Light for chickens in winter months : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread

Anybody have any suggestions on how to produce light for chickens to keep them laying in the winter without using electricity? Perhaps battery operated lights of some kind? We don't have electrical wiring back there in the coop!

-- Christina (, July 11, 2001


What I did for my birds was to install skylights in the coop (part of garage, actually) and that worked fairly well. Make sure you install them on the south side to get the most sun exposure in the winter time, and keep the snow off of them... you'll have to use a broom of some sort. Even with skylights, I found the egg production went down quite a bit, so I installed some compact fluorescent (15-20 watts) bulbs in the light sockets, and production was back up in a few weeks. I also used some heat lamps, which helped quite a bit.

You could also consider using a trencher (available at rental places) to cut a 6-8" deep trench (1" wide) out to your coop, and install some wiring yourself ... there is a type of romex cable that is able to be installed underground with no conduit; ask what kind at your bldng supply store. I think that the batteries you'll need to provide sufficient light for them for 8-12 hours/day are going to be REAL heavy, and not easily luggable either. Batteries tend not to work as well in the cold, also... reduced capacity. Hope this helps.

-- Dave (, July 11, 2001.

Someone I remember reading in BACKWOODS HOME or COUNTRYSIDE several months ago about a woman who measured out a half cup of kerosene each night and had a kerosene lamp SECURELY attached to the roof of her chicken house. she lit the light and let it burn out the kerosene each night and that additional time was enough to let her have eggs year round.

She was very careful and made sure the kerosene light was not a fire hazard. She said she got so many more eggs that it way more than paid for the price of the kerosene she used.

-- Suzy in Bama (, July 11, 2001.

My hens lay all year around with no added heat/light.

-- ~Rogo (, July 12, 2001.

My coop is built into the big barn on the south side and has plenty of windows. I do not use additional lighting either. I supplement their feed in the winter with cracked corn that I usually scatter in the straw on the floor. It gives them something to do (scratching for it) and the corn generates more heat in their bodies during the cold weather. Egg production remains constant. I have both banties and heavy breeds.

-- Jean Schiszik (, July 12, 2001.

Thanks for asking this question. After many years of lurking I was just about to type in this very question for myself and Voila--there you'd gone and done it!

I am in the same pickle--wanting winter eggs and no electricity in the coop (no hope of any either). Here's some cockamamie ideas I'm ponderin': 1. Use a rechargable camping lantern for two hours a day. Drawback: Getting up at 4 am to turn it on and going back at 6 am to turn it off.

2. Use those solar powered lights that are used to illuminate sidewalks at night. A small set runs for, I think, 35$. Drawback: Lights automatically go on at dusk and I believe it's better to have the extra light in the morning so that they can find their roost at night. Also, I don't know if collectively they'd have enough wattage, though I suspect so.

Has anyone tried these methods? Or have any improvements upon my ideas?

Thanks to you at this forum for helping me keep my sanity while in the burbs dreaming of a country place. Now that we're on our farm-- thanks to for your advice!

-- Ann Markson (, July 12, 2001.

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