Planning henhouses and choosing the right design is confusing and I want to make sure your chickens get what they need. Check out these simple henhouse plans after you read about lighting your poultry coops.
As you may know, hens and pullets need 14 hours of daylight a day to lay eggs regularly. You certainly have the option of letting nature take it's course and not providing light in the henhouse. There will be a lower egg production over the winter months and it may help reduce boredom and feather picking.
In Northern climes, if the chickens have that break over winter, come April to June their lay rate will be way higher We have gone with no light in the poultry coops and they will still lay eggs, just not as many. Some breeds like the partridge chantecler there is barely a difference in winter, but in spring that will lay slightly better for not having the light.
The surge in production in the spring as the day lengthens is great if you are going to hatch chicks or sell pure bred hatching or fertile eggs. In mid winter, we find the demand for farm-gate egg sales is less, so don't feel you have to provide light.
That said, it is extremely straight forward to provide 14 hours of light to the henhouses in the depths of winter.
First if all, start your henhouses design with at least one good sized south facing window. Chickens love to lay in the sun or even dust-bath in it, inside the henhouses if it streams in that window in the winter months. You will not have to run a light bulb all day with a decent sized henhouse window and you save that 8-10 hours of electricity.
You can supplement to get the 14 hours total light with a money saving light-bulb on timer at the end of the day. We hang a timer up in the top of the henhouses to give that additional light. You can use a cheap timer or more expensive light senor type. As far as bulb wattage, we use a 100 watt bulb if the light will be 6 feet or higher off the ground, and in bigger henhouses, say over 15 feet squared.
For smaller or lower-roofed poultry coops you may go to 60 or 40 watts, as too strong a white light can make the chickens be more aggressive to each other. The fluorescent compact bulbs don't work as well in the extreme cold so we use incandescent.
The other type of lighting we occasionally use in the henhouses (if the temp gets below -20 degrees Celsius) is the 250 watt red heat lamp. These are also used for brooded chicks for the first 4 week of life, for sick or ailing birds.
Occasionally, if it is very cold in the winter and I have small, old or large combed birds that just need a boost we will put in a corner of the henhouses about 2 feet above the ground till the cold weather passes.
If you are in the process of planning your henhouses, click here to check out the best henhouses plans we have found online. If you have any questions or comments go ahead. Maybe we can help! Thanks for reading about lighting your henhouses.
Tags: henhouses, henhouse, poultry coops, chickens coops, chicken coops