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    • CommentAuthorgoosegog
    • CommentTimeNov 9th, 2008 8:07pm (Nov 9th 2008)
     
    Hey all

    Our girls aren't enjoying the winter much. They sleep lots because it's dark all the time. We have 3 hens and egg production has pretty much stopped

    I've heard great things about putting a light in the coup and extending their 'daytime' with artificial lighting

    Apparently it should dim on and dim off so they don't get startled / stranded respectively

    Any thoughts? Any idea where to get something that dims the light on and off on a timer?

    Thanks, Ferg :)
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeNov 9th, 2008 8:51pm (Nov 9th 2008)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Depends if the eggs are that important to you - we've always just left nature run it's course, it gives the hens a holiday from laying too as it must place additional strain on their body what with moulting etc to have to lay all year when using artificial lighting.

    I think a lighting system / timer will start at around £100 so you need to weigh up whether it's worth it for you or not.
    • CommentAuthorollie in UK
    • CommentTimeNov 9th, 2008 8:54pm (Nov 9th 2008)
     
    But isn't that how the battery farms do it??????
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeNov 9th, 2008 9:34pm (Nov 9th 2008) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Posted By: ollie in UKBut isn't that how the battery farms do it??????

    Yes, and barn / free-range farms most of the time, too.

    I prefer to let the hens wake & sleep naturally...extra light will stimulate the hens into laying more eggs, yes, but it's natural for a hen to have a 'rest' or a break in egg production during the winter. It's up to you, but i'd just leave the hens alone...they don't benefit anything from having extra light & laying extra eggs, if anything it weakens their body. That's why battery hens easily break their bones, because they have been 'forced' to lay more eggs through light stimulation...
    • CommentAuthorgoosegog
    • CommentTimeNov 9th, 2008 9:39pm (Nov 9th 2008)
     
    Oh I see. Well we do love our pets and their eggs are a wonderful bonus. I just presumed they'd like a few hours more light to be happy. I'm not talking about maxing them out, just adding a nice cosy evening for them with a few hours extra
    They'd still have longer nights but at the moment they seem to stand around in the wind, sheltered from the rain under their cover and not loving it. It doesn't seem like much fun!

    Ferg
    • CommentAuthorollie in UK
    • CommentTimeNov 9th, 2008 10:01pm (Nov 9th 2008)
     
    Ferg said -
    "at the moment they seem to stand around in the wind, sheltered from the rain under their cover and not loving it. It doesn't seem like much fun!"

    Don't they have access to their sleeping quarters?

    One of my highlights is watching the Hencam chooks realising it is getting a little dark and packing themselves off up the ladder to bed.
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeNov 10th, 2008 1:52am (Nov 10th 2008)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Posted By: goosegog
    They'd still have longer nights but at the moment they seem to stand around in the wind, sheltered from the rain under their cover and not loving it. It doesn't seem like much fun!

    Ferg

    They'll only be stood around longer in the rain & cold if you give them extra light :P

    One thing you can do for them that they'd appreciate (if you don't already) is to close the door on their sleeping quarters when they're in bed, to keep the wind out - chickens hate wind when they're trying to sleep! You could also add a small heater of some sort to their bedroom to make it more comfortable, but that's not really necessary...
    • CommentAuthorgoosegog
    • CommentTimeNov 10th, 2008 7:00am (Nov 10th 2008)
     
    They've got a lovely dry coup and we always lock them up at night. I wondered if they'd like a light inside it for a few hours in the evening. We love their eggs but they've stopped producing now. If they need the rest then it's no problem but I wondered if they'd benefit from the extra light
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeNov 10th, 2008 9:56am (Nov 10th 2008) edited
     

    Keeper of the hens

    I don't think it would be an actual benefit to them - more likely it will be better for the hens to 'rest' over the winter months.

    Laying so many eggs is quite stressful on a hen's body, so we don't begrudge them a holiday from it in winter :)

    I don't think the hens would particularly 'enjoy' more daylight hours in winter (as Scarlet says, it would probably just mean them stood out in the wind and rain longer!), and they seem to like their beauty sleep...

    I think you're already providing everything your hens need - they are loved and have food/water and a nice dry coop - they'll thank you with lots of eggs in the spring :)
    •  
      CommentAuthorRed
    • CommentTimeNov 10th, 2008 11:34am (Nov 10th 2008)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    :iagree:
    Couldn't have said it better, would probably have said it a lot worse :P
    •  
      CommentAuthorneil
    • CommentTimeNov 10th, 2008 12:23pm (Nov 10th 2008)
     

    Keeper of the hens

    Don't be silly, I basically was just agreeing with what you'd already said! :bighug:
    • CommentAuthorgoosegog
    • CommentTimeNov 10th, 2008 8:57pm (Nov 10th 2008)
     
    Posted By: neil(as Scarlet says, it would probably just mean them stood out in the wind and rain longer!)


    The light would be inside their coup though where it is sheltered and dry



    If they wouldn't benefit from it, we'll leave them be

    Cheers for the advice

    Ferg