Egglaying 101 -- need tips!


7 Years
Oct 22, 2012
Hi, my 6 chickens are 20 weeks, but none have started laying yet. I raised them from Memorial day on, and it's getting cold here in Massachusetts. I've heard what I'm hoping is a big myth -- that you have to leave a light on for 15 hours of daylight for the hens or they won't start laying til spring, and if you miss one day of the artificial light, that's the end of eggs for months! I have family members who are so eager for the eggs to start coming, so in reading other posts, perhaps we should expect nothing and maybe they'll start coming. But any advice about the following:
1) light affecting chickens who mature in the end of fall and how this affects their laying
2) how do you keep laying boxes poop-free? We are doing the deep litter method in the coop, and it seems like it might be impossible to keep the eggs poop-free. But I've read that they can't be eaten if they have poop on them. Is this all true?
3) Any tried and true hints about encouraging laying at this time of year?

Thanks! (Sorry so long -- new to this site and forum!)
welcome from Wisconsin

1)I believe your hens will start laying before spring, most start laying between 21 and 25 weeks.
2)Most of the time hens need 14 hrs of daylight to lay daily, but they will still lay, just there production will be down untill it starts getting lighter in the spring. my hens have slowed down their egg laying slightly since the daylight hrs have gotten shorter.
3)poop in the nesting boxes havent been a problem for me really....i use ceder chips in the boxes
4) if there is poop on the egg shell, just wash it off.... u can still eat it. I wash all the eggs i get before putting them in the fridge.

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