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We were at December 12th.  Almost the darkest of the year.  Although we had 13 chickens, we were getting only 5 eggs a day.  Shucks.

Then one morning I plugged in the old heat lamp I keep out in the coop, just before getting out there to feed and water the girls.  That night, what do you know, 7 eggs!  But a heat lamp is 250 watts.  That’s a lot of energy to run, especially if you are prone to forgetting to unplug it after an hour as I am. (I keep it in the coop for really cold nights, and for when we have baby chicks.)

I hooked up some chili lights – a string of white Christmas tree lights with the occasional re plastic chili pepper popped over the bulb, looped over a stick inside the top of the house. I plugged it in before releasing the girls into their run and their grub.  And then plugged it in again at dusk, as they were coming in to settle on their roosts.

Wow.  That night 9 eggs!  Now we’re in business!

Now we have eggs to eat and some to sell too, which pays for chicken maintenance.  And if I forget to unplug, it isn’t so bad to run a short string of little lights for too many hours.  Do the girls enjoy the cozy warm glow of festive lights in their coop?  I only know they seem content.

Just don’t leave those lights on all night – chickens, like humans, need their dark time.