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Daylight and egg laying

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Jane Boone, Oct 17, 2014.

  1. Jane Boone

    Jane Boone Out Of The Brooder

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    Since I am fairly new at raising chickens I have a question about egg laying. According to a "chicken book" the hens need about 12 hours of daylight to lay eggs.
    My 5 hens are now 6 1/2 months old and have been laying eggs for 2 1/2 months. The daylight hours at this time are about 12 1/2 hours.
    My question is will a hen quit laying all at once or will it taper off?
    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. butterfly lady

    butterfly lady Out Of The Brooder

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    What kind of hens do you have? I have 2 RI reds and they just quit laying all of a sudden, I've been asking why too......one molted but that seems to be over.....I'm stumped .
     
  3. ericalynne2005

    ericalynne2005 Out Of The Brooder

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    Not sure I'm new to chickens but in Freezing Mn we really have not much daylight but my chickens are still laying so far. I turn on a light at about 6 am to make sure they are for sure getting light 12 hours a day. In the winter I will probably have to turn it on at abut 4 am to get 12 hours of daylight in. If you get a timer it can do the work for you.
     
  4. Jane Boone

    Jane Boone Out Of The Brooder

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    I have 2 white chickens. I thought I was buying white leghorns, but now not sure. These hens are white, but around the neck they are almost a cream color and they are smaller than my 3 Golden Comets and lay small eggs. The GC's lay large eggs.
     
  5. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    Post a photo of the birds and we can help you sort out what they are.
     
  6. Ol Grey Mare

    Ol Grey Mare One egg shy of a full carton. ..... Premium Member

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    The answer is it depends - some breeds are good at laying through winter and others are not. The first laying cycle (from 6-18ish months) is the one least likely to be effected by winter. If you really want to try to work around winter production drop-off you can use supplemental lighting to bring the total hours of light back to what is needed for optimum production - easier if your coop has easy access to electricity.
     
  7. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

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    Interesting. It’s after the Fall Equinox and you’re still getting more than 12 hours of daylight. I’m sure not, about 11-1/2 hours for me. And practically all my hens are still laying. Only one is molting and she was broody and raising chicks. They often molt early when doing that.

    It’s not a cut and dried simple answer. Do all chickens need 12 hours of daylight to lay eggs? No, not at all. Some breeds, like Australorps, are well known for laying well in winter when days are short. Some chickens do shut down or at least slow down in winter. Even chickens of the same breed don’t all behave the same.

    It’s normal for chickens to molt when the days get shorter and quit laying. Some start laying again when they finish the molt and some wait until spring to crank back up. Not all chickens are the same.

    To further complicate it, yours are pullets that have just started to lay. It’s fairly normal for some pullets to skip the molt their first winter and continue laying whether you extend the light or not. Not all pullets do that and breed can have an influence, but many do keep laying.

    I’ve had experience all over the board with this. I do not extend the light. I’ve had pullets start laying the first week of December, the shortest days of the year. I often have pullets that lay through their first winter, but I’ve had some shut down too. I’ve had hens that start laying some really nice eggs when they finish the molt, even if it is the middle of winter. I’ve had some wait until spring after their molt.

    I can’t tell you what will happen with yours. They may keep laying until next fall 2015 whether you extend the lights or not. Some or all may shut down for the winter and crank back up in the spring. Extending the lights does increase the chances they will continue to lay but even that is not a guarantee.
     
  8. woody1

    woody1 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    All true what Ridgerunner said. FWIW, our lights come on at 6am and go off at 8pm. Fourteen hours of light but even though they come in the coop and go to bed when it gets dark outside, most of the first year girls lay right thru the winter. The older ones are molting now and may or may not begin laying again 'til spring.
     

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