Chickens not laying, not enough daylight?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by eggboy, Dec 23, 2010.

  1. eggboy

    eggboy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My chickens moulted for the first time this year and now all of them have their feathers back but they are still not laying. About a week ago I put a lightbulb out in the coop for heat and to extend the daylight hours (its up to about 12 hours now) but they are still not laying. Any suggestions why?
     
  2. PepsNick

    PepsNick Back to Business

    May 9, 2010
    Egglanta, GA
  3. eggboy

    eggboy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Outside it is about 20 degrees farenhieght or less, inside the coop it's about 30 degrees farenhieght.
     
  4. eggboy

    eggboy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    After reading the article I think that maybe they are not actually completly finished moulting and have gotten back all of their feathers but are still recovering from the moult. Do they need more food this time of year?
     
    Last edited: Dec 23, 2010
  5. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    They can use some extra protein while they're recovering from a molt. I changed them all to a grower with oyster shell available because many of them are moulting and only 4 are laying, the BA and BO. This increases the protein and doesn't burden them with calcium they don't need. The shells on the eggs I do get remained nice and hard. If you are not keeping food available during all the hours they have light, including when the light is on, that could be the problem. If you added light but it's not on a timer, the continuous light will stress them, which can definitely affect laying.

    I have one who finished regrowing her feathers over a month ago and she has sill not returned to laying. She used to lay a good solid 6 per week; she is my leghorn. I don't add light and they are free range. I penned them for a couple of days to be sure I wasn't missing a nest somewhere, to no avail. She is about 1.5 years.

    Even the ones who layed fairly well their first winter will typically slow down or stop their second winter, and this is my leghorn's second winter. I figure she'll hold out a while longer, maybe til spring, then I'm curious to see how she does.
     
  6. eggboy

    eggboy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I put a bucket over the light in the coop every night at the same time so that it produces heat but no light. I only feed my chickens once a day, in the morning, I just dump it in the run and they eat it that has always worked before..... could that be the problem?
     
  7. Judy

    Judy Moderator Staff Member

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    Quote:Yup. You'll have a better idea how much they need when you put it in a feeder and leave it all day and there is some left at the end of the day, meaning they had enough to satisfy them. I leave them hanging and full 24/7. You can pick up a feeder for a few bucks, or make one, lots of ideas on here. I'm lazy, I bought two for something like $6 each. Keeps the feed high enough they don't scratch trash into it -- you can hang it at the level of their backs -- as long as they can reach it it's low enough. You'll find most people on here feed as I do, and don't let the feeders run empty.

    Unlike some other animals, chickens don't overeat.
     
  8. berniezahm

    berniezahm Chillin' With My Peeps

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    On page 192 of Storey's Guide to Raising Chickens (New Edition) it says that you should start augmenting daylight when it falls below 15 hours per day, if you want to keep your chickens laying through the winter. I use a timer, cheap at Wal Mart. The 100 watt equivalent CFL bulb only consumes about 24 watts or so. I have it come on at 4 AM till 8 AM and again each evening at 4:30 PM till 8:30 PM. My girls lay just as well in winter as in the summer. Those CFL bulbs light output is severely effected by dust accumulation on the glass tubing, so I use inexpensive, pint jar sized, back door light fixture to enclose the bulb, they are $4.99 at Home Depot. They come in black and white, I use white ones to get the most light reflection. I also paint the wall of the coop white behind where I mount the light, again to enhance the light reflection. About a 12 inch circle of white right behind the glass light works well, I use Rust-Olium (sp) enamel finish as it reflects the light well. My timer settings give 16 1/2 hours of light per day. My coops are approximately 8 feet by 12 feet and one 100 watt bulb will serve that area fine. If your coop is larger simply use two or more spread out through the coop. One timer can run multiple bulbs. In fact, I run two coops on the same timer using an extension cord. If you can place a bucket over your light at night, it probably isn't mounted high enough to light the coop well, as in overhead from the chickens in order to imitate the sun.

    I recently experienced a drop in egg production even with the lights. A friend of mine that has been doing chickens much longer than me suggested changing the feed I give my girls. I switched to a mash from an Amish mill in Pennsylvania and about 5 days after the switch my egg production started to go back up. After 10 days it was back to normal.

    Hope this is helpful. [​IMG]
     
  9. eggboy

    eggboy Chillin' With My Peeps

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    My coop is a converted dog house and my light is hanging from the ceiling and I have hooks up so that at 9 o' clock every night I hang the bucket from the hooks which covers the light but still provides heat. I am probably going to add another light bulb, put it on a timer and leave the one I have up now on all the time covered with the bucket. It is only about 30 degrees in the coop now so it wouldn't hurt to have another light on.
     

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