them with blankets or tarps during the coldest months. In a huge coop, you might lower the ceiling or erect temporary walls to shrink the space occupied by your chickens. Finally, provide a warm, dry floor with biodegradable bedding.
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