Originally Posted by AmericanMom
No, actually I will start turning it on an hour later starting the end of this month ( Winter solstice) so by early March late February I wont be using the light at all. It is typically only from the end of Oct - the End of Dec that they really need the extra lighting, that plus the fact 90% of my flock is new layers the light was only meant to get them thru the worst of the "hump" .
I got 12 girls (my first) in June 2012, ALL laid through their first winter without supplemental light and I think that is normal. I imagine if you get them early in the year they might moult before winter and sort of become "second winter" birds before they are a year old, moult in the fall and might miss the "first winter they lay well" period.
The next winter all but 5 shut down (1 of those shut down when she moulted for the first time at the end of January), no supplemental light. Most of those took a few weeks off in January except the Partridge Chantecler that laid straight through until she went broody (a bad habit) at the end of May. Pretty much everyone started back up mid to late February.
Last winter all but the Partridge Chantecler shut down by the end of October, no supplemental light. She was laying until mid December then shut down until early March. The "late moulter" from the prior year moulted starting the end of August and started back up in early January. Pretty much everyone started back up mid to late February.
This year I added 7 pullets (hatched June 8th) and light starting in September so they always have light at least 12 hours a day thinking that might keep the older girls laying a bit longer in the fall. Didn't do a thing for the older birds and the younger ones don't need it but I don't want to mess with them now. 1 EE has been laying since Nov 18th and either 1 or both (I don't know!!) of the White Rocks started soon after. Another EE started yesterday which leaves 1 EE, both Jersey Giants and maybe a White Rock (or not) to get with the "pullets lay well their first winter" program.
Originally Posted by AmericanMom
We do much the same except I sell my girls when they are around 18 months old, before winter. I still get $15.-$20. for each bird with full disclosure they will likely go into molt and be unproductive for 6-8 weeks,.. I give discounts for purchases of 3+ birds and sold 44 between Sept 1 and Oct. 1
I usually keep a few of my best producer or broodys and go into the winter with new layers. A few years ago I had 30+ birds and was only getting 3-4 eggs a day and some days not even that. we had to buy store eggs which just about killed us. It was then I reassessed what I wanted from my flock and now hatch in spring and summer, sell a lot of those pullets and established layers in late summer early fall and haven't had any more issues.... Gathered 34 eggs yesterday so pretty darn happy with it all
People are paying $15 - $20 for a bird that likely won't lay until February and is already on the downside of productivity? Wow.
Originally Posted by audioguy
We reduced our flock when a few died from old age, but the remaining girls were laying well. We even had one of the older easter eggers start producing after the new ones started to lay. Now we have had zero eggs in 2 months.
The one reason I can see is that they did not molt at the same time. Only one started to molt, which I assume stressed the rest of them and then two weeks later, another started to molt, and then again 2 weeks later. So the molt season has been going on forever, and no eggs!
I have more chicks coming in April, and that is too long to wait for more eggs.
Not sure the fix either. I will try the lights, again to see if that might help. The early morning timer setting might work. I'll get back to ya if something changes, like I get an egg!
Mine have always (keeping in mind that "always" is a flock that started at 12 in June of 2012) moulted at different times. And not even the same time each year as they did the prior year. For instance Echo had her first moult the end of January 2014, moulted again starting mid October 2014 and mid November this year. She is now mid moult. She and the EE that is 1.5 months into her moult (finally starting to look like a chicken again) are my best layers by far. I don't think 1 moulting affects the others.
I don't think you have to wait for spring for eggs (and the April chicks won't give you any then anyway ), I think the older ones will start up mid to late February. Doesn't help with the holiday baking though does it?!!?
Clearly attempting to short circuit the egg slowdown with natural light decreasing in the fall by keeping constant light (12 hours per day) didn't do anything for my older birds. If mine have been starting up in mid February due to increasing light (even though it is still well less than 12 hours per day) I wonder if one could "encourage" their birds to start back up earlier by not lighting in the fall but adding light starting about now. Get back to us on that will you?
Originally Posted by aart
The much faster flicker rates on the newer ballasts supposedly do not bother birds like the older ballasts with slower flicker rates.
I won't buy CFLs anymore, not with LEDs available. And I hate yellow light, I won't buy anything less than 3,000 Kelvin. For outside I want 5,000, it pretty much matches the color of the full moon on a clear night. I have no idea how the light "temperature" affects the birds though.
Originally Posted by pfields
I'm having the same problem. I have 45 hens and I'm getting between 24 and 26 eggs a day. I have a florescent light fixture with daylight bulbs that comes on at 6 am and goes off at 8 pm. Last winter this time with only 24 hens I was getting 14-16 eggs a day. I changed to florescent because the bulbs last so much longer and it's really hot here in the summer and they burn cool.
If they were pullets last winter and are the same birds this winter, it is not at all surprising that they slowed down. LEDs last way longer than CFLs, use even less electricity and don't have that nasty habit of "warming up" from little light to full over a period of several minutes when it is cold. That isn't necessarily a bad thing though for the chickens' artificial sunrise. But I really don't like them for MY use. Sometimes 5 minutes is all I need but I can't see because all I have is a dim pink light for much of it.