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Spring chickens - do they normally lay through the first winter with no extra light?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by PtldChick, Jan 28, 2012.

  1. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Portland, OR
    I was going to title this "why aren't my chickens laying?" but thought Speckled Hen would slap me. [​IMG]
    Just kidding.

    Seriously, though, I thought that first year pullets that started laying in the summer or fall were supposed to continue laying through their first winter, at least somewhat, but most of mine stopped (I don't supplement with light). Normal?

    The BluCM that started in late November (6/wk), and my Lakenvelder (3/wk) are the only two that are still laying. My very consistent 6/week BCM/Blk Star (I think I was fooled! her eggs are lighter than my BluCM's), both EEs and my Campine haven't laid an egg since I got home from the holidays earlier this month, and neither have the Runners - I was getting 2 eggs from the 3 ducks and on avg. 3 chicken eggs every day before the I left (not counting the BluCM). I have no idea what they were doing in December while I was gone.

    I've recently started supplementing with lighting in the morning. I'm having it come on 15 min earlier every day or two until I get to at least 12 hrs of total light (I know it's 'supposed' to be 14+, but I'll see how it goes). I've got a bunch of 7-8 mo olds that haven't started yet - they need to start pulling their weight.

    None of my birds, incl. the ducks, are a year old - the oldest are from April 2011. My youngest layer (BluCM) is 8 mos, the oldest 10 mos. Maybe they got mad (more likely didn't like the change) [​IMG] that someone else was taking care of them and went on strike? [​IMG]

    I don't have a need for the number of eggs I would be getting right now (I'd just sell the extras), and they seem happy and healthy, I was just curious how true the spring chicken-ism really is.

    Thanks.
     
  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    The problem with generalizations is just that. They don't always apply.

    Again, even the first year pullet laying through their first winter rule, isn't a rule. It's a generalization and it applies mostly to production breeds/strains to begin with.
     
  3. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    What I can say, with some degree of confidence, is this. The first year pullet from production strains, will lay well their first winter with only a bit of supplemental light. Our birds never get lit 14 hours in the winter. From November through February, they only average 11 to 12 hours of combine supplemental and natural lighting. I'd peg laying at or above 80% of the flock, on average. It would seem that first year pullets benefit most from the least amount of added light, if that makes sense.
     
  4. Mattemma

    Mattemma Overrun With Chickens

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    Mine did.This year I had to add a light to get them going after a molt.
     
  5. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    None of mine are hybrids or even your most typical (and productive) layer breeds (no RIR, BR, BO, BA, etc., just one WL who's the youngest I have)...that helps explain it.

    Well, unless the BCM is really a BSL...

    Thanks!
     
  6. Pump Hill Peeps

    Pump Hill Peeps Out Of The Brooder

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    WE HAD THE SAME PROBLEM HERE. EGG PRODUCTION DROPPED TO NEAR ZERO AROUND DECEMBER. LAST YEAR OUR 1ST YEAR BIRDS (GC) REALLY DIDN'T MISS A BEAT LAYING. I HAD A RED HEAT LIGHT ON ALL NITE ALSO. THIS YEAR WE ADDED 6 BSL, STARTED LAYING IN THE SUMMER WITH THE OTHERS THEN ALL LAYING SLOWED IN DEC. I DID NOT PUT THE LIGHT IN THIS YEAR IN PART DUE TO MILD WEATHER AND TO JUST SEE HOW THEY DO. WELL, I SAW. COUPLE WEEKS AGO I PUT THE HEAT LAMP BACK IN AND PRODUCTION SEEMS A LITTLE BETTER. GOT 5 EGGS THE OTHER DAY AND 2-3 MOST DAYS. HOPEFULLY THE TREND WILL INCREASE. NOW IF WE COULD GET THEM TO STOP EATING THEIR EGGS......
     
  7. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Chicken Obsessed Premium Member

    My daughter would say, "Inside voices, people, inside voices", whenever her brothers were too loud or shouting. [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  8. FarmGirl01

    FarmGirl01 Chillin' With My Peeps

    Feb 5, 2008
    AR
    My first years birds seem to stop completely during winter.
     
  9. PtldChick

    PtldChick Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I don't know if it was the cayenne or the light (it just got up to 12 hours total between light and daylight two days ago) but I got NEW egg today! This one is either light brown or maybe tinted. I'm thinking one of my LavOrps, or maybe the Partridge Brahma, since I caught my d'Uccle roo on her back the other day - so hilarious - a tiny rooster and a big hen. She even raised her tail for him but when he couldn't get it done, she put it down and refused. [​IMG]

    Several of my girls who haven't layed yet are starting to sing the egg song, and I found Camper (my Campine) checking out the nest box, so maybe she'll start again soon. She may have already as one of the white eggs I got the other day was a bit whiter and smoother than the others. Based on the song and combs, hopefully my wellie, two polish, andalusian and a few others.

    Yea! [​IMG]
     
  10. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

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    Mine have always laid right through that first winter with no extra light, but they've been production type hatchery birds. That might be your difference right there. Folks like to bash hatchery birds, but they are good at laying.
     

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