How to get my 16 girls to start laying this year? Lighting questions!

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by bantyshanty, Oct 1, 2010.

  1. bantyshanty

    bantyshanty Oval Office Courier

    568
    1
    141
    Oct 6, 2009
    S.W Pennsylvania
    I have about 22 pullets. the oldest are about a year and several are being moms right now, but I have 16 others between 6 & 8 months. None has started laying yet. There are Silkies, D'Anvers, Ameraucanas, Polish.
    The days are getting much shorter & we live in a narrow valley. We don't get much light, ad the sun comes up at about 10 am & sets behind the hill about 4:30 --near equinox-- so if I start artificial lighting now (just finished the walk-in coop),
    should I start by increasing the day length slowly, like 1/2 hour on each end, and then progress until they have light 16 hours a day? Or should I do it all at once?

    Will they even lay this year? What about my mature hens, when they've weaned their chicks in about a month? Will the respond to this & start laying, or just go into a molt?

    We've not had layers in the winter thus far, but eggs are extra good to cook with when it's cold outside. We people have increased protein needs too, right?

    What to do?

    Would a supplemental protein source for the hens keep them laying as well? Like "Happy Hen Treats" meal worms?
     
  2. Ohhhdear

    Ohhhdear Chillin' With My Peeps

    360
    3
    111
    Aug 15, 2010
    West Michigan
    I've read that it's 14+ hours of daylight chickens need to keep laying. I'm planning on having a timer that turns on the light at 6am and off at 8am, then back on at 5pm until 8pm. I have an LED strip mounted to the inner roofpeak of my coop. Lots of light, very cool, takes 10 watts power. The timer will take more juice to run than the light.

    There's been an interesting thread in BYCF about adding cayenne pepper to the chicken's diet to stimulate their systems into laying. Some people just add it year round, others only when the temps start to get below 40 degrees or so and the chickens need the extra warmth the capsaisin in peppers provides. A lot of people posted testimonials how their non-laying adult hens began producing eggs when nothing else worked.

    It might be the type of breed, too. Some breeds take a lot longer to begin to lay eggs. I guess I'm kinda spoiled with my ISA Brown production hens. They were hatched mid-March and started laying the last week of July. But then, maybe they won't lay for as many years as your hens.
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by