Decreased Winter Production

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by Aemelia, Oct 23, 2011.

  1. Aemelia

    Aemelia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2011
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    The days are getting shorter and the nights colder here in Nebraska. I don't plan to use supplemental light in my coop. I am starting to see decreased egg production even from my Production Red pullet. Seems like a good thing in the long run. We were averaging about 16 eggs a week and now we are at 10 eggs a week. Will they completely stop or will it just continue to be very slow production?

    Is it entirely light based or is it also based on temperature?
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    It is almost entirely light based as chickens are photo reactive. Temps only play a very minor role.

    The choice is:

    a) no lighting, which will mean decreased productivity

    b) a reasonable addition of an hour or two of pre-dawn light which results in moderating the decreased productivity, somewhat.

    c) providing them the full 14 hours of light, through natural and artificial lighting which normally causes productivity to remain fairly constant.

    The management decision(s) you make are entirely yours.
  3. allpeepedout

    allpeepedout Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 2, 2011
    Southern Indiana
    Following on, if hens are allowed to "rest" in winter, will they "burn out" less quickly and lay for more years? Be healthier? And OP, mine dropped from 5-6 eggs/day very rapidly to now 1-2 eggs/day.
  4. Judy

    Judy Chicken Obsessed Staff Member Premium Member

    Feb 5, 2009
    South Georgia
    Quote:Unfortunately, commercial producers do not care, so research to try to determine this is unlikely. It is known, however, that hens have a set number of eggs to lay in a lifetime.
  5. Imp

    Imp All things share the same breath- Chief Seattle

    Quote:You don't say how old they are. If it is their first winter, they may lay well or fairly well, throughout the winter.

  6. partsRheavy

    partsRheavy Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jul 28, 2011
    Photoreactive is indeed correct!!

    I installed supplemental light a few days ago and - voila! - 9 eggs today from hens who had been producing 3 or 4 per day during October. I use an outdoor-rated timer from 4:30 am-7:30 am.

    If they get good nutrition and regular forage times, I don't see any problem doing this. The girls get Layena in addition to foraged goodies.

    Two suns! [​IMG]



    Christmas lights in addition to lamp.


    Had to brag on today's eggs!
    Last edited: Oct 23, 2011
  7. Aemelia

    Aemelia Chillin' With My Peeps

    Mar 28, 2011
    Lincoln, Nebraska
    Mine hatched in mid March. They started laying in August. So they are around 7 months old now. I'd rather they laid eggs longer with natural breaks for season changes. They are pets and when they are done laying they will continue to be pets. Currently we live in town and can only have 2 hens (with chicken math that means we have 3!) I hope to move out to the country in the future but that is around 5 years away. I'd just as soon they kept on laying for 5+ years and we can add new hens someday when we move outside of town. I don't want to eat my hens!

    I do like the Christmas lights though, good idea.

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