Farming forum: Chickens - extra light or no?

Views: 423, Replies: 15 » Jump to the end
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
Bonehead
Jan 30, 2016 5:37 PM CST
Just an idle query re whether you add winter light for your hens or not. I have kind of taken a middle road on this. I put up a string of lights inside the coop when the weather gets dreary, but set the timer to pretty much coincide with seasonal light. My thought is to have the coop be more inviting rather than trying to extend the egg laying. My hens basically take a winter sabbatical from about mid-December until early Feb or thereabouts. I think they deserve a rest and don't mind feeding them for naught for a couple months. Plus, when we take off for winter traveling, whoever is watching the farm has less need to come by every day. I can load up the feeder and water for a good 5-6 days, and we have an automatic chicken door that is solar driven (opens in the morning, closes at dusk).
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Katie Whitinger
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
Raises cows Dog Lover Farmer Keeper of Poultry Region: Texas The WITWIT Badge
Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
Katie
Jan 30, 2016 5:55 PM CST
I have a winter light set up for the chickens. They won't lay as well if they don't get a certain amount of light per day. I have it on an automated timer.
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
Bonehead
Jan 30, 2016 6:24 PM CST
Katie, do they lay as regularly as in summer, or do they still slow down even with added light?
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Katie Whitinger
Jacksonville, TX (Zone 8a)
Raises cows Dog Lover Farmer Keeper of Poultry Region: Texas The WITWIT Badge
Hosted a Not-A-Raffle-Raffle
Image
Katie
Jan 30, 2016 6:53 PM CST
They lay very well in the summer for me. There is a little bit of slowing, but not really much.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Jan 30, 2016 7:11 PM CST
Our chickens have winter lights and some of them (the heavier breeds) lay well right through the winter. The lighter and older girls slack off.
Porkpal
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
Bonehead
Jan 30, 2016 9:34 PM CST
As an older girl myself, I don't begrudge a little slackening off... I'm not nearly as productive in winter either!
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
tveguy3
Jan 31, 2016 1:24 PM CST
It's just a matter of whether you want egg production and short lives for the hens, or longer life of the hens and seasonal production. They burn out faster and die younger if they are forced by lighting. I find that hens will lay pretty much through their first year of production during the winter, but after that first year, they will take a break when the length of daylight hours gets short. I didn't raise any new hens this last summer, and I am getting about 1 or 2 eggs every other day now. By the end of Feb. they will start laying again. The hen(s) that are laying for me right now are some of the Austra Whites, a cross between leghorns and Black Australorps. They are 4 years old this spring. With our cold temps the hens need to use their energy to stay warm.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
Bonehead
Jan 31, 2016 1:44 PM CST
I guess I should think about rejuvenating my flock a bit. I'm going into Year 3 with half of my hens, and Year 2 with the other half. Who doesn't like a fluffy little chick? I haven't tried introducing chicks to the flock, my second batch was hatched out by the hens. But I don't currently have a rooster so that's not a happening thing...
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
tveguy3
Feb 1, 2016 7:50 AM CST
I try to replace the hens that die out each year with new ones that I either raise or buy, but last year I didn't hatch any or buy any new ones. One of my hens will turn 11 years old in May if she keeps going. She's doing well right now. Last year she even laid a few eggs.

Deb, If you know a source of fertile eggs you can hatch some if one of your hens goes broody.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
Bonehead
Feb 1, 2016 11:53 AM CST
Tom, I've thought about trying to line up fertile eggs - perhaps I can swing a 2-for-1 trade for non-fertile eggs. Last season, I had 3 hens go broody about the same time. I think I'll post a notice at my feed store. Or I could try another rooster, they are always on the 'free' board. I gave away a male duck to a woman who lives close by, and at that time she also had a rooster but no hens. She was planning to either try to find some hens or get chicks this spring. Maybe I could borrow her roo for a month or so.

