Chicken people read this (light vs egg size)greenspun.com : LUSENET : Countryside : One Thread
"Controlled, low-intensity light can be used to delay sexual maturity until the bird's body is big enough to produce larger eggs. Intensity and duration of light can be adjusted to regulate production."
In other words.... leaving the light on messes up the chickens' sexual growth.
At the VERY least... five hours of darkness for egg production.
Here is an URL with more info than you probably want about light and egg production.
-- Rose (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 29, 2001
I think the best bet is 14 hours of light. Figure out how much daylight you have, use a timer on the lights to add the extra light and then let the chickens sleep at night. Its been working for us....
-- Lisa in WI (email@example.com), November 29, 2001.
Perhaps the amount of light per day is a factor, but I suspect there are others as well. As a general rule, larger eggs come from older chickens. Small, mediums and large from first year layers and extra large and jumbo (and double-yoke) from second and upward layers. Then there would be differences between breeds. You wouldn't expect a Banty to lay jumbo eggs, nor one of the heavy-weight breeds to lay smalls. There may be differences within breeds. A flock of a single breed may have those who naturally lay small eggs, and those who naturally lay larger eggs, regardless of age. Diet may also be a factor on egg size.
-- Ken S. in WC TN (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 29, 2001.
I don't think my chickens have read this study. My coop is NEVER dark unless the power is off. My birds develop on schedule and produce wonderful eggs in good amounts over a nice long life time. I keep a 60 watt bulb over the feeder at all times.
-- diane (email@example.com), November 29, 2001.
I am chicken "illiterate" so bare with me. :)
If you don't keep lights on them how do you keep them warm in the winter? Or don't you have to keep them warm? Everyone I ever knew with chickens kept them under lights in the winter. I always worried what would happen if you lost power in the coop.
-- Lynette (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 29, 2001.
We haven't gotten lights in the coop yet. After two nights in a row around 0 - 10 degrees,and days in the 20's, the chickens seem none the worse for wear.
-- mary (email@example.com), November 29, 2001.
"Bare" with you?? LOL I would rather keep my clothes on while I read the posts, especially since I am at work.
We do not have supplemental heat for the chickens. Mom in law said as long as they have warm water a couple of times a day, they don't need heat. Nobody puts heaters out for the wild birds!! :-)
-- Rose (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 29, 2001.
Rose...I don't think you would want to be "bare" here where I am at either...lol....Its 20 degrees and snowing!
Thanks for the chuckle...and sorry about the spelling!
-- Lynette (email@example.com), November 29, 2001.
I'm with Lisa. But use the extra light only in the morning, so they don't have sudden darkness and difficulty finding bed. Imagine if the sun dropped like a rock and you didn't have any other light! GL!
-- Brad (homefixer@SacoRiver.net), November 29, 2001.
I never thought about a light for the winter warmth of my small flock.
I suppose it is because I learned how to take care of the chickens the way my parents learned.... from their parents.. back before electricity! The chickens survived. Things would be different if they would have raised them commercially, I'm sure!!
I only use a light in the hen house when I first move young chicks from the house to the chicken coop. When I walk past the chicken coop after dark, with the light streaming out of their little front window.... I can't help but think it looks like the hens have stayed up late having a card game. (I know... it's the way my mind works).
-- Renee at Briar Creek (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 29, 2001.
Rose, I try not to fool with mama nature as much as possible in a domestic situation.
I have never added heat nor light, so the birds grow the feathers they need for protection whatever the weather ~ hot or cold. The hens start to lay between 4 and 6 months old, depending on the breed. They lay all year around and have hatched clutches in the winter.
I throw out a LOT of eggs, since more are laid than could possibly be used. Wonder how many more (or less) I'd have if I added light! Don't care to find out. I've never had a sick bird and I don't plan to experiment! :^)
-- ~Rogo (email@example.com), November 30, 2001.
Forrogo - dont throw them out. Scramble and freeze them.
for rose - add cayenne pepper totheir feed.
-- Elizabeth Quintana (firstname.lastname@example.org), November 30, 2001.
Elizabeth, it would be senseless for me to freeze eggs. What would I do with a freezer full of eggs. I always have 5-6 dozen in the fridge. I rotate the eggs. The rest are tossed. Some of the hens look like they're going broody; maybe I'll just let them turn some of these eggs into chicks.
Oh good gravy; then I'll have even MORE eggs! -LOL-
I have no problem tossing the eggs. It's always been this way and it always will be! The birds are here to do their job of keeping the insect population down out there, and they do a good job.
I don't use heat or lights, but the gals churn out those eggs all year around. They also hatch chicks in the winter.
-- ~Rogo (email@example.com), December 01, 2001.
But what if you live in an intensely cold climate, like northern MN? We get temps of -20 to -40 degrees and windchills that are worse. Our chickens have a small, insulated coop (4'X 6' and 8-9 birds)with south facing windows. I've been told (by another northern Mn friend of mine) that I should provide heat when it gets cold enough in the coop for their water to freeze. This is our first winter with chickens. Anyone have any comments? I'm not so concerned about egg production; I just don't want the chickens to freeze to death.
-- Cat (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 01, 2001.
Do you mean 'throw out' as to dispose of or use for other purposes? Mom use to give the dogs one or two raw eggs a week. Said is was good for their coat. I do the same for my barn cat. I've heard of people hardboiling the eggs, chopping them up and then feeding them back to the poultry. Giving extras to neighbors, friends or co-workers grease relationships. Is there an outlet you can drop the 'farm-fresh' eggs by for sale? Say you only net $.50 per dozen, it adds up over time.
-- Ken S. in WC TN (email@example.com), December 02, 2001.
I can't believe anyone "tosses out" good home grown eggs. During the high production months, I feed a few duck eggs to the chickens...and have taken excess eggs to the local food bank and they are happy to get them.
-- Duffy (firstname.lastname@example.org), December 04, 2001.
Thought these were interesting comments about light. This is the first year I've had chickens (and the first winter). Everyone here in Alaska uses lights in the winter. Probably mostly because we have so few daylight hours, but also for warmth. I had a banty who indavertantly got left out one night and it got down to -15. She was still alive and doing well in the morning and laid two eggs (frozen) by the coop door. If it's 10 or about I open the coop and let them out for the day.
-- ray (email@example.com), February 17, 2002.