Winter egg laying question.........


11 Years
Oct 11, 2008
Hardwick, NW New Jersey
I have a dumb question..............
I work 3 days a week, and I 'leave' for work by 5:30 a.m. on those mornings.
Now that it's dark when I leave (versus summer daylight hours).......would it be possible to have
a light in the coop, on a timer, set to go off at, say, the girls would come down off the roost,
and lay their eggs "before" I leave for work, so I can collect them "before I leave, and they don't sit in the nest all day,
getting broken or frozen?
Would a light on a timer work for this purpose?

Thanks for any insight!
Kris in NJ


12 Years
Feb 12, 2007
8A East Texas
WOW! I'd be really impressed if all your hens laid their eggs on a schedule for you to gather before work!

Seriously, the light will give them more hours of light, but the timing of a hen laying an egg is her internal clock, not human clock.

Our nest box area is well insulated and the nests are kept full of chopped straw and wood shavings. We have had very few frozen eggs - mostly when the outside temps were well below zero before the wind chill.

Clay In Iowa

11 Years
Oct 9, 2008
Near Wilton Iowa
I'm batting this very issue around and don't even have chickens yet.

I also leave very early for work and in the winter it's often very cold. I'm considering some sort of heating pad to put under the nest boxes that will keep them at least above freezing. Other wise my winter production will be in serious jeopardy.

If I find something or come up with some grand Idea I'll let you know.


11 Years
Mar 21, 2008
Centre Rawdon, Nova Scotia, Canada
I set my timer to turn the coop light on at 4:30 am today :lol:and go off at 8 am, and when I arrived at 7:30 the girls had laid nost of their eggs. I expect that as they get used to the extra light the process will become more reliable!


11 Years
Jun 20, 2008
East Cent Minnesota
I leave a compact floresent on 24/7 now that we have less than 12 hours daylight. Mine GENERALLY have about half the days production laid by 5:30 am and the other half done when I get home at 7 pm.
I am getting 8-9 a day out of 9 sexlink hens. Sometimes 7 but sometimes 10.


11 Years
Aug 2, 2008
South Central KY
Most hens lay on a 25 or 26 hour cycle. That means that eggs get laid a little later each day. When they get to the late evening, they usually skip a day, then start over.

So the extra light on a timer early will probably work well at least part of the time, for most, maybe most of the time for a few, but hens lay eggs all through the day, not many always lay just in the morning.

You may be better off to figure some way to keep the nest box area above freezing. Is it below freezing in the daytime where you are for most of the winter?

An alternative could be to put light near the nest boxes, close enough to keep them above freezing, on a timer to come on a little later in the morning, and stay on until you come home and turn it off. That would keep the eggs from freezing until you got home to gather them.
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