The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Do chickens sleep better with the light off at night?

chicken water heater timer closeup

cute hen nesting in a milk carton boxThe new chicken water heater is working well since we installed it.

I think the light may be helping to stimulate an increase in egg laying during what is usually a slow producing time of the year.

Do chickens sleep better with the light off at night? I'm not sure, but to be on the safe side I added a timer that shuts off a bit before my bedtime and comes back on an hour before the crack of dawn.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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yes. chickens do sleep better with the light off. Just like all other vertebrates, chickens have circadian rhythms that are regulated by light cycles, leaving lights on all the time will result in messing up their circadian rhythms (they will be up at random hours). You are probably right about the light triggering them to lay more. Increased light duration is on of the cues that vertebrates use to tell them the season. So even though it is really cold out, the fact that you have the light on for more than 10 hours is telling the birds that it is not really winter. In my previous research facility we switched the light cycle from 12 Light/12 dark to 14 light/10 dark in order to trick our mice into breeding more. (14/10 is also what we use in our zebrafish facility to get the fish to lay more)
Comment by Rebecca Wed Feb 2 13:39:03 2011
Great data on the light/dark cycle of various animals! I probably should hunt down what the actual numbers are for chickens.
Comment by anna Wed Feb 2 14:24:13 2011

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