How can you tell which hens are laying and which ones are just freeloading?
I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Feb 1, 2016 1:44 PM CST
I have a variety of breeds that lay eggs that are identifiable by breed - and some that are not. I can usually make a semi-educated
guess about who's laying. For example, none of the hens that lay white eggs are laying this month, and the Delawares who lay big, long, light brown eggs are doing well.
Porkpal
Name: Tom
Southern Wisconsin (Zone 5b)
Irises Vegetable Grower Butterflies Region: Wisconsin Keeps Horses Cat Lover
Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry Daylilies Celebrating Gardening: 2015
Image
tveguy3
Feb 2, 2016 5:44 PM CST
Deb a hen that is laying eggs will often have a brighter red comb. When they are in a slump the comb color will not be as bright red. Also the two pin bones on the back of the hen just a bit lower then the rectum will be close together on a hen that isn't laying, and farther apart on a hen that is. Those bones can be felt by holding the hen and seeing how many fingers you can place between the pin bones.
I am not afraid of an army of lions led by a sheep; I am afraid of an army of sheep led by a lion. - Alexander the Great
Name: Terri
virginia (Zone 7a)
Beekeeper Region: Virginia Dragonflies
dragonfly53
Feb 22, 2016 12:03 PM CST
I don't have supplemental lighting in my coop, I have 10 hens and I get between 8-10 eggs every single day for the past 3 years.
I have one 3 year old white leghorn and 1 2 year old Buff Orp that lay every other day. They get let out of the coop at about 7:30 am, and then they get out to free range outside the coop around 4-5 pm. The bottom part of their coop is screened on the sides and bottom so they start getting light as soon as they come down the steps.
Seems to be plenty of daylight for them.

In December, when I went to close the coop door at night, I did have to shine a light inside for a few minutes so they could find their perches, otherwise they would cluster around the top of the steps all night, but otherwise no other light.
Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeƱos."
Name: Deb
Pacific Northwest (Zone 8b)
Region: Pacific Northwest Organic Gardener Herbs Dragonflies Dog Lover Keeper of Poultry
Birds Lover of wildlife (Raccoon badge) Garden Ideas: Master Level Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Garden Sages Plant Identifier
Image
Bonehead
Feb 22, 2016 12:21 PM CST
Back in biz - seems all hens are laying again. I am also letting them free range almost every day for at least a half a day - haven't planted any seeds yet and I don't mind them scratching around the flower beds. The only plant they have really gone after is the comfrey and I don't think it is possible to kill that. They also seem to like early daylily shoots, and I may have to fashion some temporary wire cages until they get enough bulk to withstand the pecking. A couple hens have figured out how to fly/flop in/out of the yard but so far the rest are rather clueless. Guess it's time to trim feathers again, Gary is not too keen on their toileting habits, especially on the sidewalks and porches.

I want to live in a world where the chicken can cross the road without its motives being questioned.
Name: Terri
virginia (Zone 7a)
Beekeeper Region: Virginia Dragonflies
dragonfly53
Feb 22, 2016 5:06 PM CST
Deb, That's the biggest problem with free ranging, they like to stand and gossip on the porch and let loose with other things too! I've got a buff and a leghorn that can fly over the 6 foot high fence but I'm not going to trim them as they stay pretty close to the others who can't get out of the pen.

The coyotes don't come up into the front area where th epen is, they hang out in the woods in back of the house, which is where they got the last 3 who were exploring. It had rained for a week straight and their pen is on level clay so the area was swamped. I felt bad for them so I let them out at 9am to free range and they headed for the backyard in a group. The coyotes must have their den down by the pond in the back, and saw their opportunity. Either that or it was a couple of dogs. All we found was 3 piles of feathers so we know it wasn't a hawk, as they tend to leave presents so that they can lighten themselves to carry the new load.
Life is a rush into the unknown. You can duck down and hope nothing hits you, or you can stand tall, show it your teeth and say "Dish it up, Baby, and don't skimp on the jalapeƱos."
Name: Porkpal
Richmond, TX
Charter ATP Member I was one of the first 300 contributors to the plant database! Keeper of Poultry Farmer Roses Raises cows
Garden Ideas: Level 2 Celebrating Gardening: 2015 Plant Identifier
porkpal
Feb 22, 2016 6:18 PM CST
Our hens have a good sized pasture to "free range" in and usually do not fly out once they achieve full size (the pullets get wing clipping). The farm dogs would usually kill any escapees.
Porkpal

« Garden.org Homepage
« Back to the top
« Forums List
« Farming forum
You must first create a username and login before you can reply to this thread.

Today's site banner is by sunnyvalley and is called "Hair-raising"