Winter Egg Laying?

Discussion in 'Chicken Behaviors and Egglaying' started by shoo80, Jul 2, 2008.

  1. shoo80

    shoo80 In the Brooder

    Apr 2, 2008
    Do chickens completely stop laying eggs in the winter or just slow down? Is there any way to help them lay more?
  2. s6bee

    s6bee Songster

    Jul 1, 2007
    Western, NY
    Chickens need a min. of 13hrs+of daylight to lay. This doesn't happen naturally come the winter months. You can supplement with a light linked to a timer in the coop to help keep them going.
  3. The slow down. I put a regular light bulb in the chicken pen, and it keeps them laying, like they would in the spring and summer. Plus, it also keeps the coop warm, the extra eggs are just a plus.
  4. JennsPeeps

    JennsPeeps Rhymes with 'henn'

    Jun 14, 2008
    South Puget Sound
    Do you worry about "wearing out" your layers by having them lay artificially through the winter? I've been debating whether I want to have a light on for the girls - who likely won't start laying until October or so - through the winter.
  5. Mrs MIA

    Mrs MIA Chick Magnet

    Mar 3, 2008
    You won't "wear out" this season's chicks, but I would give them a couple of months to recuperate next season. They'll naturally go into a molt and stop laying. You'll want to increase their protein intake then, and then they'll be as good as new. [​IMG]
  6. warren

    warren Songster

    Sep 29, 2007
    I had two Warren sex links. One laid all through the winter and one had a couple of months off. I do not have artificial light.
  7. shoo80

    shoo80 In the Brooder

    Apr 2, 2008
    What wattage of lamp do you need? Does it have to be a heat lamp?
  8. I just use a regular light bulb.
  9. Chirpy

    Chirpy Balderdash

    May 24, 2007
    I debated the question of adding artificial light myself and decided that my girls deserved the break during the winter since that's how God made them. That's just my personal decision.

    However, we did add 'sunlight' plastic to the top sides of our coop to give the most light possible but didn't add any artificial light. My nine girls continued to lay between 3 and 6 eggs a day all winter.

    Here's a picture of the plastic stuff and how we used it...


    Just an idea - we used it in front and on both sides but not the back side.

    If you do use artificial light use a timer to have it come on in the early morning, not to go off after dark at night.
  10. Davaroo

    Davaroo Poultry Crank

    Feb 4, 2007
    Leesville, SC
    Lets see if I can sum up an entire chapter in one post.

    According to Rice and Botsford, "Practical Poultry Management," 6th Edition, 1956, ch. 9, you need to add light to make up a fourteen hour day. This means the duration of artificial light will, of necessity, increase as the season wanes.
    While there is some variation based on age and condition of the hens and latitude where you live, they do suggest you make it convenient on yourself. It is more important to offer the full 14 hours of light, not when the lights come on or go off.

    There are 4 schemes mentioned:
    1. Early evening on
    This enables you to do any evening chores or feeding that may need doing, and assumes you wont use a timer.
    2. Morning on
    Makes the birds leave the perches early. A timer is a must and a dimmer isnt needed.
    3. Partial night/partial morning
    Allows you to maintain a regular day length, starting at a certain hour until daylight and a certain length of time from twilight until shut-off.
    4. All night
    Best for the bird. They go to perch at a regular time, and remain as long as they are inclined to, sort of doing their chicken things whenever they please.
    I call this the "third shift" chicken.

    For the first three - one 40W (or equivalent) light, 6 ft off the floor, for every 200 sq ft of coop space is suggested.
    For all night lighting, a 10-15W lamp may be substituted.

    The hen is, by evolution, a creatre of the mid latitudes - the tropics, in other words. There, the day length is, for all intents, equal in both day and night hours. Domestication hasn't really changed this and has forced her to adapt to unnatural climates, food and confinement. Since she cannot migrate to more favorable environments, she simply makes the best of it. "She then produces fewer eggs unless her progressive owner gives her the normal amount of spring daylight in the winter months."
    You could move the hen to Florida each year, or more practically, provide light to duplicate a normal late spring day.

    If you DO give artificial light, make sure you maintian feed and water supplies as the birds will eat and drink more. Failure to do this could result in lost weight and stopped production.

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by: