Do Chickens Need Sunlight?

Chickens are interesting creatures that are great to have around. Like most other creatures, they have their needs and requirements to be fulfilled. One of the things is sunlight. The sun shines every single day and do chickens need sunlight?

So, do chickens need sunlight? Yes, chickens need sunlight to survive and stay healthy. The sun helps them determine the time of the day for their sleep/wake schedule. Also, the sunlight helps the chickens synthesize and produce the hormones for laying eggs. However, chickens don’t need sunlight all the time. Too much light could cause them to become sick and lead to other illnesses.

Do Chickens Need Sun Or Shade?

The chicken needs both sunlight and shade to be strong and healthy.  As crepuscular birds, chickens are most active at dawn and in the evening. These times of the day is when it’s not too hot and bright.

However, chickens do need the sun on a daily basis to stay healthy and for egg-laying.

Sunlight is an excellent source of vitamin D. Since chickens are not able to produce their own vitamin D, the sun will give them all the vitamins that they need.

In addition, sunlight is need for chickens to lay eggs. The sun helps the chicken produce quality eggs.

While you can install an artificial light in the coop, the quality of the eggs will not be as great. This is why eggs from cage hens do not taste as good as hens that free-range.

As for shades, the chickens prefer to be in it than out in the hot scorching sun. During the summer months, it will mostly be hot throughout the day. Due to their instinct, they will look for a shady area to prevent from getting too hot. If they do, they can die from heatstroke.

How Many Hours of Sunlight Do Chickens Need?

It will depend on if they are laying eggs or not. For chickens that are not laying eggs, they should have around 6-8 hours of sunlight each day. If you let your chicken roam freely, they’ll start getting out of the coop at the break of dawn and return back to their coop when darkness falls.

As for hens that lay eggs, their reproductive cycle is set in motion by natural light to dark cycles.

Hens will require at least 12 hours of sunlight a day to lay eggs. In fact, they won’t start laying eggs until the length of the day reaches at least 12 hours of daylight.

For that reason, most hens will only lay eggs during the spring and summer months. During the fall and winter months, hens do lay eggs as well, but not that often.

During the winter, some chicken keepers will install artificial lights in the coop to continue egg production. The hens will continue to lay eggs, but the quality of the eggs will not be that great.


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Can a Chicken Coop Be In Direct Sunlight?

The chicken coop should never be kept in direct sunlight. Doing so will cause health issues for the chickens, even death can occur.

During the summer months, it will usually be hot and sometimes extremely hot. By placing the coop in direct sunlight, it will cause the temperature inside of the coop to soar to an unacceptable level. Most of the time, the chickens will leave the coop to prevent overheating.

If you keep the coop locked with the chickens inside, they will eventually die from the heat.

However, during the winter, the chicken coop can be placed in direct sunlight. This will allow the coop to absorb the heat from the sun and keep the coop warm.

Do Chickens Need Sunlight To Lay Eggs?

Yes, chickens require sunlight to lay eggs. The hen’s pineal gland is what determines when they will lay eggs. This gland is governed by the sun and is activated by there is a lot of light.

The time of the year will determine when and how long the sun will shine. During the fall and winter seasons, the day is shorter since the sun will shine less. This is the time of the year where hens will not lay eggs.

On the other hand, during the spring and summer months, the days will be longer. Since the sun will shine longer and brighter, the pineal gland will get activated and send a hormone to the ovary to start laying eggs.

Can Chickens Be Kept In The Shade?

Yes, chickens can be kept in the shade. This is actually where they should be often, especially during the summer when it’s really hot.

If you let the chickens roam freely in your yard, they will find an area that has shades to stay under when they get too hot. They are able to self regulate their body temperature and will choose the shady area of the yard over being in direct sunlight.

Chickens that are allowed to free roam should have plenty of places that offer shades.


Chickens need sunlight to survive and stay healthy. For hens that lay eggs, the sunlight is beneficial to them as the quality of the eggs depends on it. Too much light can be bad for them too. Therefore, it’s best to balance the amount of sunlight they receive each day by providing them with shades during the day.

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