How to get hens to lay in cold weather

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by ElaineE, Jan 28, 2008.

  1. ElaineE

    ElaineE Hatching

    Jan 27, 2008
    Is the secret heat or light?
    Do I place a heater in the roost area? Or do I need to cover the whole coop in plastic and keep it all warm for the winter?
    Or supply a warmed area immedietly around the roost box that is heated but not heat the whole 36x24 fenced area?
    Or do I need to add a light inside the roost area to wake them up earlier? Sunrise is 7:30 am Sunset is 6pm
    Or is it a combination of Light and heat?
  2. RepoBob

    RepoBob Songster

    Nov 25, 2007
    Since I gave mine 14 hrs light about three weeks ago I get almost an egg from each a day. Every day I gather 4 or 5 eggs. I only have heat lamps on to keep the water from freezing.
    Light did the trick for me.
  3. s6bee

    s6bee Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    Western, NY
    Have you been giving them any supplemental light ? If not start with a regular light ( make sure they can't get to it ) and have it on for 14 hrs. If you have had the lights on, but they stopped laying, my only guess would be to give them the break they are needing, remove the light for a little while then kick it back on again, in a week or so. I really am only guessing on that as a way to kick start it again.
  4. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD

    I moved your post to "chicken behaviors and egg laying" for more views.

    Generally accepted that its light which promotes laying.

    I like to give my birds a rest.

    If it is really really cold, they can be stressed, such as weather in the teens for extended periods of time, and stress can decrease production. If you search eggs and light and winter, there are various threads on the topic.
  5. ElaineE

    ElaineE Hatching

    Jan 27, 2008
    Thank you

    I have heated water for them.
    They have a Little barn shaped roosting house, in need of repair. it is 8x8. it is about to be turned over to 8 ducks.
    So I am going to build a proper coop on the south side of my horse barn.
    I wanted to know how to get them to lay all winter so I could equip from the start.
    The new coop will be 12x12x12. I am going to put real windows in it so they can be opened in the summer and closed in the winter. They will have a 20x50 outdoor run. The windows on the south side of the coop should be passive solar heat on sunny winter days.

    They get 13 way scratch and Triple crown Senior horse feed.
    It is a mix of beet pulp, alfalfa, and grains with added vitamins and minerals. It is formulated to be easily digested.
    They eat it like crazy.
    I started giving it to them when they went crazy over it on the floor where the horses drop it at feeding time.
    They started hopping into the horses' feed buckets while the horses were still trying to eat.
    They ignored scratch feed on the floor, but when I tossed the senior feed on the floor, they leave the horses alone.
    I thought there may be some extra nutrition in it that they were in need of to act that way, so I started putting it in their feed too.

    Thank you all again, now I know where to start.
  6. A nice warm mash in the mornings helps too, pollard mash or porridge!!
    I also insulated my pens with silver insulation sheeting and it worked really quickly, or hessian sheets or old bags nailed to walls and ceiling makes them comfy in winter and summer.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2008
  7. Ma

    Ma Songster

    Aug 10, 2007
    Camanche, Iowa
    We do absolutely nothing, let nature take its course. I have Orpingtons and Wyandottes and they are laying everyday. We had -17 Saturday night, and each gave me an egg in the morning. Our temps have been extremely cold this season, but they just keep laying!

    Are we just lucky? So does all the manipulation really work? Try this feed, keep the coop warmer, put lights on timers...........I am an old fashioned (OLD being the operative word..[​IMG]) gal, and just let it be.

    I find that the two breeds I have, have always been the best winter layers.

  8. newnanchic

    newnanchic Songster

    Jan 3, 2008
    Newnan, Georgia
    I tried adding cayenne pepper to some cornmeal ( 2 bottles to 2 pounds) and give it to them 1 time a week for several weeks that ususlly gets them to laying ( they say it raises their body temp) any way it aorks and I get the pepper at Wal-mart 2 bottles for 1.00 That is a cheap and quick fix until the weather warms up.
  9. Ma, Definately could be the breeds which are more hardy in the cold, very wise choice!!!
    same as welsh mountain ponies versus thoroughbreds in winter.
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2008
  10. Kaneke

    Kaneke Songster

    the cayenne pepper might have done the trick

    both of these new hens were supposed to be "good layers" but nothing had happened in three weeks

    three days ago, I read about the cayenne pepper, so added some to their layer feed

    it's been miserably cold and wet since; possibly a record amount of rain, practically no sun, even snow on the top 3000 feet of the volcano (yes, in Hawaii !!), but today when I was getting the hens fresh dry bedding for their nest boxes, what do I find BETWEEN the boxes, but two nice brown eggs !

    obviously from the EE ... have never seen white Leghorn lay brown eggs ... however Leghorn just finished raising a pair of nice white pullets, so it may be awhile before she gets back in the swing of things

    resident rooster is VERY interested in these girls; I tell him he has his own harem-of-five ... and at present we don't need any more fertile eggs ... with one broody hen sitting on nineteen of them ... and fourteen more I'm keeping sitting there in case another hen goes broody (one hen has laid a dozen so far, great breakfasts for us since I spotted her nest as soon as she started using it)


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