Okay- we've had WONDROUS success with our chickens/eggs this first go round however- we have a decision to make and I need more info before I make it! They just stopped laying (I'm assuming because of the shorter daylight hours) within the last 2 days. I had read that our chickens should molt around 11 months or so which would be in one month so they'd stop laying in a month or so anyway??? How long do they stop laying while molting? I am debating if I should run electricity/lighting to the coop to keep getting eggs for a bit or just sit this winter out on the egg race. I don't think any of them are molting yet- then again I don't know what I'm looking for symptom wise . I have a small family so it wouldn't be toooo horrible to go back to store eggs for a few months but if we have a long winter (Utah) I'm sure we'd start missing them terribly. Also- I want to keep cost WAAAAYYYY down so the initial set up would have to be cheap cheap cheap. So my questions are: How long do they stop laying while molting? When should they start molting? What should I look for when they're molting? Ways I can inexpensively electrify/light my coop so they can continue to lay? Will they start laying again if I put a light in there asap- or did I wait too long?? Oh and ways to keep the water bucket from freezing- it's a bucket with the nipples that they peck to get water.