Artificial light? Just started laying and now it's winter

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bird_brain_scientist, Oct 3, 2011.

  1. bird_brain_scientist

    bird_brain_scientist Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 5, 2011
    Like many here, I imagine, I got my first chicks this spring and they are just now hitting 21 weeks. One of the four laid her first egg today! [​IMG]

    What I am wondering is, given that they are just now starting to lay, would it make sense to use artificial light to prevent them from going into molt right after the laying exercise begins? From what I have read here molt will "rejuvinate" their production but they are only just getting started and so should be in great shape anyhow.

    Here in NJ it is getting colder and the days are getting shorter quite quickly. Any advice appreciated. Thanks!
  2. chick4chix

    chick4chix Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2009
    So Cal
    Congratulations on your new flock! They will lay through winter and not go into a molt until around 18 months old.
    I have never used lights but I live in Southern California with super mild winters, and I think the girls need their molt to rest and recouperate from all their hard work laying eggs - so I wouldn't try to "force" laying anyway, but you have a long while before that happens -enjoy your yummy eggs! [​IMG]
  3. MontanaChickenLady

    MontanaChickenLady Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 16, 2011
    Beautiful Montana
    I too got my chicks in April and my 4 girls have been laying eggs for many weeks now and have been pumping out an egg EVERY DAY for a couple of weeks. They haven't missed a beat. I've debated about artificial lighting during our winter (Montana) but I think they should just be allowed to go through their natural process....their eggs are a bonus to me just for having chickens. I'm sure they will appreciate the slower production time...they've been such good girls. Don't you just love keeping chickens? What a joy!!!!
  4. silky_3699

    silky_3699 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 15, 2011
    My Own Realm!!!
    Quote:if you want to you can add artificial light. it sure will help with egg production.
    Good Luck![​IMG]
  5. bird_brain_scientist

    bird_brain_scientist Out Of The Brooder

    Mar 5, 2011
    Yeah, I really have been loving it. They have such great little personalities that I had almost totally forgotten about eggs when I found the first one in their run a week ago! [​IMG]

    Thanks chick4chix for the info about the first molt. I thought for sure they were going to stop laying as soon as they started! If that is the case I can see why many people like to start their chicks in spring. They have time to get big to survive colder temps and will lay for a long time before the first molt comes around.

    I think I like the idea of letting them do the natural thing and take a break when it comes time. 18 months is a long time to be laying eggs every day. They will definitely deserve a break.

    Thanks for your advice everyone!
  6. woodmort

    woodmort Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 6, 2010
    Oxford NY
    The first moult will come about a year to 18 months after they start laying--give or take a couple of months depending on breed/bird. This is the chance for the birds to replace and regrow feathers they have lost as well as give their body a chance to rest. I've had birds lay right through moult but most won't--this is usually when commercial operations get rid of them. Once they come out of the moult--again that varies by breed and bird--the eggs will probably be larger but fewer.

    As far as light is concerned, you'll get difference of opinions on here--there are some that feels it push production so the birds wear out sooner and have laying problems. I tend to disagree. I put my birds on a 16-hr light cycle back when they first started laying and continue it year around with lights going on before 6 am--off around 9--back on at 4 off at 9:30 EDT. Works for me and I haven't had any problems that I could say it caused. My birds do have a roost they can get to that isn't lighted but most don't seem to use it. They are creatures of habit and usually all tucked in before the timer kills the lights.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by