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Using a Light for Egg Production with Chickens that Sleep on TOP of HenHouse

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by ItsFitting, Oct 25, 2013.

  1. ItsFitting

    ItsFitting New Egg

    Jun 18, 2013
    So this is the first year that almost ALL of our 5 have stopped laying and we live in NorCal where it's not that cold yet, but obviously the days are getting very short.

    I had read that I should use a lamp for both heating and for continued egg production but the challenge is that my idiot chickens sleep on TOP of the henhouse. They started doing this about a year ago and it got easier to leave them there then to wrestle them into the house every night.

    Any pointers? If I put a light in the house, do you think they will be attracted to it for warmth and light and perhaps go inside (and maybe pick back up laying more frequently)? Or should I just leave them alone until Spring? It's pretty early for them to stop laying and the thought of feeding and housing 5 of them until the days start to lengthen is a little unpalatable. As much as I like them, they aren't really our "pets".

    Thoughts? We are currently getting 3 eggs every 4-5 days and only from our Leghorns... The PBR and the two Americaunas have stopped laying altogether.
  2. cafarmgirl

    cafarmgirl Overrun With Chickens

    They may be more attracted to sleeping in the hen house if there is a light in there. If there are no windows or any source of natural light that may be the problem. Chickens, and birds in general, do not naturally like to be closed into a pitch black space, even to sleep. Other then that look at your coop and see if there may be other reason why they don't want to go in. Is there enough space? Do they have enough roost space and roosts that are comfortable to sit on all night? It could also be that they just like sleeping up higher. I have a couple that roost on top of my hen house too but my coops are inside a barn so it's not a big deal as far as weather and predators.

    As far as heat...they don't need it. So whether you decide to try to prolong laying with a light is your choice. Lots of people do it, others believe it's better to let nature take it's course and let the hens bodies take a break from laying. And if they are molting they are going to stop laying no matter the light. If you are keeping chickens solely for egg production then you should go with a light.
  3. stevetone

    stevetone Chicken Advocate

    Restarting egg production is more of a challenge than keeping it going in the first place. It is likely that they have or will soon begin molting, further delaying the resumption of egg production. A nice side effect of molting MAY be that without the feather coverage they will seek a warmer place inside the hen house!

    It is a natural cycle. So when the length of daylight gets below 12 hours or so per day, MOST of your hens will slow or stop laying. The exception, which you are currently seeing, are the bred-to-lay-as-much-as-possible-super-laying Leghorns. They will also slow and stop, but have a tendency to go longer before that happens.

    If it is "a little unpalatable" to keep them until they start egg production, then eat them. Not all that uncommon for hens that are expected to produce "or else."

    (PS, for females less than a year old, there is a tendency for them to keep laying through their first winter, depending on how young they are when it hits. That's why you may have been surprised by their behavior this year, as it was different than last year)
    Last edited: Oct 25, 2013
  4. ItsFitting

    ItsFitting New Egg

    Jun 18, 2013
    To be honest... I'm fine with them going without eggs... it just sucks to be spending a ton of money on feed AND have to buy eggs. *grumble*
    Their henhouse is all vented up at the roof, so has natural light that comes in when it is daylight outside... so I really think they just like being up high. Given the chance they would roost in the redwood tree in my yard. (it's been known to happen)

    My youngest Americaunas have stopped laying, and they aren't even 8 months old yet, hence my surprise at their decreased, then non-existent production. My older girls laid all through their first year, and didn't even molt.

    It sounds like there's not much I can do, and I don't really want to eat them and start over again with new chickens... So I'll just wait.

    Thanks guys!!!
  5. Bear Foot Farm

    Bear Foot Farm Overrun With Chickens

    Mar 31, 2008
    Grifton NC
    Quote: Are you sure they aren't just laying in a new spot?
    It would be strange for them to stop so soon after starting, even with shorter days
  6. ItsFitting

    ItsFitting New Egg

    Jun 18, 2013
    That's what I thought... But there literally is NO place that they could be stashing eggs. It's so strange that they just stopped cold turkey when they've only been laying now for about 5 months!!
  7. Den in Penn

    Den in Penn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Dec 15, 2011
    SE Pa.
    My EE laid well for her first three months laying, then just took six weeks off.laid another couple of weeks then took more time off. And she has been doing that now for two years. She just started again after another vacation. It is possible that your Americaunas are doing the same. My theory is that she is laying a clutch of eggs then not brooding them but taking the maternity time off anyway.
  8. ItsFitting

    ItsFitting New Egg

    Jun 18, 2013
    That's crazy that she takes so long off... I had no idea they were so high maintenance ;)

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