Will pullets begin laying in winter?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by albodean, Nov 26, 2016.

  1. albodean

    albodean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2016
    Hi All,

    My 3 Light Sussex pullets are between 23 & 25 weeks old so usually they would start laying around now. However, are they likely to start laying soon even though its winter or will they not start until the day's start getting lighter again?

    I'm in the UK so there is around 10 hours of daylight at the moment.


  2. ChickenCanoe

    ChickenCanoe True BYC Addict

    Nov 23, 2010
    St. Louis, MO
    It is anybody's guess. Unless you are using light therapy there is no way to know.

    Increasing day length activates the gonads for reproduction, decreasing day length inhibits production.
  3. azygous

    azygous Flock Master

    Dec 11, 2009
    Colorado Rockies
    Are any of the pullets squatting when you approach them from behind? How about red combs?

    If it looks like you have pullets on the verge of laying, it won't hurt to add some light on a timer to extend the daylight to thirteen hours. It will take another few weeks or more to see the first egg, but you'll get it sooner than if you wait for spring and the days to lengthen.

    I have seven-month old pullets, and I've had them on supplemental light for around three weeks. One is looking like she might be interested in taking a nest box for a test drive any day. The other two, not so much.

    Waiting for the first egg is suspenseful. I know how anxious you must be.
  4. Egghead_Jr

    Egghead_Jr Overrun With Chickens

    Oct 16, 2010
    NEK, VT
    In the North if your birds are not laying by November likely they won't until longer days of spring. If they started then they'll continue through the dark days just less frequently laying than with supplemental light.

    We got away from supplemental light for years and now are going back to it. I need my pullets to be laying fertile eggs early in the spring. Without light I started getting eggs from 10-11 month pullets in late March but weren't fertile until mid April. With that I'd need to add light to get those chicks laying by winter and the cycle continues. Basically I can't go without supplemental light if I want any kind of breeding schedule.
    1 person likes this.
  5. EggSighted4Life

    EggSighted4Life Chicken Obsessed

    It's true, all chickens are individuals no matter what is expected of their breed.

    I am at the CA/OR border and our daylight is fairly short. Some of my mid June pullets are still coming into lay. I got a 24 gram egg yesterday from a brand new layer. Still have to figure out who.

    I do not supplement light. @Egghead_Jr I was just thinking about hatching schedules as I do have a breeding program started and can see how long it takes pullets to reach POL. Basically anything born after May might not hit POL before the next spring, it seems like. Maybe something I have to consider.
  6. SueT

    SueT Overrun With Chickens

    May 27, 2015
    SW MO
    Let us know when they start laying....my 2 pullets are 26 weeks and not laying yet either, our daylight is about 10 hrs here as well. I am not planning to use supplemental light. I'll just wait and see when it happens. Good luck!
  7. 18acres

    18acres Just Hatched

    Nov 25, 2016
    I would introduce lighting on a timer to suppliment missed laying hours if you really need them to start laying now. If you are just curious and can take your time, then let them be. Down time is good time. :)
  8. oldhenlikesdogs

    oldhenlikesdogs I Wanna Be A Cowboy Premium Member

    Jul 16, 2015
    central Wisconsin
    My pullets always start laying when maturing this time of year. They do take about a month longer to start. From my experiences the decreasing light doesn't affect them that much. Sussex here in America generally start at about 6-7 months of age. My one is a bit older than yours but she hasn't started yet. I expect her do so within the next month.
    1 person likes this.
  9. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    My production bred birds usually do. I had one notable bird lay her very first egg on Solstice.

    this year, though, my hens are dragging their feet so to speak. My Rocks I got this summer.....I have 2 that are laying sporadically, that's it Buncha Freeloaders.
  10. albodean

    albodean Chillin' With My Peeps

    Sep 27, 2016
    Thanks for all the replies!

    They aren't squatting yet, but all have big bright red combs. They're still running away when I approach them unless I have food! Will they be easier to handle once they start squatting?

    I'm not desperate for them to start laying, just looking forward to it so I'll just let nature take its course and hope!

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