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Country Discussion Topics
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Light to keep chickens warm
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Katrina    Posted 12-31-2004 at 11:25:29       [Reply]  [Send Email]
I live in Ga & we are trying to raise chcickens for the first time. So far we are doing well 5 to 6 eggs a day with 6 hens & 1 rooster. We put a light in the pen to keep them warm but now they don't seem to sleep much & today my husband caught them eating their own egg. Is this because of the light ? How else should I keep them warm?


MikeT    Posted 12-31-2004 at 15:48:01       [Reply]  [Send Email]
My mom was a chicken raiser for their eggs and meat, mostly eggs.

We had a light timer in the chicken house that came on in the winter with the goal to have the same amount of light in the winter as there was natural light in the summer.

We lived in central OKLA and never heated the chicken house. We did have a kerosene heater for the new chicks in the brooder house. The chicken house had insulated walls and ceiling and shuttered windows that were closed at night. Adult chickens will naturally huddle together for heat in the winter. Main thing is to not have any draft coming in.

We also mixed crushed oyster shells into the chicken feed. Chickens will eat their eggs if they aren't getting enough calcium. The oyster shells provided calcium and grit for their craws. Without grit they won't digest half their food. They will get enough grit if you spread their feed on the ground, but not calcium.

We grew our own chicken feed. Feed that you buy now days may be grit and calcium fortified.


Chas in Me    Posted 12-31-2004 at 13:47:25       [Reply]  [No Email]
Use one of those disco lights and they will stay warm because they will be dancing.
Chas, boogying with the chicks, up here in Maine.


Peanut    Posted 12-31-2004 at 12:25:16       [Reply]  [No Email]
Ron is right on the money. If your air temps are reasonable at night then turn off the light. If you need the light to keep them warm consider an infrared bulb in the 125 - 250 watt range using an aluminum bulb hood. This way you can direct heat toward the birds and reduce the light.

A regular light bulb produces heat and light. The infrared produce more heat than light putting less light-stress on the birds. 24hr light will reduce the laying life of a bird. That is what the big production plants do with their hens. They are lucky to survive 18 months of laying before they are destroyed.

Remove the eggs first thing in the morning. Don't let any hen try to brood (sit on them). Chances are this is not the problem since they are eating the eggs. A broody hen would not do that unless she was under extreme stress. Some chicken varieties are prone to be broody and others are prone to eat the eggs. What kind do you have? Does each hen have a nesting box? Where does the rooster hang out at night? Is there plenty of roosting (perching) areas?

What type of food are you giving them? Is it laying feed/scratch? Make sure it is. I like to mix my laying feed with about 50% cracked corn. The birds love it and I do not need oyster shells for calcium (the laying feed has plenty).

Did you know that cooked egg yolks are ok to give hens in small quantities? Yes you can. Try crumbling some up in their feeder tray and maybe they will stay away from the layed eggs. I would say that 2 cooked egg yolks (no whites) are fine for 7 birds.

I am not a big fan of roosters so I will save my comments on the rooster. Except for one ...

Roosters can be very aggresive. The rooster may have taught the hens to eat the eggs.


Ron/PA    Posted 12-31-2004 at 12:13:59       [Reply]  [No Email]
Katrina, if you're putting that light in with the birds at night, then you have them on 24 hour daylight. Light is a stimulant for chickens, it determines their eating habits, their laying habits, and their rest periods.
Some damage is done, though not permenant. Any time you take light away from layers, they will reduce their egg production. They may also go into a limited molt. This will show up in feather loss, and loss of eggs.
Continuing on 24 hour light will eventually ruin your birds, by seeing light all day and night, it will stimulate their egg production, to the point of drawing calcium from their bones to produce egg shells. Sooner or later, they will end up with soft bones and need to be destroyed.
How cold does it get at night where you are?
Now would be the time to take the light away, it will hurt production for a while, but the natural lengthening daylight will bring that back.
Let me know if I can help any other way.
Ron


toolman    Posted 12-31-2004 at 12:16:41       [Reply]  [No Email]
use a brood lamp a RED one.gives off lots of heat and not to bright.


JoeK    Posted 12-31-2004 at 12:01:24       [Reply]  [No Email]
If it's the actual light bothering them,maybe putting it under a tin pail or coffee can would help.They'd still get the heat,just like a little stove,but not the light ??


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