Chicken Lights

David Page

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1974 L260, 6" bush hog, subsoiler, spring tooth harrow, boom pole, 2 bottom plow
Jun 25, 2013
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What do any of you that have backyard chickens use for LED lights to extend the daylight to about 16 hrs. for laying hens? I've seen a wide range?
 

GreensvilleJay

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I programmed a PIC micro to automatically gently ramp up and down the 'warm' LEDs 1.5hrs before sunrise and sunset,turn off the LEDs when Mr. Sun is brighter.
Since the program is based on local Lat and Long, it does 'follow the sun', so not a timer and no DST to worry about'
I was going to add a GPS module ($10) to grab actual lat and long, make it 'use any where' but not much of a market and someone asked me if I could add Ebrakes to a 4 pin trailer wiring..... Sure, also gave him work lights and backup lights, zero extra wiring.
 
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Code

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Hmmph. I dont do any lighting never had a problem with my hens. Rooster has em up at 430-5am daily.
 
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pigdoc

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Ya, you don't need anything too fancy.
I have a 60 watt incandescent on a timer in the roosting area which is 4x8 feet. It's on a timer to come on to give the hens a couple of extra hours of light in the mornings. You don't want the light extending daylight in the evenings, because when it goes off, the sudden darkness can stress the hens if they're not on the roost. Better to add the hours of light just before dawn.

-Paul
 
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David Page

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1974 L260, 6" bush hog, subsoiler, spring tooth harrow, boom pole, 2 bottom plow
Jun 25, 2013
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Dexter, ME
Hmmph. I dont do any lighting never had a problem with my hens. Rooster has em up at 430-5am daily.
Our winter days here in Maine are shorter than most of the U.S. So hens stop laying or slow down.
 
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jimh406

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I’m new to chickens. It seems that there are opposing arguments for everything including light in Winter. The opposing argument for adding light is that it makes your hens age out faster. That makes logical sense to me, but like I said, I’m new to this. We don’t plan to add light although that might change.
 

JeremyBX2200

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I’m new to chickens. It seems that there are opposing arguments for everything including light in Winter. The opposing argument for adding light is that it makes your hens age out faster. That makes logical sense to me, but like I said, I’m new to this. We don’t plan to add light although that might change.
I started last winter with no light. Their egg production pretty much stopped. Add the light made it come back.

I have been told by a number of people that have had chickens for years that you are correct. If you set it up so they constantly produce they won’t produce for as many years.
 

mcfarmall

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When your hens stop laying you turn them into coyote food and get new ones...circle of life and all that.
 

My Barn

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Sep 14, 2022
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What do any of you that have backyard chickens use for LED lights to extend the daylight to about 16 hrs. for laying hens? I've seen a wide range?
That's what I've done for years... with a timer A.M. light ( incandescent ) only. My thinking a LED maybe too bright? They may need sun glasses...15 hours total time has worked for me.
 
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skeets

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When they stop laying you put them inthe freezer for soup,, screw the yotes, unless you use the old hens for bait
 

jimh406

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When they stop laying you put them inthe freezer for soup,, screw the yotes, unless you use the old hens for bait
Not going to happen. Ours bantams are pets for the grandkids. ;)
 
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pigdoc

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Seriously, Jim,

A hen will only lay about 500 eggs in its lifetime. After that point, they are considered "spent" hens. They typically come into lay at about 20 weeks of age. Normally, a hen lays an egg about every 28 hours, on average. In practice, hens lay in the early morning hours, so a given hen will typically lay 6 eggs every week, skipping one day a week.

Some people "molt" hens by withholding feed until they stop laying, giving them a chance to rebuild bodily resources. But, in a backyard situation, it's tough to molt them, because you can't really cut them off from nutrition completely, and they will resort to cannibalism if they get desperate. I just let them lay continuously until they're spent.

Once hens get near the end of their laying phase, they can begin to lay abnormal eggs - thin albumen, thin shells, deformed shells. That's them, telling you it's time to 'take them to town'.

We used to get day-old chicks every other year and then raise them up in a brooder until they were "pullets", 12-18 weeks of age. That's when they would go into the coop. But, that can be a hassle if you don't have barn space for the brooder, because, with shavings for bedding, it's VERY dusty in the house or garage. Any more, I'm very satisfied to pay about $7 each for fully developed pullets, which will start laying soon after you get them. Thus, I'm skipping the entire brooder phase. The other thing is that commercial pullets are debeaked, which completely eliminates the cannibalism problem. After impacted crop, cannibalism is the greatest killer of backyard hens (presuming you can exclude the coyotes and foxes).

We also used to play around with heritage breeds, but many of these don't play well together when mixed. Anymore, we go for a good hybrid "red sexlink" breed (they've been genetically engineered so that if they're red, they're females). They lay brown eggs and are very robust and congenial with other chickens or humans.

I run my coop "all-in, all-out". That means, I have some downtime between groups to give me time to do repairs, and most importantly, clean and disinfect. If you put a 'break' in flow like that, you eliminate issues with most infectious diseases. It is a Bad Idea to put new pullets in with old hens. Clean thoroughly with soap and water using a brush or powerwasher, and then use a good disinfectant, like phenol (Tek-Trol or One-Stroke Environ).

We feed our hens all sorts of table scraps, and you can spoil them with treats. Avoid things like carrot ends which they can choke on. Once, I had a hen die right before my eyes, choking on a carrot end. Their favorite treat is sweet corn cobs. Watermelon rinds is a close second. They love stale bread, just crumble it up in small enough pieces so they won't choke on it. Stale corn chips and popcorn are also favorites. They'll yell at me for treats if they see me out in the yard!

-Paul
 
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David Page

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1974 L260, 6" bush hog, subsoiler, spring tooth harrow, boom pole, 2 bottom plow
Jun 25, 2013
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Dexter, ME
When your hens stop laying you turn them into coyote food and get new ones...circle of life and all that.
We got them as chicks and they are at 28 weeks now, to soon for that.
 

mcfarmall

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We got them as chicks and they are at 28 weeks now, to soon for that.
At 28 weeks yours haven't stopped laying, they're on vacation. "Stopped laying" means no matter what time of year or how much light they're exposed to, they "stop laying." At this point is when the coyotes celebrate Thanksgiving.
 
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