Late layers

vigorle

In the Brooder
Apr 30, 2015
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Question from a newbie. I have 7 month old pure Ameracaunas. They haven't laid yet, as this breed sometimes doesn't lay until around this age or later. The cold winter is setting in. I know that means we might not get eggs until spring now ...which puts them at around a year. Has anyone had this breed start laying in the winter?
 

ChickenCanoe

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Nov 23, 2010
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Some breeds take longer to mature than others but the issue is primarily day length, or more accurately length of darkness each day.

Cold has almost nothing to do with it unless you stay around -20F causing stress over time.

To take the mystery out of it, here's a brief rundown of the science.
Light exposure to the retina is first relayed to the nucleus of the hypothalamus, an area of the brain that coordinates biological clock signals. Fibers from there descend to the spinal cord and then project to the superior cervical ganglia, from which neurons ascend back to the pineal gland. The pineal gland translates signals from the nervous system into a hormonal signal.

The gland produces serotonin and subsequently, melatonin. That's the hormone that affects the gonads for sperm production and ovulation in females. An increase in melatonin causes the gonads to become inactive. As photoperiod in relation to day vs. night is the most important clue for animals to determine season. As light lengthens, the gonads are rejuvenated. The duration of melatonin secretion each day is directly proportional to the length of the night because of the pineal gland's ability to measure daylength. Besides reproduction, it also affects sleep timing and blood pressure regulation.

You can wait it out or add a light on a timer to get yourself up to 13 hours or so a day. It is better to increment it slowly.

As long as they aren't laying, don't start layer feed yet.
 

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