How Much Light Do Chickens Need in Winter?

Wintertime is one of the most difficult times for chickens because it comes with extreme cold, ultimately reducing egg production in chickens and other domestic fowl.

While the extreme cold is one of the reasons egg production slows down in the wintertime, darkness is the major reason egg production declines or halts in winter because there are fewer daylight hours during this season.

Research shows your chickens need at least 15 daylight hours daily to sustain daily egg production, and thus artificial light is crucial for your hens during wintertime when natural light fades away, threatening your hens’ egg production capabilities.

Do Chickens Need Artificial Light in Winter?

Yes, chickens, particularly egg-laying hens, need light in winter because natural light decreases during wintertime, thus affecting their egg production. Wintertime means fewer daylight hours.

That’s why chicken keepers should consider adding artificial lighting to their birds’ coop to keep egg production at its peak. Here are some artificial lighting tips to help keep your hens’ egg production at peak during wintertime.

– Fluorescent or Incandescent Lighting

Besides lighting the coop, the lighting you use to encourage your chickens to lay during wintertime is crucial. One of the best lighting options to illuminate the cage is fluorescent lighting because the option produces plenty of light during winter.

Incandescent lighting is also a good option for your coop because it has different wattages. Hence you can use the wattages that best suit your lighting needs. Furthermore, incandescent bulbs also have varied warmth levels that can keep the chickens warm during winter.

– LED Lighting

The other lighting option for your coop in wintertime entails using LED lighting. A nine-watt LED light can help illuminate the cage, thus enhancing egg production in the dark and cold winter months. LED Lighting can also help warm up the coop, keeping your cold-sensitive birds warm.

How Many Hours of Light do Chickens Need to Lay Eggs?

Chickens usually don’t lay in the dark because they need light to trigger their reproductive organs to help them produce eggs. That’s why your chickens won’t lay at night due to the absence of light. Chickens also don’t produce eggs in winter because daylight hours can be as little as 6 hours.

Chickens need at least 14 to 15 hours of daylight for maximum egg production. Even the most prolific laying chicken breeds won’t lay as usual in wintertime without artificial light because they receive fewer daylight hours.

What Kind of Light do Chickens Need to Lay Eggs?

Since a natural light decrease in winter can hamper your chickens’ egg production, it’s good to use supplemental lighting to illuminate your coop enough to trick your hens into sustaining egg production. You can use several supplemental lighting options to light the cage during wintertime.

For instance, lamps can help illuminate the coop and encourage your hens to sustain egg production capabilities during wintertime. The number of lamps you can use to brighten the coop in winter depends on the chicken coop’s size.

For instance, if you have a large coop, you need to place lamps at every corner of the coop to ensure sufficient lighting. Place the lamps on the coop’s floor to ensure the birds don’t knock them off, increasing the risk of burning down the cage.

Kindly remember that some lamps can become too hot and burn your chickens; therefore, you must ensure the chickens don’t crowd around the lamps. The best idea is to hang the lamps at the corners of the coop from the roof.

A nine-watt LED or fluorescent bulb can provide supplemental lighting for your chickens during wintertime. The advantage of utilizing bulbs to light up the coop is that you don’t need to use too many bulbs.

One bulb is enough to illuminate the cage effectively and without increasing the risk of burning the coop, especially because of faulty electrical installations when setting up the bulb in the coop.

Do Broiler Chickens Need Light in Winter to Grow?

All chickens, including broiler chickens, need light in wintertime, not necessarily to grow but to sustain their egg production cycles. Broiler chickens won’t stop growing when they get fewer daylight hours in winter because the light isn’t vital for their growth.

Nonetheless, broiler hens may not lay at all in the wintertime because of a reduction in daylight hours. What determines whether your broiler chickens will continue growing even during wintertime is the quality of diet you provide to the chickens. The higher the quality of diet you give to your broiler chickens during wintertime, the faster the birds will grow.

Furthermore, a high-quality diet comprising various foods can help keep the broiler chickens warm in winter. For instance, a diet full of carbs and proteins will help the birds stay warm because they will have to use plenty of energy to break down such foods, ultimately generating heat without supplemental heating.

Do Chickens Need a Heat Lamp in Winter?

Chickens usually don’t need a heat lamp during wintertime because the average chicken breed can withstand cold without relying on supplemental heating. Most chicken breeds, especially cold-hardy breeds, can keep warm in winter because they can easily withstand cold.

Again, keeping your chickens warm with a heat lamp during wintertime can be dangerous for the birds because they risk freezing if they depend on the heat lamp and the power goes out unexpectedly.

The other risk of relying on a heat lamp is that it can burn the entire coop in the event of accidental power problems. So chickens don’t necessarily need a heat lamp to stay warm in winter, but they need supplemental lighting to keep laying.


Light is important for your egg-laying hens but critical in winter when your birds don’t receive the required daylight hours. A reduction in sunlight can be disastrous for chicken keepers keeping hens for eggs because the birds won’t keep their egg production cycle at the peak.

It’s thus crucial to use supplemental lighting in winter to ensure the birds continue getting enough light to boost their laying capabilities.

avatar James
Hey, I'm James, a hardworking homesteader for more than 30 years. I enjoy the feeling of accomplishment that comes from tending my flock. I've raised chickens and ducks for eggs and meat for many years. I also have experience with other poultry too. Learn more

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