If we let the layers go

ScoobyRoo

Songster
11 Years
Aug 21, 2008
1,996
9
174
Land of OZ
at thier natural state and no artificial lighting, when will the laying decrease?? We are in the east central part of Kansas. I'm leaning towards letting them do their own thing rather than giving them extra light because I thought the chickens could really use the break. BTW it is 50-60 degrees during the day 40-50 at night with only 12 hours of sunlight. I am a newbie at this. Comments wanted
Thanks
 

gritsar

Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
12 Years
Nov 9, 2007
28,906
237
421
SW Arkansas
I'm letting mine go natural. They need the down time. Some breeds never slow down, others slow down a bit, some quit altogether. I believe in letting the hens body dictate what she needs.
 
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ScoobyRoo

Songster
11 Years
Aug 21, 2008
1,996
9
174
Land of OZ
Thanks for the push gritsar. I'll do the same for my ladies. I'm freezing eggs (for the holiday baking season) and giving some to wonderful neighbors. I'm trying to plan ahead since my hens won't tell me when they will quit for the season. lol Just curious when they will stop laying. I have 7mos and 23 wks old RIR, WSL, BO, Leghorns, EE and Black Austrulorps. Thanks again!
 

gritsar

Cows, Chooks & Impys - OH MY!
12 Years
Nov 9, 2007
28,906
237
421
SW Arkansas
If yours are like mine you'll notice a gradual slow down. I think people need to remember that a hen, just like a human woman, only has a certain number of eggs to lay in her lifetime. You can add light and "force" her to lay eggs when she naturally wouldn't, but she will stop laying at a younger age.
My hens are first and foremost pets. I want to have them around for as long as possible.
 

Jenski

Songster
11 Years
Jun 17, 2008
2,177
18
181
Middle Tennessee
I used spotlights in the run last winter, mostly so I could interact with the hens and have some time with them before and after work. Most were just coming into lay, and they ended up laying very well through the winter.

This year I backed off on the light use, and it's only timed to come on right before I leave for work (7 a.m.) and come back on until 6:30-7 at night ~ just long enough for me to get everyone settled and provide time to chat after I get home. The hens in that pen are older now, and have gone into molt. The eggs have definitely slowed, but I think the break is good for them.

I don't like (or use) light inside the coop itself; it makes the hens restless, and they tend to bug each other. I don't need eggs that much!
 
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dancingbear

Songster
11 Years
Aug 2, 2008
2,836
38
191
South Central KY
I don't use extra light in the winter at all, unless I need to leave one on for heat, but that's only a few nights every winter, just when it gets below 20F. Not that often in KY.
I have very broody breeds of hens, so I actually get more eggs in the winter, as they aren't brooding and raising chicks then. After the fall molt, which slows or stops them for a bit, they kick right back into full gear. This will vary with the breed, some are seasonal layers. Mine are year round layers.
 

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