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Wintertime egg laying - when will it start in northern CA?

Discussion in 'Managing Your Flock' started by starfish1968, Jan 3, 2012.

  1. starfish1968

    starfish1968 In the Brooder

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    Dec 16, 2011
    Petaluma
    HI, All:

    I'm new to the forum, and have pullets ranging from 6 mos. old to 4 1/2 mos. old. They have not started laying yet, which I was told was likely due to their coming of age in the wintertime, with fewer daylight hours. Can anyone tell me how many daylight hours in general are required for chickens to lay eggs, and if you live in northern CA, when it might be likely that they will start? Thanks much!
     

  2. Fred's Hens

    Fred's Hens Crowing Premium Member

    Of course, you could likely jump start the 6 month old bird now, if you wished, by using a few hours of supplemental lighting in the pre-dawn hours, on a timer.

    Or, wait until February. By then, we'll have gained over an hour off the low of Dec 21 solstice. It will be the increase, not just the amount of light that triggers the retina to send a signal to bird's brain, which triggers the ovaries. The choice is entirely yours to make. Best regards.
     
  3. starfish1968

    starfish1968 In the Brooder

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    Dec 16, 2011
    Petaluma
    Thanks, Fred's Hens! Will probably just wait, then, in eager anticipation...
     
  4. Ventura974

    Ventura974 In the Brooder

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    Apr 19, 2011
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    Well I started with a small flock in the spring of last year and kept my hens laying all winter long. I had them since they were chicks. I was told that on a general basis chickens (meaning hens) need on an average of 16 hours of daylight to keep them laying and at least a temp of 50 degrees or higher. I provide two heating lamps in my coop during the winter both on a timer. One comes on right at dusk and it's a white light to provide the extra four hours of daylight and the other is a regular red heat lamp bulb that comes on about 9pm and shuts of at around 10 am. Over time my small flock has gotten bigger. Right now I have 22 hens and two roos. I have my heating lamps in place and right now I am getting between 11 to 17 eggs a day. Depending on the kind of hens you have some may take a bit longer than others to start laying. Hens usually start laying between 18 to 22 weeks but being that it's winter they may take a bit longer. If you're not in a rush to get eggs then waiting till spring may be ok, but if you're anxious to get eggs like I was then taking some of the things I said into consideration may be helpful. Good luck and I hope everything works out for you.
     
  5. starfish1968

    starfish1968 In the Brooder

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    Dec 16, 2011
    Petaluma
    Thanks, Ventura974. I used to live on Cape Cod, MA...loved it out there! I'd like to keep my electric costs low, at least this year, so will probably just be patient and wait. I've chosen pullets that should lay in a variety of colors, so I'm excited for the big event!
     
  6. jeremy

    jeremy CA Royal Blues

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    Since the Solstice I've actually seen a dramatic increase in egg production. We literally went from 3 eggs per day from 40+ hens to now collecting about a dozen and a half eggs every day or so from the girls. Granted, that's still a lot of birds not laying but I feel like half of my flock is molting heavily right now, or just finishing up their molt. I figured around the beginning of the year we would start getting more eggs again.

    Here's a sample of what we've already collected this week. [​IMG]

    [​IMG]
     
    1 person likes this.
  7. California_Redneck

    California_Redneck In the Brooder

    [​IMG]

    I am in El Doardo County with 40 chickens. However, I have several roos and most of the hens are not at point of lay, or are just coming into it. We also have some coming out of molt. Today, alone, we got 12 eggs, and I do use supplemental light in the coop. It is on a timer, and comes on at 5 am and goes off around 8am.
     

  8. dldolan

    dldolan WineNChooks

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    Sonoma County, CA
    Quote:Smarmy show off! [​IMG] OK, Jeremy, I am just drooling over your gorgeous eggs, and I esp. love the olives!! I now have four/ten hens laying pretty much every day, instead of two every other day! So little by little they will come along and the turn over of solstice did seem to help a lot! Starfish, I am in Healdsburg and just old two 9 month old pullets that haven't laid yet! Yes, breed matters, too. Don't despair, it WILL get better! I am giving extra protein while they are coming out of their molts and shut down for winter, which appears that it may be helping.
     
  9. starfish1968

    starfish1968 In the Brooder

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    Dec 16, 2011
    Petaluma
    I just found my very first egg ever today!!




    [​IMG]
     

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