Hi all, Our girls have grown and matured beautifully, and from the information I've been able to learn from these forums, I feel like at least one or two of them are at egg-laying age! They've got deep red combs, they sometimes squat submissively when I reach for them, and they just look like healthy, egg-laying chickens. However, this has all come concurrently with the start of winter, short days, and our first snows. The poor chickens have been confined to their coop and run for three days now (I let them take some steps out into the snow; they stopped moving altogether and I had to carry them back to the coop). I've been doing research into solar powered lighting solutions to extend the laying season and see if I can convince them to hurry up and give us our first ever backyard eggs. However, does it stand to reason that if I encourage year-round egg laying by using artificial light sources, I will also be shortening the amount of their lifespan that chickens will be productive egg-layers? I don't know all the biology here, but chickens must be born with a certain number of egg-destined cells. If I let nature do as nature does and accept fewer eggs in the winter, will my hens ultimately lay longer? Currently, I'm leaning toward putting aside my impatience and not trying to speed things up, unless folks think it wouldn't be harmful long-term. Thanks!