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Do Chickens Need Light at Night to Lay Eggs? [and Do Chicks?]

Many new chicken owners take on a small flock of hens, thinking that chicken-keeping is a doddle. But then realize that their newly-introduced poultry is much pickier than they thought!

That’s because chickens need a few home comforts to keep them happy. But do chickens need light at night to lay eggsDo chicks need light at night, too?

And – can light help to increase egg production in the winter? These questions race through every homesteader’s mind as their birds start slowing down over the winter for the first time.

Once settled into their new coop, you might wonder if adding light would be a clever way to get your new flock to start laying eggs?

Let’s find out!

Do Chickens Need Light at Night?

If you’ve ever wondered if chickens need light at night to lay eggs, the answer is no. Not necessarily. Chickens need a combination of both daylight and darkness to stay healthy and produce eggs. Bright light at night will stop them from getting essential sleep, leading to ill health and stress-induced behavioral problems.

adorable chicks and lamp warming nest
Your baby chicks are poikilothermic! That means they need supplementary lighting and heat for their first few weeks of life. If you notice your chicks running over to the lamp and huddling closely – that’s a clue that your coop is too cold!

Do Chickens Need Light to Lay Eggs?

Yes! Here is why light and dark are critical to egg-laying chickens. Like many animals, the chicken’s body systems link to the number of hours of daylight they receive each day.

A prime example of this is what happens to many plants and animals in the spring – as the days lengthen, the reproductive processes spring into life!

And while we eat most of the eggs that our hens produce? The reason that they lay eggs is to bring new life into the world.

This natural process helps ensure chickens reproduce at the optimum time to raise a brood of chicks. As for most birds, the perfect time for this is in the warmer spring and summer months.

When it comes to chickens?

Over the centuries, we have enhanced their incredible egg-laying abilities, and we now have breeds of chickens that will lay nearly all year round.

However, this egg production is dependent on the chicken having the optimum number of daylight hours. Also – they need enough darkness to get adequate sleep.

Unless you live in the extreme northern or southern hemisphere, where the winter days can be tremendously short, your chickens will not need light at night.

To lay eggs? A chicken needs at least 12 hours of daylight daily. During peak laying season, a hen lays every day if she has 14 to 16 hours of daily sunlight.

Read More – Is Cracked Corn Good for Egg-Laying Hens and Chickens?

Do Chickens Go to Sleep When It’s Dark?

While daylight is essential to stimulate the egg production process, sleep is also vital to maintain the health of your hens. The hours spent sleeping are when the body recharges, and without this sleep, your hens will quickly become run down and suffer from health problems.

If you’ve ever watched your hens at bedtime, you will know that they quickly respond when day turns to night by returning to their coop!

As soon as the light begins to fade, they will take their places on the roost. If you have a little peek at them once it is completely dark, you will see that they are fast asleep – how adorable!

They follow this pattern no matter what time the sun goes down! So in winter, they will go to bed much earlier than in the summer.

How Many Hours of Darkness Do Chickens Need?

Chickens are more like humans than we might think. They have a very similar sleep pattern, resting from dusk until dawn every day in one long sleep period.

You won’t usually see a chicken taking a nap during the daytime, although we have caught our cockerel Mary having a snooze in his mid-afternoon wallow in the dust bath!

To stay healthy and maintain its immune system? A chicken needs between six and eight hours of sleep nightly. Just like you! This chicken’s sleep schedule needs to contain quality sleep – where the hens are not disturbed by noises or potential threats.

village chickens in cozy coop with dimly lit bulb
Most farmers I know love adding night lights to their coop. But – your adult poultry needs plenty of restful sleep, too! Never add lighting to your adult chicken coop for more than 16 hours per day. That way – you provide at least eight hours of relaxing downtime for your flock.

Will Chickens Lay More Eggs With a Light at Night?

There are sometimes good reasons to give chickens a light at night, as it can help to improve egg production. 

Artificial lights can wake your hens earlier in the morning to extend their daylight hours. If this happens gradually, it can stimulate maximum egg production to start earlier in the year and carry on into the winter.

