Chickens need a lot of sunlight. I think that the steady supply of light in the coop contributes to good wintertime egg production and Happy Chickens!
I do two things to help with light for my hens:
1. See above. My dad and I enclosed the outdoor run in clear corrugated plastic, so it is both warm and sunny all day. I have seen coops where the outdoor run is closed in during the winter with wood, so the coop is dark all day. I try to get as much light to them as possible. The indoor coop is well lit because the roof of the barn has some clear panels as well.
2. I set up a crazy light / timer system for the indoor coop.
- Set a plug-in timer to come on at 4pm and off at 8pm.
- Then I clip these industrial lights on the overhead beams of the coop and the light comes on when it gets dark outside. Hens need anywhere from 14-16 hours of light a day.
Great post and good design on the coop roof. On Thanksgiving we hung a lamp to warm the girls in the 15 degree winter weather. When I went back out about an hour later I noticed a funny smell....an Ameuracana perched herself up as high as she could get to the lamp and was actually (very slowly) singing her feathers. Her left wing and leg were extended outward. She looked like a model enjoying herself sunning on a Florida beach. Needless to say, we raised the lamp to keep her (and others) from catching on fire.
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