? lights and chickens?

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If I do not provide a light for my hens this winter will they stop laying all toghether? Do I need to increase the amount of food i give them for cold weather?

-- Becky Rosen (Joel681@webt.net), November 17, 1999


Hi, without lights egg production from my chickens drops from 18 eggs per day to 2-4 eggs per day,installed lights on a timer 14 hours per day started getting 15 -18 eggs per day( 24 hens&2 roosters). When weather gets cold I keep food in front of them at all times and let them eat all they want.Hope this helps. Daryll

-- Daryll (twincrk@hotmail.com), November 17, 1999.

This is what I am doing from all the info I have researched on the net and from talking to farmers around my area of north (read: cold) Idaho... I have 15 chickens...so adjust recipe for your amount.

I am giving them in the a.m. and p.m. cracked corn (one coffee can full each time) lay mash (one coffee can full) 1 loaf of stale bread (get from the grocers from what they throw out) any left over greens or fruits from that day.

Mix all together and throw out to them.

I also have a feeder in the coop that they can nibble from throughout the day.

Once a week I add 1 teaspoon of cayenne pepper to my recipe above. That has REALLLY got those eggs pumping out! What a difference..went from one to two eggs to eight to ten a day!

We have a light that goes on automatically at 3:30 a.m and shuts off at 7 a.m. It goes back on at 4 pm. (we get dark early here) and goes off at 7 pm.

Between the cayenne pepper, the corn to add weight and warmth to their fat layer under their skin, the lights being on, we are getting a goodly number of eggs to feed us and a dozen or so extra to give or sell to the neighbors.

Hope this helps.

Idaho Cher

-- Cheryl Rovang (fullcircle@nidlink.com), November 17, 1999.

Hi Becky: I provide my hens with 16 hours of light during the winter months. However, I beleive in using the additional artificial light in the morning rather than in the evening. I have the light come on at whatever time in the early a.m. that will provide 16 hours of light by the time the sun goes down. I do this for the simple reason that if the artificial light goes off suddenly at night, the chickens are not able to get settled on their roosts. By having the artificial light come on in the wee hours, and allowing the coop to darken naturally in the evening, the birds have plenty of time to settle on their roosts and get comfortable. DAN

-- DAN (dshaske@excel.net), November 17, 1999.

Dans thinking on lighting timing is EXCELLENT!More people should think so logically! Becky: Chickens are biologically programmed to lay eggs in spring, when days are getting longer. (People my age can tell you about eggs being a dime a dozen in spring, and scarce as hens teeth in winter.) Artificial lighting can fool their photosensitivity.They also have more time to eat and drink, both essential to egg production.

-- jd (belanger@midway.tds.net), November 23, 1999.

if you dont give them light - if you dont want to - then the amount of eggs you get will decrease, but may not stop altogether. How much they lay in winter will depend on the feed they get (amount & protein amt), their age (old ones will quit alt0gether, young ones will still lay every coupla days) and the weather the colder it is, the less they lay). They'll start up again about mid Feb, all on their own, cuz of the increasing daylight hrs.

-- b lathrop (bflfish@aol.com), January 08, 2000.

I'm new to this chicken thing although we've had other livestock. My mentor told me when I mentioned getting my chicks early that if I would wait until late May or early June to start them, they would be coming into lay in late fall. I have 12 Australorps, 4 production reds and a Barred Rock (long story about her)that were hatched 7 June '99 and they are laying very well right now without supplemental light. My mentor is off the grid and can't provide artificial light. Each year she broods or buys a batch to be sure she has some coming into lay in November or so to provide those winter eggs. I read somewhere before I got my chickens that they eat according to their energy needs to warm themselves. The author suggested tweaking the ration to contain more carbohydrate to protein in winter and less carb in summer. I'm sorry I can't refer you to something specific.

-- Marilyn Dickerson (rainbow@ktis.net), January 18, 2000.

We too are new to the poultry "business" and have 4 hens and 1 rooster left from the assortment purchased as chicks last April. Those hens lay 4 eggs almost every day. Very seldom does one of them miss. We provide light from 5am to 8am and then again 5pm to 10pm. I think I will try the suggestion of light earlier though. Sounds reasonable. We feed only laying mash, a little scratch for them to pick at in their fenced yard, and whatever dry bread, vegetable scraps, etc. that don't get sent to the compost pile. Good luck! Jan

-- Janice Bullock (Janice12@aol.com), January 19, 2000.

In winter, I always throw down a couple of handfuls of cracked corn for my birds. It helps them lay on a bit of body fat, and thus helps them to stay alittle warmer during the colder months. I have never used heat in my coop, but I make sure there are no drafts, especially in the roosting area. Chickens are really quite hardy for the most part, and it's been my experienece that they can take the cold a whole lot better than they can take extreme heat.

-- Dan (dshaske@excel.net), January 22, 2000.

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