Winter Eggs

Winter Egg Production
Winter Egg Production

Chickens will not lay eggs without the proper amount of light. This is why they molt in the fall and stop laying eggs in the winter. Their hormone system cycles works with the cycle of the sun. Chickens need 12 hours of light to kick the egg laying hormones into action. This year is the first time in the last 4 years I’ve used a light to kickstart my chicken’s egg production. The past three years I let the chickens rest through the winter. Most of my flock are spring hatched and their reproduction system doesn’t need a vacation. This winter I wanted to try the farmers tip of setting up a light in the chicken’s house. I waited till all the older hens had molted and fully feathered out. They had stopped laying eggs in August and started molting in September. I increased protein intake during molting to help with feather growth. The older hens look sleek and healthy by the end of November.

Three weeks ago I was getting one egg five days a week. I ran an outside electrical cord from our house to the pen, set up a barn light with a hundred watt bulb. I turn it on 5-8am, turn it off when the hens start free ranging around 9am. I turn the light back on from 4:30pm until around 8:30/9pm. Two weeks went by without any extra eggs. My Husband thought nothing was going to happen. I stressed patience, the old timers tips are based on actual production. A couple of days ago an extra egg was in our laying box, the next day 2 more eggs, today 8 eggs.

If you do want your hens to produce extra eggs in the winter, give them a break for molting, increase protein, let them have a month-long rest. Increase light to 12 solid hours a day. It really doesn’t matter when you start in the morning. Just make sure they get 12 solid hours of light. I have Fourteen hens, Buff Brahmas, English Cuckoo Marans, and a few mixed breed Bantams.

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3 thoughts on “Winter Eggs

  1. A lot of work in being a steward of God’s creation! I remember My great uncle Laurence’s Bantam Rooster chasing me around their farmyard. Lawrence said, “kick him before he claws you (I always wore shorts and thongs out there in the summer)!” and then, “If he tries it again kick him again, he’ll leave you alone for a few hours! He and Grandpa were convinced brown eggs were healthier!

    1. Thank you for your thoughtful post. I grew up on a farm, we ate the mean roosters. Our family and extended families would grow their own gardens and those who had the acreage would plant large amounts of potatoes, raised large flocks of chickens, several pigs, and steers. Chickens were my best friends as a kid, good company and endless entertainment. When adults became mean I would escape to the chicken coop and hang out with my friends. ❤

      1. The rooster was a little off in the head Lawrence stewed him eventually a tough old bird. I married a farmers daughter, I went into the ministry – went right back to the farmers and ranchers for congregations, They are my kind of people 🙂

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