To use a light, or not?


6 Years
Mar 11, 2013
OK, so I've heard a lot of people say that they start adding a light to extend the days and keep egg production high. I've heard others say that they let their girls take a winter break.

So my question is: Do chickens have a set number of eggs that they will produce, or will they stop laying at a certain age no matter how many eggs they lay?

I would be willing to have less eggs if it means that I will keep them laying longer, but if the age that they stop laying does not depend on number of eggs, I might as well keep production up.

I'll be interested to see everyone,s opinion!

Hens are hatched with aproximately 13,000 to 14,000 immature yolks in their body. They never lay all of these eggs, though. So, yes, hens have a set limit in their bodies, but never exhaust that supply. No matter how many eggs a hen lays, they will slow down and stop laying no matter what.
Personal choice. How well they lay in winter also depends to a degree on the breed. I tried a light one year and got few if any more eggs than I did the year before. I have several Australorps and I get some eggs all year, just more in spring and summer.

Also, some lay longer than others, apparently more on an individual basis. I have 9 hens between 2 and 4 years old, and am getting 6 or 7 eggs most days right now. Pretty darn good. Commercial egg producers get rid of the hens around 1.5 or 2 years old, I believe, nomatter how much an individual hen is laying.
Yep, chickens have a finite amount of eggs that they will lay. For myself, I see no reason as a non-commercial chicken owner, to try an artificially force more eggs out of them. If it was a matter of money, it would be different. To me, they can take a break, go through a molt, or whatever. You want more eggs in the winter, get more birds.
My hens laid all last winter and spring, well up to recently the same amount with no artificial light. I was getting most days 8 eggs from 9 layers, the least was 6 the most ( once) was 9. My turkin lays most days, I kept track for 3 weeks and she missed one day. Right now I get 3 or 4 a day (molting) and sometimes 6. I guess when they are done it will go back up. I see no reason to try to make them lay more I have plenty. I even let them sleep in once in a while lol.
I try to keep things as natural as I can for my birds, so why would I use artificial light to stimulate egg production? All cycles, whether for humans or birds, are natural and "built in" for a reason (even if I don't know that reason), so I'm not going to mess with it.
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Not is my decision on lighting.
The gain is minimal on 12 hens.
Some hens lay every day winter or summer.
What more do you want?

On a small scale you are throwing good money after bad.
It would cost more to supply the light in exchange for the amount of eggs realized.
Plus my hens deserve a bit of a hiatus.
I personally think it makes for a healthier happier hen to let nature take it's course (less cases of prolapse and egg bound in my opinion).
It does not offend me to buy a dozen eggs from the supermarket.
It makes the family appreciate the girls eggs that much more.
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