Let there be light....or not?

fasschicks

Chirping
6 Years
Sep 10, 2013
191
11
83
South Central Wisconsin
I am new to the chicken world and hear many people either putting on extra lighting during the winter months to keep up egg production and some folks that do not so that the hens have some R&R for a few months and then ramp up production again in the spring.

Does artificial lighting cut down the laying life of a chicken? If you do not add any extra light during the winter months, what is a general % decrease of eggs (laying 50% less, stop laying all-together, etc)?

We would rather have our hens lay longer over their lifetime and wasn't sure if the artificial light possibly shortened it. Any expertise would be greatly appreciated. Thanks!

Fass
 

MEMama3

Songster
6 Years
May 23, 2013
1,511
100
148
Vacation Land; Maine
I am new to the chicken world and hear many people either putting on extra lighting during the winter months to keep up egg production and some folks that do not so that the hens have some R&R for a few months and then ramp up production again in the spring.

Does artificial lighting cut down the laying life of a chicken?  If you do not add any extra light during the winter months, what is a general % decrease of eggs (laying 50% less, stop laying all-together, etc)? 

We would rather have our hens lay longer over their lifetime and wasn't sure if the artificial light possibly shortened it.  Any expertise would be greatly appreciated.  Thanks!

Fass
Ah, the great lighting debate. My response is completely my opinion based on the research I read.

Without lighting, your production will go down. Hens need at least 14 hours of daylight to stimulate laying. You MAY get eggs despite this, but not as many as you would during spring or summer. As far as shortening their life, from what I have read, lighting does not shorten their life. It does however shorten the years of their laying. Hens (like women) are born with x number of eggs. If you give them that break over the short days they don't use them up as quickly. Either way, they won't lay more or less during their lifetime.

I choose to use lighting in the winter. My hens do not seem at all stressed by my decision.
 

off-grid hen

Songster
Mar 1, 2011
1,131
41
206
Upstate NY
Hens have a finite number of ova (eggs). If you choose to use lighting to increase production in shorter daylight hours, they will lay them faster. When there are no more eggs, they're done laying. It won't shorten their life, just how long they lay.
 

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