Egg laying through winter?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by 4islandgirls, Dec 11, 2012.

  1. 4islandgirls

    4islandgirls Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 29, 2012
    I give my chickens 2 meals a day plus scraps, they have heat lamp, nesting box is clean but they just don't lay. Any ideas?
  2. popsicle

    popsicle Chillin' With My Peeps

    Hens should be able to free feed a balanced layer ration.

    Is the heat lamp just heat, or is there light as well? Chickens usually need supplemental light if you need them to lay all winter--I think something like 14 hours of light/day is optimal.

    ETA: Also, how old are they?
    Last edited: Dec 11, 2012
  3. 4islandgirls

    4islandgirls Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 29, 2012
    they are all like 2 years old
  4. WalkingOnSunshine

    WalkingOnSunshine Overrun With Chickens

    Apr 8, 2008
    Popsicle is right--temperature doesn't have much to do with hens laying in the winter. They need supplementary light--usually a regular 75 watt light bulb on a timer to come on at 4am and go off around sunrise will do it. Also, hens should have free access to a balanced layer ration, instead of being limited to twice a day. Feed limiting is actually a technique used to force a moult in commercial layer houses.

    If you give your hens a lot of scraps, you may be messing up their nutrition, as well. Remember, a hen has a tiny body weight so anything you give her will count quite a bit in her daily nutrients. I don't have a specific example for hens, but when I had a parrot, my avian vet told me that ONE GRAPE would change his nutrition for the whole day since his body weight was so small. So pay attention to what scraps you're giving, and try not to give too much sugar or fat. You might also want to put out a free-choice feeder of oyster shell or crushed egg shell if you feed a lot of scraps.
  5. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    I use to use an energy efficient bulb, 18w, for only 12 hours a day. There was no decrease in laying excepting molting hens with that supplement. I believe the lighting not only should keep them awake to feed more but should provide a spectrum for vitamin D so an energy efficient bulb not only cost less to operate it emits the suns spectrum.

    This year we didn't bother with extra lighting and yes, it really does decrease the laying. We're almost to our 9 hours of daylight per day and lucky to get two eggs a day from two hens and three pullets.
  6. Nancygardens

    Nancygardens Out Of The Brooder

    Aug 24, 2012
    SE Washington State USA
    What breed are your chickens?
    Are they molting?

    Some do better in the cold than others our EE stop when it was down to 10* at night.
    Austrlrop, Cochin & Barred Rock & Morans still laying some we had a light on to give them 12-14 hrs. a day.
    No heat lamp on them however.

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