Egg Laying during cold weather

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by squat, Nov 8, 2008.

  1. squat

    squat Out Of The Brooder

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    Aug 26, 2008
    Do hens lay less frequently when the weather turns colder? Our chickens were each laying one egg a day for a couple of months (Aug.-Sep) and now we have a couple that don't appear to be keeping up the pace. Instead of getting 6 eggs a day, we're only getting 4.

    Squat
     
  2. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    I think it depends on the breed and the age of the hens .

    I have read that several breeds will continue to lay thru out the winter , where others go into this moulting stage ( depending on age ) and if they do , they do not start laying back until spring .

    I have several different breeds , so time will tell . 1st. winter with chickens ....

    I DO KNOW that since the weather is getting cooler , mine are laying more .
     
  3. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Commercial outfits keep their houses at 70°. Partly, that must have to do with feed conversion to eggs. The birds will eat more at cooler temperatures and profits will go down.

    Light may have more to do with Winter egg production than temperature as long as it doesn't get too cold. I'm happy to keep the coop above freezing, as best I can, and it's never gotten down cold enuf to freeze the eggs before I get to 'em.

    The availability of fresh, green food may also keep them laying more regularly. Of course, production hens never see anything green - so I don't really know about this.

    Giving them 14 hours of light may be all they need.

    Steve
     
  4. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    yes , read in here also that some DO add more light to basically hope or force egg production in winter months , BUT also read , this is really their DOWN TIME that they rest and replenish their bodies to start again .

    I really don't know if its very safe to force them to continue to lay when their hormones say stop ? LOL
     
  5. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Liz, you are in Louisiana.

    What would you tell someone with chickens near the Artic Circle?

    Steve
     
  6. cajunlizz

    cajunlizz Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 27, 2008
    Lafayette, Louisiana
    I would tell them to read up on chickens within their area .

    Yes , I see where you are coming from , every area is different regarding temps and weather . I do know what works for me . and everybody in here have opinions and thats exactly what i was doing . So , thats why we POST what works for ourselves . NOT trying to steer anybody into thinking I am a know it all , not by a long shot .[​IMG]


    Someone living with the climates in that area , I would totally suggest they properly insulate their coops as best they can . Water heaters so water don't freeze, and read up all they can . Educate themselves before even attempting to build the coops.
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2008
  7. gritsar

    gritsar Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!

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    digitS' :

    Liz, you are in Louisiana.

    What would you tell someone with chickens near the Artic Circle?

    Steve

    I don't want to speak for someone else, but I have discussed this with a forum member that lives in Alaska. She doesn't heat her coops and I don't think she lights them either.​
     
  8. digitS'

    digitS' Chillin' With My Peeps

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    There is no sunrise at the Arctic Circle on December 21st.

    Anchorage would have 5 hours and 30 minutes between sunrise and set on that day.

    Even where I live near the US/Canadian border, the birds will have a 16 hour night. You could probably add another hour of twilight morning and evening for them to be on the roost. . . . a day of 6 hours if I had no lighting.

    Steve
     
    Last edited: Nov 8, 2008
  9. Hangin Wit My Peeps

    Hangin Wit My Peeps AutumnBreezeChickens.com

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    It snowed today here and we woke up to 25 degree weather and I had four eggs from four of my new layers this morning when I went out there. We have been getting four every day. I think it all depends on the chicken. If you look here on this site http://www.ithaca.edu/staff/jhenderson/chooks/dual.html you can look for the snowflake symbol which means they are better winter layers.
     
  10. serraphazel

    serraphazel New Egg

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    Chickens in Alaska can be more complicated (Alaska is over twice the size of Texas and from the Aleutian islands to the south eastern panhandle, it would span the United States. In South Central Alaska, you get maybe a week of sub-zero weather, whereas in the interior (Fairbanks area) you get over a month of -20 F. I have a friend in Fairbanks who insulates her coop with heated blankets and uses a timed dimmed light to compensate for the precious few hours of sunlight during the winter. The heated blankets are primarily for keeping the water thawed, because (as mentioned above) most chickens are pretty well insulated... they are, however, not well adapted for -20 to -40 F weather (what besides seals, penguins and polar-bears are?).

    Although my Alaska days are behind me, we're having a rough (by Portland, OR standards) winter thus far. I've installed a heat lamp and insulated my coop to keep the water thawed, but I've noticed a considerable decrease in egg laying. Am I wrong in assuming it has to do with the continuous (although dim) red light produced by the heat lamp? Or do you think it's the cold getting to them (we've had below freezing for over a week now, and heavy snow (again, for Portland standards which is anything over three to four inches))? Before the sub freezing weather, they were laying fine even though it was still "winter."

    Love the forum. Thanks!
     

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