cold weather layers?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by baronsmom1, Dec 17, 2010.

  1. baronsmom1

    baronsmom1 New Egg

    4
    0
    7
    Dec 17, 2010
    Hi! I was hoping someone might help me out here. I have several RIR hens, one hen was laying during the summer months, then all of a sudden stopped laying. The other three hens never layed a single egg, the hens are now 11 months old. We live in south central Florida, the nights have been getting down in the 20's and days are usually in the 50's. Two of my RIR have started laying an egg every day. My chickens are set up in pens with no heat or lights, each pen has three hens and one roo. I am confused, from what I understood chickens stop laying during the short cold days. Has anyone every heard of a hen start laying in the winter months? All of my chickens are fed Purina Layena, using free feeders. Should I worry about the eggs freezing or should I get heat lights? Only problem I have with getting heat lights would be that the pens are too far from a power outlet. Any ideas or help would be appreciated.
     
  2. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

    28,907
    116
    408
    Nov 9, 2007
    SW Arkansas
    Quote:Generally speaking, a pullet coming into her first season of laying will lay when Mother Nature tells her it's time, no matter the weather. I have a whole gang of 6 month old pullets starting to lay, more each day and it's cold here. In the other coop, I have 12 hens that are nearly 3 years old. Took four months off to molt and just recently started laying again - 6 eggs a day from 12 hens.
    I suspect your girls may have gone thru an early molt, a mini-molt, that's hard to detect because of the gradual feather loss or they just weren't mature enough to lay yet. Now they are.
    RIRs are considered to be good winter layers, so even if this wasn't their first season of laying I expect you'll see good winter laying. In Florida, you may see their production actually drop when July and August roll around.
    I am Florida cracker by birth. Trust me, you will never need a heat lamp in Florida. We've already been down to 16* here and I don't use heat. Heat can do them more harm than good. Left to naturally acclimate to the colder temps. they'll come through winter just fine as long as your coop ventilation is good. Heated up and kept all cozy with a heat lamp, then have your power go out, they'll be ill-equipped to deal with the cold. Let them get their down coats nice and fluffy. That's what it's for.
    [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Dec 17, 2010
  3. coltssuperbowl83

    coltssuperbowl83 Chillin' With My Peeps

    442
    10
    123
    Dec 17, 2010
    Kingsville
    Same thing here. I have White leghorns and aracaunas and they all took the fall off from laying eggs and now i'm getting about a dozen eggs a day from my 22 hens and its freezing outside. I just have the hens in my unheated barn. I put the nesting boxes in the corner of the barn and kind of insulated them with some hay and have bales of hay and stables blocking any "would be" wind. The eggs have not frozen. I have their water under heat lamps to keep it from freezing and to give them a warm drink. Good luck with your eggs.
     
  4. abhaya

    abhaya Chillin' With My Peeps

    Nov 5, 2010
    cookeville, tn
    my sexlinks started laying a couple weeks ago during a cold snap. Coldest day of the year I got my first egg from her.
     
  5. HorizonSon

    HorizonSon Chillin' With My Peeps

    553
    2
    111
    Oct 5, 2010
    Pacific NW
    If you have chicken strictly for laying eggs; then you are better off with leghorns, as opposed to Rhode Islands. I say this because you live in Florida. Rhode Islands get their name from there place of origin. They are a cold hearty bird; not a hot weather hardy bird. Leghorns are a Mediterranean breed; and as thus, do well with heat but not sub-zero temps. Leghorns are said to have a much better feed-to-egg conversion rate as well.

    Hope this helps [​IMG]
     
  6. RIBill

    RIBill Chillin' With My Peeps

    107
    5
    91
    Nov 7, 2010
    You definitely don't need heat. At this point, you also don't really need additional light since days will soon be getting longer. I'm gonna guess your laying issue is that the chickens were heat stressed when they came to their natural laying age. That prevented or stopped them laying. Now that it has been cool for a while, the stress is gone so they are laying. It's also possible that the heat reduced their protein consumption which could also contribute to reduced egg laying.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by