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Hen lays eggs in winter without artificial light

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by flockof4, Dec 21, 2011.

  1. flockof4

    flockof4 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For those of you debating whether or not to use a light (during the winter months) to increase egg production, it is possible to get eggs without a light. My black australorp has been laying every other day since she recovered from her molt. Today is the shortest day of the year and we're getting eggs without a light. However, my production red is not laying, so it might depend on the breed. Just thought I'd throw that out there.
     
  2. greenriver

    greenriver Chillin' With My Peeps

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    For me hens that were laying tend to carry over into winter. Chickens that haven't started yet need a little help.

    I just put my BR under 12 hours of light to get them going.
     
  3. gmendoza

    gmendoza Chillin' With My Peeps

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    we dont do this.Winter is a time off for our birds.We still get eggs,but do not complain about it. They get their vacations too.
     
  4. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Not only that, but some will not lay even if you add light [​IMG]

    My production red has been on strike since the temps dipped bellow freezing during the day. My BR started laying after taking a vacation for unknown reasons. As soon as my BR cockerel started to successfully mate her, she has started laying an egg a day! I couldn't believe it! Go Dixie! [​IMG]
     
  5. cmom

    cmom Hilltop Farm

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    My Coop
    My Isa Browns are real troupers and hardly skip a beat unless maybe when they are molting. My RIWs too. My RIR do good then slow down then pick back up then slow down again like a yo yo. My BOs haven't started laying yet. They do have 7 watt night lights in their coops that are on 24/7/365
     
    Last edited: Dec 21, 2011
  6. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Yeah but you are in Florida. Florida is warm [​IMG]

    My ISA lasted until a couple of weeks ago. When it dips to -10 she really needs to use all her energy to keep warm. I do not supply any heat. I do supply about 3 1/2 extra hours of light. 1 in the morning, 2 1/2 in the evening.

    So they have light from 7 am - 6:45 PM. I still get eggs. Just not as much as I would if it were warm and extra light was added.

    Pullets in their first year will lay through winter normally without any extra light. Older hens usually take their second winter off.
     
  7. harveyhorses

    harveyhorses Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:Yeah but you are in Florida. Florida is warm [​IMG]

    My ISA lasted until a couple of weeks ago. When it dips to -10 she really needs to use all her energy to keep warm. I do not supply any heat. I do supply about 3 1/2 extra hours of light. 1 in the morning, 2 1/2 in the evening.

    So they have light from 7 am - 6:45 PM. I still get eggs. Just not as much as I would if it were warm and extra light was added.

    Pullets in their first year will lay through winter normally without any extra light. Older hens usually take their second winter off.



    So I should consider myself lucky to be getting an egg every other day, 5 BO just coming off their first big molt. I didn't have to add light last winter, would it help, or should I just let them be?
     
  8. aoxa

    aoxa Overrun With Chickens

    Quote:Yeah but you are in Florida. Florida is warm [​IMG]

    My ISA lasted until a couple of weeks ago. When it dips to -10 she really needs to use all her energy to keep warm. I do not supply any heat. I do supply about 3 1/2 extra hours of light. 1 in the morning, 2 1/2 in the evening.

    So they have light from 7 am - 6:45 PM. I still get eggs. Just not as much as I would if it were warm and extra light was added.

    Pullets in their first year will lay through winter normally without any extra light. Older hens usually take their second winter off.



    So I should consider myself lucky to be getting an egg every other day, 5 BO just coming off their first big molt. I didn't have to add light last winter, would it help, or should I just let them be?

    I would let them be. IMO hens need the winter to regroup for spring. Almost every breeder told me this. Your hen will lay longer if she does not lay throughout winter.

    I guess if you are doing it for eggs to eat, and don't mind replacing your hens in a year or so, than it's okay. I personally just add light in the morning and evening so I can enjoy a bit of time with them and give them a little more time to stir up their bedding. I didn't add it to increase laying.

    I would consider myself lucky if I had a second year hen laying every other day without any light. Especially lucky that is a BO. [​IMG] I have heard that they aren't great layers in the first place!
     
  9. harveyhorses

    harveyhorses Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I kind of did the breed test, or what did I want most. They are friendly, pretty and lay pretty well, and they are soooo fun. They hang out with me when I am doing yard work, a friend has hens with NO personality, and for me I'll sacrifice a little egg production for personality. Last winter they hardly missed a beat. Oh well. Oh and they are strictly for eggs. [​IMG]
    My father always said if there were reincarnation he wanted to come back as one of our pets. [​IMG]
     
  10. Pele

    Pele Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Quote:

    So I should consider myself lucky to be getting an egg every other day, 5 BO just coming off their first big molt. I didn't have to add light last winter, would it help, or should I just let them be?

    I would let them be. IMO hens need the winter to regroup for spring. Almost every breeder told me this. Your hen will lay longer if she does not lay throughout winter.

    I guess if you are doing it for eggs to eat, and don't mind replacing your hens in a year or so, than it's okay. I personally just add light in the morning and evening so I can enjoy a bit of time with them and give them a little more time to stir up their bedding. I didn't add it to increase laying.

    I would consider myself lucky if I had a second year hen laying every other day without any light. Especially lucky that is a BO. [​IMG] I have heard that they aren't great layers in the first place!

    I agree that it is healthier for the hens to give them a break during the winter. I did want to clarify though, this activity will keep your hen laying for a longer period of time during their lives, but does not give you more eggs (please note I am not saying that this is what you meant, just clarifying for those new to chickens).

    Just like humans, chickens are born with a very finite number of ova. They will stop laying once they run through all of them. The only variation is the amount of time it takes them to cycle through all of them. Most hens will use up all their ova within their first 3 years, unless they are a particularily slow layer, or were blessed with an abnormally large amount of ova at birth.

    Hope that helps!
     

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