Near laying birds and winter delimma help

Legion

Chirping
Aug 3, 2018
66
99
67
Heading into the winter, should I provide supplemental heat such as a heat lamp to keep them warm enough to start laying this winter?

It snowed lightly last week and the temps are in the mid 40s in the day and mid 30s at night.Nesting boxes are all ready to go!

I have four white leghorns(20 weeks old) and two NH(24 weeks) btw. Should I even be thinking about them laying at this point?
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Great Horny Toads
Staff member
Premium member
Jul 16, 2015
37,285
56,612
1,312
central Wisconsin
Mine always start laying without special help. I get mine at the end of May and generally see those first eggs in November to December. Lighting won't help pullets start, that's puberty in action that gets that going. Extra heat can also be a stressor, so can the extra light. They will start when they are ready.

Don't switch them off a grower and onto a layer, if that's your plan, too soon or you will slow down maturity with the lower protein.
 

Legion

Chirping
Aug 3, 2018
66
99
67
Mine always start laying without special help. I get mine at the end of May and generally see those first eggs in November to December. Lighting won't help pullets start, that's puberty in action that gets that going. Extra heat can also be a stressor, so can the extra light. They will start when they are ready.

Don't switch them off a grower and onto a layer, if that's your plan, too soon or you will slow down maturity with the lower protein.
Thanks for the reply! Got it. Red heat bulb doesnt affect the laying process of a 6 month old pullet. They will remain on grower until they lay. Should I start treating them with cracked corn now? That aside should I still heat the coop because of the low amount of birds, larger coop size and lowering temps?
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Premium member
Mar 11, 2017
7,030
17,546
612
South Park, Colorado, USA
From what I understand, heat is not instrumental in getting birds to lay, however lighting is. Supposedly it's the shortening day length going into winter that triggers the slow decline in production, not colder temperatures. Depending on where you live and how extreme your winters are, provided your birds are grown and healthy, heat may not be necessary. Do a little reading on supplemental lighting and see if it's something you want to try.
 

PirateGirl

Chicken Lover, Duck Therapist
Premium member
Mar 11, 2017
7,030
17,546
612
South Park, Colorado, USA
For a chicken, 30s Fahrenheit is not too cold... I think where I live that's pretty much the warmest ever gets at night year round.

Again, heating and lighting are much debated and much personal preference. Generally speaking, neither is *necessary* but there are pros and cons to both. Do some reading and decide what is right for you and your flock. You may find some good things in the Articles section of the website.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/
 

Legion

Chirping
Aug 3, 2018
66
99
67
From what I understand, heat is not instrumental in getting birds to lay, however lighting is. Supposedly it's the shortening day length going into winter that triggers the slow decline in production, not colder temperatures. Depending on where you live and how extreme your winters are, provided your birds are grown and healthy, heat may not be necessary. Do a little reading on supplemental lighting and see if it's something you want to try.
Please read my reply above
 

Legion

Chirping
Aug 3, 2018
66
99
67
For a chicken, 30s Fahrenheit is not too cold... I think where I live that's pretty much the warmest ever gets at night year round.

Again, heating and lighting are much debated and much personal preference. Generally speaking, neither is *necessary* but there are pros and cons to both. Do some reading and decide what is right for you and your flock. You may find some good things in the Articles section of the website.

https://www.backyardchickens.com/articles/
Thank you for your reply!
 

oldhenlikesdogs

Great Horny Toads
Staff member
Premium member
Jul 16, 2015
37,285
56,612
1,312
central Wisconsin
Thanks for the reply! Got it. Red heat bulb doesnt affect the laying process of a 6 month old pullet. They will remain on grower until they lay. Should I start treating them with cracked corn now? That aside should I still heat the coop because of the low amount of birds, larger coop size and lowering temps?
I personally wouldn't add heat. My shed is large and airy. My birds keep themselves warm. There are too many fires from people wanting to keep their chickens warm. It isn't necessary until you get into sustained temperatures below -20 Fahrenheit in my opinion, and even than I don't know if it's necessary at those temperatures.

If you turn your light out now your birds will be able to acclimate to the falling temperatures. Keep it on and they become dependant on it and less able to deal with colder weather. 30 degrees is a comfortable temperature for most chickens.

A bit of scratch to search for daily is always a good thing as long as you are feeding enough daily protein to offset it. Toss a handful into the run to get your birds scratch and digging for it.
 

Melky

Spring has sprung!
Jul 23, 2018
3,884
18,764
882
Edgewood, KY
My Coop
My Coop
You can switch over to 16 % layer feed with oyster shell and poultry grit available if have not already since 18 weeks plus if at breed weight. If they lay fine if not will in spring. Only supplemental lighting to make 14 hours of daylight during the day will prompt egg laying not heat but I choose not to add supplemental lighting as it is healthier not to in my opinion. I also have not added heat. My girls are doing fine at 20 weeks. I’m not expecting eggs till spring and they were hatched first week of June. That said if I get them sooner, I will be presently surprised. I’m just adding dry leaves to mulch in run and keeping clean fluffy bedding in coop for warmth. May add straw if gets colder and out of leaves for warmth in run.
 

bobbi-j

Crossing the Road
9 Years
Mar 15, 2010
14,232
26,193
972
On the MN prairie.
Thanks for the reply! Got it. Red heat bulb doesnt affect the laying process of a 6 month old pullet. They will remain on grower until they lay. Should I start treating them with cracked corn now? That aside should I still heat the coop because of the low amount of birds, larger coop size and lowering temps?
There is no reason for the cracked corn, in my opinion. Their feed is nutritionally balanced, and if they're filling up on corn, they're not getting the necessary nutrition to start laying. I live where it gets in the 20's and 30's below zero for days at a time. They do just fine on regular feed in a well-ventilated, draft free coop. Chickens grow downy layers under their feathers that help trap the heat next to their bodies. The down grows as they acclimate to the cooling temperatures each fall. By providing artificial heat, you would be hindering this acclimation. One problem with supplemental heat is, if your electricity goes out and it's too cold, your chickens could freeze to death. At the very least, they will be cold and uncomfortable.
 
Top Bottom