Why We Don’t Add Lights To The Chicken Coop
With winter coming, I’ve been seeing quiet a few posts on adding light and heat to your chicken coop and I’d like to tell you why we don’t add lights to the chicken coop.
Here in Northwestern Pennsylvania we have some frigid winters with feet of snow. The area that I live in is actually called “The Snow Belt.”
Other than heat, another reason that people add lights to their coop is that egg production goes down with the shorter days.
Nick and I did a lot of research before we bought our first chicks and chose Buff Orpingtons, because they are winter hardy birds that, although egg production goes down, do not stop laying all together.
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My 3 Reasons Why We Don’t Add Lights To The Chicken Coop
My first reason for choosing not to use lighting in the coop is that if you give them heat that they rely on and then have a storm and lose power they could very easily freeze to death.
Or what if you are away from home for the day and the bulb burns out.
By not providing heat your chickens, if they are a winter hardy breed, they will build up a tolerance to the weather.
If they rely on that heat, when they lose it, their bodies aren’t prepared.
You can also provide heat naturally by using the deep liter method throughout the winter. I will add a post later that goes more into detail on this. But the main idea is that by adding dry bedding daily you are keeping moisture down while the waste composts and creates heat.
My second reason for not adding light is that although you are artificially giving them a longer day to keep egg production up, you are actually shortening the length of time that they will produce for you, and possibly shortening their life.
Chickens do not have and unlimited supply of eggs and will eventually run out. It is also hard work making eggs and winter gives them a much needed, and deserved rest from all of that work.
The third reason is that chickens are EXTREMELY flammable! My cousin lives on a permaculture farm in Durango, CO. He lost his coop and all of his birds to a fire started by the heat lamp. If your chickens get close enough to brush up against the bulb they will catch fire.
Respect for our chickens…
Here at the Samuels’ Homestead we do use our chickens as a dual purpose bird. They give us eggs and meat that is healthier, and tastier, than what you would find at the store. But that doesn’t mean that we treat them any less than what we treat our pets.
We love and respect them for what they give to us. In return we make sure that they have the best life possible that we can give to them.
Looking to raise dual purpose chickens like us? Grab a copy of Dual Purpose Chickens: Raise ‘Em Like Your Grandma Did for tips from brooder box to butchering!
So, if we don’t use lighting, how do we have eggs all year long? Check it out here!
What are some ways that you provide for your birds in the winter?
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