So, if you live in a region with tremendously short winter days, using light can help to boost egg production. However, you must always ensure that your hens get enough hours of darkness to get some quality sleep.

But could you use this method to keep your hens laying at maximum production all year round?

In theory, this is possible and mimics how many commercial egg-laying hens live. But the winter is a tough time for many backyard hens! And laying a daily egg can put an unnecessary strain on your flock.

Instead? I prefer my hens take a break from laying in the winter, conserving their energy to stay warm and healthy. Providing rest helps them prepare to resume a full-time egg production schedule once spring comes around again!

laying hens inside coop with fresh eggs basket
Chickens need light to lay eggs! Once there are over 14 hours of sunlight per day in the early spring? Your hens will begin laying. Artificial lighting bulbs are an easy way to introduce artificial light – and regular incandescent lightbulbs do the trick!

Does Light Bother Chickens at Night?

Yes. Light can potentially bother chickens at night! They cannot tell the difference between artificial light and daylight. This lighting snafu means that they will not get enough restful sleep if exposed to bright light during the night. It can cause them to become ill – and stressed.

If you live in a region with very long summer days, it can be helpful to have blackout curtains on your chicken coop. Blackout curtains provide you the option of allowing your hens to have a lie-in in the morning, ensuring they get those precious 8 hours of sleep.

Read More – Chicken Egg Timing! What Time Do Chickens Lay Eggs?

Will Chickens Sleep With the Light On?

Chickens cannot sleep with the light on and will become confused and disorientated. Uninterrupted light can lead to unwanted behavioral problems, such as pecking, bullying, and self-mutilation. Let your chickens rest in darkness – and get some proper shuteye for at least six hours per evening!

When Should I Turn Off My Chicken Coop Light?

When your chickens go to bed, eliminate artificial light in the coop. As the daylight naturally fades, they will put themselves to bed by finding their favorite spot on the roost.

If you use artificial light, and if there is no transition to darkness, they will not make their way to bed. Abruptly turning off the light each night may confuse your flock. You might find them all huddled in a corner rather than roosting!

If you choose to use a light in your coop, the best time to turn it on is in the morning using a timer. By morning, the hens will have had enough restful sleep and can awaken by a light an hour or two before sunrise.

This sleep schedule is less disruptive to the sleep cycle and is a helpful way to improve egg production through the darker winter months.

Do Chicks Need Light at Night?

If raising chicks that hatched in an incubator, you will most likely have them under a heat lamp. This extra heat provides them will all the warmth they would get from their mother. It also gives off a glowing light.

Should We Switch Off the Heat Lamp at Night for Chicks?

In other words – if our adult hens don’t need a light at night – does this mean we should switch off the heat lamp for our chicks too?

The answer is no way! Your tiny chicks need warmth 24 hours a day, and turning off the heat lamp will mean that they quickly become cold and hypothermic.

A heat lamp gives off a subtle warm glow and provides sufficient light for your chicks without being too bright. This perfect combination means it can stay on throughout the day and night – without being detrimental to the health of your chicks.

Should I Have a Light in My Chicken Coop?

Maybe. Your chickens do not need a light at night. But, installing one in your coop can be a good idea. This added light will make it easier to check on your hens if you are worried about them and can also brighten up the coop on dull, gloomy weather when your hens are stuck inside.

Lights also help clean your coop and keep things tidy. So – adding light is likely a good idea. But – the bottom line is to let your chickens get plenty of uninterrupted sleep. Without a bright light in their face!

Best Chicken Lighting and Heating for your Coop?

Keeping your chickens warm during the cool weather is challenging for some homesteaders in frigid climates.

We also realize that lighting your coop is tricky – especially if your chicken coop doesn’t have much natural lighting.

We put together a list of our favorite chicken coop lighting and heating supplies.

We hope these help you – and keep your flock comfy.

  1. PETNF Chicken Coop Heater
  2. PETNF Chicken Coop Heater
    $49.99 $39.99

    This chicken coop heater will help keep your flock toasty warm. And comfy. It's only 140 watts - so it won't suck down your electric bill that much. The heater uses convective and radiant heating. Easily wall mounts or use it standing up. It also has a 9.8-foot cord. Sweet!

