Let there be light....or not?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by fasschicks, Sep 30, 2013.

  1. fasschicks

    fasschicks Chirping

    Sep 10, 2013
    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!

  2. MEMama3

    MEMama3 Songster

    May 23, 2013
    Vacation Land; Maine
    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.
  3. off-grid hen

    off-grid hen Songster

    Mar 1, 2011
    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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