Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Proper Light Management for Your Home Laying Flock

Proper Light Management for
Your Home Laying Flock

Published by Cooperative Extension, Institute of Agriculture and Natural Resources, University of Nebraska-Lincoln 
by Chad Zadina, Extension Poultry Assistant AND Sheila E. Scheideler, Extension Poultry Specialist 

Raising a home flock for the primary purpose of producing fresh eggs can be a rewarding and challenging venture. The main goal for egg producers is to ensure that their hens continue to produce eggs year-round. To accomplish this goal, one of the most important factors to consider, next to the overall health and nutrition of the flock, is lighting.

The avian reproductive cycle, which is how a hen produces eggs, is stimulated in poultry by increasing day length. As day length approaches 14 hours per day during early spring, chickens begin laying eggs, gradually increasing their production as the day length increases. They will reach their maximum egg laying potential when the day-light reaches approximately 16 hours per day. 

Nature utilizes this characteristic so that chicks will hatch in the spring and have the warmer months of summer and fall to mature before the harsher winter season arrives. By providing artificial light, growers can manipulate this natural cycle to their advantage and increase the egg laying potential of their flocks.

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