If you put a light on in their coop to come on around 4am (what ever time ends up giving them a total of 13 - 14 hours on the shortest day of the year), then they will likely start laying again. No quarantees. But that can get pricey depending on electricity source, and some think it's not good for the hens.
I've had hens (New Hampshires and green egg layers) that old lay through the winter and molting through dumb luck, good breeding, winter hardiness, good feeding, or ??? They were fed 18% layer feed. I also took out a little warmed porridge laced with veggies and bits of animal protein about 5 mornings a week. It gets them warmed up in the mornings. I don't use extra light to encourage laying/fertility unless it's after the winter solstice and I need a jump on spring hatching.
If you don't use extra light, they will start laying again sometime after the winter solstice (a couple of days before Christmas). It may be January, February, or March. After the winter solstice, the days will get longer, and the hens' systems are very responsive to light. Some of mine that don't lay much (or at all) in November and December, will immediately start laying right after Christmas because the days are getting longer. Some go broody then also. Some take until February+ to get back into action. You'll notice that their wattles and combs regain their bright red color around the time they start laying again.
It's exactly normal for your hens to not be laying right now. If these hens laid all last winter, then they have certainly served you well. How did you keep them laying last year? Any tricks/tips to share?
Some folks get a couple more chicks each spring so that they don't have to go eggless through November, December, and January. The new pullets will almost always lay 2-4 eggs a week through their first winter. But that's a bit of extra work since there will be two coops for the summer, and then the integration of the two flocks (old hens and new pullets) is work, too.
Thanks so much! I was a little concerned because they have been great layers all seasons since they began laying.I thought mabey they were all egged out!
I did have a brooder light in their house the past 2 winters, it is plugged into a "thermo cube" and comes on if the temp. falls below 34 degrees and shuts off once the temp comes up to a 45 I think? This has been great! It keeps water from freezing in their house and keeps the girls comfortable. I also have one for my electric waterer outside.I would highly reccomend it, it's made winters so much easier!