Topic of the Week - Winter Egg Laying

Mike craft

In the Brooder
Dec 10, 2016
18
6
20
Mike craft from california.
Recently purchased 10 hens 6 weeks ago.(2) leghorn.(1) buff and 7 rhoad island reds.Where I live lows are only 30° at the worst usually. Out of the 10 I get on average 3 eggs per day. . I do not use alternative lighting . Not sure of the age of hensto be honest. I'm also curious if I should add new.
 

hippyfootfarm

Hatching
Dec 18, 2016
1
0
6
Isanti, MN
This is my first year raising egg laying chickens and I am IN LOVE with it and them! I live in Minnesota so winters here are usually brutal. My flock has a light on them and I still get eggs every day (between 6 and 10). When the weathwr dips down to -17 or more, theres no stopping the eggs from freezing. The texture changes slightly but if i leave them on my kitchen counter, they'll thaw. The eggs that crack from expansion, go to my 4 legged barking baby thats very happy to gobble them up (egg popsicle!)
On suoer cold days, i make them oatmeal with crushed red pepper and crushed egg shells. They also get random toys thrown in and taken out every couple days to keep them curious. I did have them roaming the yard (they o ly ventured in the shoveled areas), until a hawk murdered my lil orphington so now they have to stay where its safe until the leaves return to the trees.
 

chicken hawk 33

Songster
Nov 4, 2015
6,446
321
216
Winter is a time of the year when eggs are in short supply for many of us, though some troopers, like two of my hens, are laying like it's Spring still. Many find though that their hens slow down or stop laying completely, when the days get too short. And the eggs that do make it down the tubes are sometimes frozen before we get a chance to collect them! This week I'd like to hear from you all about winter egg laying and egg dilemmas. Specifically...

- Do or don't you supplement light to keep your hens in production over winter? 
- Are there other ways to ensure your flock stays productive, for example by replenishing the layers with young hens yearly?
- What do you do to prevent the eggs from freezing in the nest boxes, especially the folks that can't collect them in a timely manner.
- Tips for keeping winter layers happy and healthy?
our 60 hens where only laying about 4_5 and actually are laying 8 _12 now aND my little female goose I hatched that is less then a year just layed her first egg two days ago and we got her second today and we got 15 eggs today too
 

Hasgrits68

In the Brooder
5 Years
May 27, 2014
35
10
26
Ethridge TN
I don't supplement light, I feel like my hens deserve a rest. I switched to a higher protein feed during the molt and decided to continue until spring. We've added sand to our coop this year which is dryer and thus seems warmer.
I haven't had any issue with frozen eggs, I check twice a day when I check their water to make sure it isn't frozen.
Occasionally I make organic oatmeal and homemade applesauce on mornings that we are in the teens or single digits. We also use a good scratch or cracked corn and boss to help warm them up as well as acv in their water.
 

jeepster

In the Brooder
Mar 8, 2015
60
5
33
Dallas, Texas area
I don't add light to their coop as I feel that their natural cycle is best for them. I live in Texas so there is less chance of them needing the extra heat.

My girls are productive but not as productive as the summer months. I feed them a quality feed and they get black oil sunflower seed and scratch grains on a regular basis.

Frozen eggs happen very rarely as I live in the south but when it does I just toss the cracked ones to the dogs (they don't mind at all).

Keeping them happy in the winter is done with treats. BOSS and scratch grains and meal worms once in a while. I also keep their pen deep in straw and wood chips (I run a tree service so chips are free) which gives them lots to dig through.
 

annie511

Chirping
Sep 12, 2016
89
8
51
New to raising chickens in NY. Very cold and lots of snow right now. I got 9 eggs today from my 11 7 mo old pullets.

No supplemental light. I bring the waterer in at night and put it back in the morning. I keep the door to the run open as long as it's above 30°. They were not happy girls when I closed them in the coop for a couple of days when it was in the negs. I put some hay in the run on top of the ice.

I give them some table scraps when they can't get out to keep them full and busy. They love spaghetti noodles.

Their nest boxes have a curtain across the front and have walls and a roof and plenty of bedding. No frozen eggs yet
 
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pnwoldie

Chirping
Apr 10, 2016
73
47
91


Chickens enjoying some [cold] air in the middle of the freezing weather. The RIR in the middle is missing feathers from a hawk attack. They are still pretty cautious and stick close to me on their supervised outings. No heat, no light.
 
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JacksFarmNGardn

Songster
5 Years
Dec 26, 2015
299
123
151
New York
- Do or don't you supplement light to keep your hens in production over

2 of 4 coops have lights on timers


- Are there other ways to ensure your flock stays productive, for example by replenishing the layers with young hens


Alternating lights in coops. Ones on this yr will be off next. Prolongs hens laying life. I will hatch my own hens when older hens die.


- What do you do to prevent the eggs from freezing in the nest boxes, especially the folks that can't collect them in a timely manner.


I work from home, i collect often, but have gotten frozen cracked ones.


- Tips for keeping winter layers happy and healthy?


Fresh food, water and treats. They don't require much.
 

AllynTal

Songster
5 Years
Aug 22, 2014
572
333
186
Mississippi Gulf Coast
- Do or don't you supplement light to keep your hens in production over winter?

No supplemental light. I let them have their natural seasonal cycle.

- Are there other ways to ensure your flock stays productive, for example by replenishing the layers with young hens yearly?

Maintaining productivity is not a priority, per se. I have a breeding program so I periodically have extra cockerels and new pullets to evaluate. It's not to ensure productivity, but it lets me cycle new birds in after each hatch.

- What do you do to prevent the eggs from freezing in the nest boxes, especially the folks that can't collect them in a timely manner.

Where I live now, freezing is not a concern; but in other areas, I was able to collect frequently. If an egg got frozen, as long as it wasn't cracked, I let it thaw on the counter. I will purposely freeze eggs when I have extras in late summer and fall to hold me over during the winter when production is down. Crack an egg into each compartment of an ice-cube tray and freeze it, then crack the tray of egg cubes into a zip-lock bag. Take out what you want to use the next day and let them thaw in the refrigerator. Silicon mini-brownie trays work better than ice-cube trays for larger eggs.

- Tips for keeping winter layers happy and healthy?

Nothing out of the ordinary. Quality food, a dry coop, sheltered areas in their environment, clean water.....
 
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Beekissed

Free Ranging
13 Years
Feb 14, 2008
22,974
5,069
682
This world is not my home.
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- Do or don't you supplement light to keep your hens in production over winter?
- Are there other ways to ensure your flock stays productive, for example by replenishing the layers with young hens yearly?
- What do you do to prevent the eggs from freezing in the nest boxes, especially the folks that can't collect them in a timely manner.
- Tips for keeping winter layers happy and healthy?
  1. No, I don't supplement light.
  2. I cull for good laying and breed those hens. I also hatch in the spring in hopes of having pullets laying for winter. I also keep breeds that are known for winter laying. Maintain good health in the flock at all times.
  3. I have covered, wooden nest boxes that are filled deeply with hay...hay isn't easily moved aside like wood shavings and straw, so the eggs are cupped in a bowl of thickly insulating hay. It has to be single digit temps or below and the eggs left overnight before I have any freezing of eggs.
  4. A cultured, varied deep litter that is well managed so that there is dry footing at all times, great fresh air flow in the coop all winter long, plenty of light in the coop, good dusting spots, the ability to go outdoors when they like, foraging opportunities even in the winter months, good food, low stocking rates, a varied diet.
 

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