It's a matter of personal choice.
From what I've read you can add light in the wintertime to increase egg production, but the hens will lay for a shorter period of time over their lifetime. Each hen, just like human females has a certain number of eggs to lay in a lifetime.
If you choose to add light it's better to add it at the start of the day, rather than in the evenings.
I believe in giving the hens the break in the wintertime that nature intended. I've taken this attitude because my hens are more pets than egg layers. I'd love them even if they never gave me another egg.
Hey, understood! There's almost nothing more exciting than collecting eggs! I'm one of those that feels it's best to let nature take its course. I do not add extra light, and keep telling myself that I will NOT complain when I get fewer eggs! I think they need the break, and I also am of the opinion that this break is not only for recuperating from a season of egg-laying, but it's also good for them in other ways. What ways, I'm not sure, but it just seems right!
I have been going back and forth on this for months now. Have had it on my list to buy the light and timer to add a couple of extra hours in the morning. At the hardware store buying it I had deep misgivings, and in fact it's taken me forever to do the purchase because I'm so ambivalent about it.
Then I came here to find out what the latest thinking is, and here is the argument for natural cycles. I love my hens and I think if they have a natural break in winter, I'm going to let them have that break. It's better for the hens to be able to rebuild their bodies because the eggs do take a toll on their minerals. I intend for my birds to die natural deaths, therefore, I should give them the same consideration I'd be giving my own health. I'm a natural health person, so hey... good for the chicks.
Thank you for being here. Now I have extra stuff I didn't need to buy, but that's ok.