Decreased Egg Production Even WITH Supplemental Lighting??

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by mermaidskis, Dec 5, 2015.

  1. mermaidskis

    mermaidskis New Egg

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    My main question: Does egg production dramatically decrease in winter even WITH supplemental lighting?

    I'm a first time flock owner of 13 laying hens which include golden comets, easter eggers, barred rocks, black australorps and a welsummer. They were born on 2/9/15 and have been laying like champions since they started laying in June of this year. Throughout the summer we were averaging 10-12 eggs a day. A low production day was considered 7-8 eggs and that happened maybe once a week at the most.

    We added supplemental lighting to our 8x10 coop and 8x12 adjoining fenced run about 8 weeks ago and egg production remained high. This supplemental lighting comes on at 3am and goes off about an hour after sunrise. Sunset is around 5:30 pm so this provides the hens 14 hours of daylight.

    About 2 weeks ago we had a STEEP drop in egg production resulting in only 4-6 eggs per day. I know reduced light in the winter causes a decrease in production, but I thought adding the supplemental light would head this off. Given the age of the hens, I don't believe this could be the start of molting. The drop in production does coincides with our weather turning cold enough for coat and gloves (high 20's at night, 40's during the day) but I didn't think weather had an effect, only the decreased hours of light that accompany winter. Does anyone know what else could be causing the drop off in production? I sell egg subscriptions and I am going to have to refund customers' money since this reduced level of egg production is too low to provide my promised quota of eggs.

    Thank you so much for sharing your experience with a newbie. Tricia
     
  2. Bridebeliever

    Bridebeliever Chillin' With My Peeps

    Yes, you're right, it's all about their lighting. And I agree with you that at their age they shouldn't start a molt. The only thing I can think of is that when your supplemental lighting goes out the coop or area they are in is still not as bright as the summer months. Also, what type of light are you using? LED? Florescent? You could try leaving your supplemental light on longer and increasing the bulb wattage.
     
  3. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    I am having the same issue, for the first time in 3 winters.
    Even one girl who finished molting, laid for a week or so then stopped again.

    Have no idea why, don't think it's the brightness, they get up and eat and are active.
    Have just been thinking it might be the spectrum of light.

    Or could be that the one consistent thing with chickens....is that they are inconsistent, hahahahaha!

    Wonders if your steep drop could be attributed to something else.....sudden stress from housing/population/feed-water change, predator event, pest increase, etc.
     
  4. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    I'm noticing the same thing. My production is down from what I expect. My flock has 7W CFL. I think I'll step up to the next size.
     
  5. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    What/when is your duration of lighting?
     
  6. lazy gardener

    lazy gardener Flock Master

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    On at 6:30 am (I think. I'll have to check that.) Off around 10 AM, ON at 3:30 PM, and off at 9:00 PM.
     
  7. Happy Chooks

    Happy Chooks Moderator Staff Member

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    I don't light my coop, but my understanding is that it does not stop them from molting. If they need to molt, they will.
     
  8. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    It could be that you aren't giving them enough light.. I sold most of my 1 1/2 year old layers in Sept, what I have left is about 10 of the older girls and 30+ pullets who started laying the end of Sept and the last few should start the end of this month. We decided this year to add a light to the coop and I have been very happy with the results. I never added light before so I asked around to find out what they needed. We have a 60 watt bulb that I turn on at 3 pm and turn off at 8-9 am.. They need 16 hours of light to remain productive, now, this did not stop my older (1 1/2 year olds) from molting but it has greatly increased the amount of eggs laid daily. I have around 50 layers and I gathered 32 eggs yesterday... One drawback, I have girls still going broody, I hadn't ever had this happen so I believe its the lighting. [​IMG]
     
  9. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

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    That duration plus the normal daylight? So.... no dark period?
     
  10. AmericanMom

    AmericanMom Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Normal daylight in the Pacific Northwest is a pipe dream [​IMG]

    We haven't gotten a timer so this was what we did, I am part of a homesteaders group and many do the same, no adverse effects and egg production is awesome.. The light isn't as strong as it sounds, they have a nearly 200 square foot coop
     

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