does adding winter light extend eggs in a lifetime?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by dftkarin, Aug 2, 2008.

  1. dftkarin

    dftkarin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Jun 27, 2008
    Do chickens lay a certain amount of eggs in a lifetime and if they stop laying during the winter months, might they lay more eggs in their later years? If I give supplimental light in the darker months to keep the hens laying, will that shorten their egg-laying capabilities? I live in a city where I can only have 3 hens and we have them as pets - and I hope they will live a long time and continue to lay eggs throughout their lives - because when they stop laying (or the eggs become few and far between), I can't "refresh the flock" with more chickens because I'm limited to 3. If allowing them to not lay in the winter would prolong their laying abilities overall, I would gladly do it. If it makes no difference, then I will think about it.
     
  2. dftkarin

    dftkarin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Did my question make sense? I mean, like if a hen is capable of laying 1000 eggs in her lifetime and she goes through the dark winter months without laying - would that mean that she might lay longer into her twilight years? If I were to provide supplimental light to keep her laying throughout the winter - does that "use up" a set amount of potential eggs she could lay in a lifetime? Does laying throughout the winter affect a hen's lifetime egg-laying numbers?
     
    Last edited: Aug 3, 2008
  3. arlee453

    arlee453 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Aug 13, 2007
    near Charlotte NC
    hens have a set number of ova in their ovaries. If you extend daylight hours in the winter, you will just have them produce their eggs sooner.

    Does that makes sense? You'll get the same number of eggs, you'll just get them over a shorter time period if you have them laying more during the winter with artificial light.
     
  4. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Some of us prefer to make do with fewer eggs and let the hens rest during the shorter days. They don't wear themselves out so soon if they can get their natural vacation.
     
  5. dftkarin

    dftkarin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    That is exactly what I hoped to hear. So if I don't add extra light in the winters I will get fewer (or no) eggs for a few months in the winter, but my hens will lay for a longer number of years - or more in their later years? I'm glad to hear this!!
     
  6. josh_bigler

    josh_bigler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    windsor, missouri
    actually a light is very good, for laying and also chickens cannot see in the dark and get very scared/spooked by noises, and when chickens are scared like that, they will slow down on laying eggs, if you have a light in there ,it helps out a lot for chickens, but NOT all chickens, for example we have a bunch of coons that are always trying to get in the coop, and then i installed electric fencing and a light in all of my coops and now they are laying like crazy!! except my RIR's they are too young [​IMG] any day now though
     
  7. Katy

    Katy Flock Mistress

    Quote:You are right in that a light will keep them laying when the days get shorter, but it's also harder on them. Their bodies need a break from laying. Continual laying will shorten their lifespan.....it wears them out. I'd rather have fewer eggs for awhile and keep my hens longer.

    The dark itself doesn't scare them.....a coon or other predator trying to get in will spook them.
     
  8. lurky

    lurky Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 4, 2007
    Western MA
    I keep a small string of LED holiday lights in the coop on a timer. It allows a night light effect for a few hours while they get settled in. But its not over doing it.
     
  9. josh_bigler

    josh_bigler Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Yes you are very much right... For my situation i had to have a light on because they quit laying and so many coons and predators out there were trying to get in, and every little noise at night, my chickens were going crazy. the Light has helped out a lot, im just saying what has helped me. and also being scared all the time will actually lower their life span than laying eggs everyday. All chickens are different and some react much different to light at night, also my chickens have not layed at night with the light on, they do during the day, and i would like to see something stating other wise that chickens are not scared of the dark????? when you live in BFE there are all kinds of noises at night that keep the chickens startled all night long and they cannot see at night so when they get startled they start running into walls and what not! just my 2 cents
     
  10. dancingbear

    dancingbear Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Aug 2, 2008
    South Central KY
    Josh, have you tried light outside the coop to discourage the predators? Maybe with a motion detector? It might work. That way your hens would get the dark they need for the sleep cycle. I live out in the sticks, too, and my hens are fine with dark. They do get disturbed if they think something's after them. If it took a light inside to keep them safe, I'd do it.

    I don't keep a light on in the winter, my hens still lay fine. I see a drop in egg laying in the summer, when it gets really hot, like now. Plenty of light now, but not a lot of eggs. There's also some out of lay while being broody, but that leaves a good number I should be getting eggs from, and I'm not getting many. It goes like this every year, this is nothing new. Then when it gets cooler, they'll lay like mad.

    I think the stopping in the winter is limited to a few breeds, most carry on all year, these days. I'd let nature take it course and let your hens take the time out when nature tells them to. They'll stop when they moult, too, did you already know that? If they stop laying, or lay very few, and you notice your hens are raggedy and half naked, and the coop looks like a chicken exploded, they're moulting. When the new feathers grow back in, they start laying again.
     

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