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Egg Laying during cold weather

post #1 of 24
Thread Starter 

Do hens lay less frequently when the weather turns colder?  Our chickens were each laying one egg a day for a couple of months (Aug.-Sep) and now we have a couple that don't appear to be keeping up the pace.  Instead of getting 6 eggs a day, we're only getting 4.

Squat

post #2 of 24

I think  it  depends on the breed and  the  age of the hens . 

I  have  read that several  breeds  will  continue to lay  thru  out the  winter ,  where  others   go into this  moulting stage (  depending on age ) and  if they  do  ,  they  do not  start laying back  until  spring .   

I have  several  different  breeds  ,  so  time will  tell .   1st.  winter  with  chickens  ....   

I DO KNOW  that  since  the  weather is  getting cooler  ,  mine are laying more .

Thanks : 

  Liz
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Thanks : 

  Liz
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post #3 of 24

Commercial outfits keep their houses at 70°. Partly, that must have to do with feed conversion to eggs. The birds will eat more at cooler temperatures and profits will go down.

Light may have more to do with Winter egg production than temperature as long as it doesn't get too cold. I'm happy to keep the coop above freezing, as best I can, and it's never gotten down cold enuf to freeze the eggs before I get to 'em.

The availability of fresh, green food may also keep them laying more regularly. Of course, production hens never see anything green - so I don't really know about this.

Giving them 14 hours of light may be all they need.

Steve

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post #4 of 24

yes ,  read in  here also  that  some  DO  add more light  to  basically   hope  or  force  egg  production in winter months  ,  BUT  also  read  ,  this is really  their  DOWN  TIME  that they rest  and  replenish  their  bodies  to  start again . 

I  really  don't  know if  its very safe  to  force them  to  continue to  lay  when their  hormones  say  stop  ?  LOL

Thanks : 

  Liz
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Thanks : 

  Liz
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post #5 of 24

Liz, you are in Louisiana.

What would you tell someone with chickens near the Artic Circle?

Steve

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post #6 of 24

I  would tell them  to read up  on  chickens  within their area  . 

Yes , I see where  you are  coming from ,  every  area is  different  regarding  temps  and  weather .    I  do  know what  works  for me .  and  everybody  in  here   have  opinions  and  thats exactly  what i  was doing .    So ,  thats  why  we  POST  what works  for  ourselves  .  NOT trying to  steer  anybody  into thinking I am  a know it all ,  not by a long  shot .roll


Someone  living with the climates in that area  ,  I  would totally suggest they  properly insulate their  coops as best they  can .   Water heaters   so  water  don't  freeze, and  read up  all they can  .  Educate  themselves    before  even attempting to  build  the  coops.


Edited by cajunlizz - 11/8/08 at 10:04am
Thanks : 

  Liz
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Thanks : 

  Liz
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post #7 of 24

digitS' :

Liz, you are in Louisiana.

What would you tell someone with chickens near the Artic Circle?

Steve


I don't want to speak for someone else, but I have discussed this with a forum member that lives in Alaska.  She doesn't heat her coops and I don't think she lights them either.

If there ever comes a day when we can't be together keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever - Winnie the Pooh
I'll never develop a thick skin.  Thick skin leads to a hard heart and I never want to be one of those people. 

A slave to LF brahmas, seramas, runner ducks, call ducks, two geese that are my feathered children, and a crossbeak silkie X named Dragon. 

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If there ever comes a day when we can't be together keep me in your heart, I'll stay there forever - Winnie the Pooh
I'll never develop a thick skin.  Thick skin leads to a hard heart and I never want to be one of those people. 

A slave to LF brahmas, seramas, runner ducks, call ducks, two geese that are my feathered children, and a crossbeak silkie X named Dragon. 

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post #8 of 24

There is no sunrise at the Arctic Circle on December 21st.

Anchorage would have 5 hours and 30 minutes between sunrise and set on that day.

Even where I live near the US/Canadian border, the birds will have a 16 hour night. You could probably add another hour of twilight morning and evening for them to be on the roost. . . . a day of 6 hours if I had no lighting.

Steve


Edited by digitS' - 11/8/08 at 11:20am
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post #9 of 24

It snowed today  here and we woke up to 25 degree weather and I had four eggs from four of my new layers this morning when I went out there.  We have been getting four every day. I think it all depends on the chicken.  If you look here on this site   http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/dual.html    you can look for the snowflake symbol which means they are better winter layers.

Have had chickens for a whole six years now!  This year decided to try out ducks too!  WOW messy they are, but totally worth it, their cuteness overpowers all the messes they can make :D  Check them out at:  autumnbreezechickens.blogspot.com

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Have had chickens for a whole six years now!  This year decided to try out ducks too!  WOW messy they are, but totally worth it, their cuteness overpowers all the messes they can make :D  Check them out at:  autumnbreezechickens.blogspot.com

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post #10 of 24

Chickens in Alaska can be more complicated (Alaska is over twice the size of Texas and from the Aleutian islands to the south eastern panhandle, it would span the United States.  In South Central Alaska, you get maybe a week of sub-zero weather, whereas in the interior (Fairbanks area) you get over a month of -20 F.  I have a friend in Fairbanks who insulates her coop with heated blankets and uses a timed dimmed light to compensate for the precious few hours of sunlight during the winter.  The heated blankets are primarily for keeping the water thawed, because (as mentioned above) most chickens are pretty well insulated... they are, however, not well adapted for -20 to -40 F weather (what besides seals, penguins and polar-bears are?).

Although my Alaska days are behind me, we're having a rough (by Portland, OR standards) winter thus far.  I've installed a heat lamp and insulated my coop to keep the water thawed, but I've noticed a considerable decrease in egg laying.  Am I wrong in assuming it has to do with the continuous (although dim) red light produced by the heat lamp?  Or do you think it's the cold getting to them (we've had below freezing for over a week now, and heavy snow (again, for Portland standards which is anything over three to four inches))?  Before the sub freezing weather, they were laying fine even though it was still "winter."

Love the forum.  Thanks!

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My Personal Site: www.bipton.com
My Chicken Coops & Rain Barrels: www.chickenbarrel.com
My Short Films: www.a3o.net
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