    Get More Info

    We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    08/10/2022 02:36 pm GMT
  3. Solar LED Light Bulbs for Chicken Coop | Outdoor and Indoor Use
  4. Solar LED Light Bulbs for Chicken Coop | Outdoor and Indoor Use
    $19.81 ($9.90 / Count)

    We love these solar bulbs for your chicken coop, shed, garage, front porch - or anywhere that needs solar light! The cord is roughly 9.84-feet long. So, you have plenty of slack to arrange the light inside your coop, garage, or porch.

    Get More Info

    We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    08/11/2022 05:56 am GMT
  5. Incubator Warehouse AutoCoop LayLight - Automatic LED Daylight Extender
  6. Incubator Warehouse AutoCoop LayLight - Automatic LED Daylight Extender
    $56.89

    The LayLight chicken coop light offers LED lights with a warm-color hue - so it's gentle on your hens. It has 16 programs, so you can automatically add more light to the morning or evening. It's also perfect for sheds or your garage - and easy to program.

    Get More Info

    We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    08/11/2022 01:17 am GMT
  7. Solar Light Bulb Portable Indoor Outdoor Home Chicken Coop 130 LM
  8. Solar Light Bulb Portable Indoor Outdoor Home Chicken Coop 130 LM
    $12.99

    If you want an affordable solar bulb for your coop - and if you don't have a power outlet nearby - look no further! The bulb is only 130 lumens - so it's not adequate for a large coop or large flock. But - it will help manage your electric bill. No doubt!

    Get More Info

    We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    08/10/2022 07:42 pm GMT
  9. LumiCoop Chicken Coop Lighting System Red Light Wavelength
  10. LumiCoop Chicken Coop Lighting System Red Light Wavelength
    $51.99

    This light system emits green and blue spectrum and red-saturated lights. We thought the LumiCoop system looked excellent - but there are a few caveats! First, the Bluetooth connector only works within 10 feet of the unit. Second, this light system is only for small chicken coops! If you follow those two rules, then the light system is neat!

    Get More Info

    We may earn a commission if you make a purchase, at no additional cost to you.

    08/11/2022 01:40 am GMT
    Lasso Brag

Any Chicken Egg Lighting Questions?

Most homesteaders like to keep their animals in the most natural way possible, and finding that light at night for chickens is unnecessary. In some circumstances, early morning artificial light can be beneficial! But it requires careful planning to ensure the hen’s precious sleep time is not disturbed.

Now we’ve got that cleared up? Now is a perfect time to review how much quality sleep our hens are getting! So, take a look at your coop and see if you can do anything to improve your hen’s boudoir, as a thank-you for all those lovely eggs.

Conclusion

We know the many joys of raising hens (and roosters) in a healthy and happy flock!

We also know that chicken egg lighting is more complicated than it looks – especially during the confusion of daylight savings time!

We also hope that our latest chicken raising guide helped clear any confusion regarding whether or not chickens need light to lay eggs.

We invite you to chime in with feedback, questions, or comments about egg-laying and lighting.

Or – if you have tips about how to help chickens lay eggs in the perfect light conditions – we welcome you to share!

We thank you once again for reading!

Have an excellent day!

Read More – 10 Common Reasons Why Chickens Stop Laying Eggs!

Author

  • Kate moved to Portugal last year and lives with her husband, two cats, six hens, and a glorious Brahma rooster called Mary. Earlier this year they purchased a half-hectare ‘quinta’ – traditional terraced land with olive trees, grapevines, and a house to renovate. They are currently living in a small campervan which is a challenging but fun experience! Kate has over 15 years of experience in the UK veterinary industry and is also a passionate gardener – turning a grassy field into a productive vegetable patch in just three months. Future plans include more animals, particularly sheep and goats for milk production to make cheese, butter, and yogurt! Kate and her husband are aiming to create a self-sufficient off-grid life on their quinta, fulfilling a life-long dream.