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Posted: 11/21/2012 2:13:11 PM EDT
I believe I have read that chickens have a finite amount of eggs which they will lay throughout their life until their spent.
Adding artificial light during the winter months increases their production but ultimately they don't lay any more eggs during their lifespan than
without the light, just that the process was sped up.
I've got 8 chickens that so far are producing more eggs than I can consume myself anyhow and I don't believe they are all laying yet.
What are the pros and cons of using artificial light to boost production?

Also, living in SD the winter months can sometimes get nasty and since they have been big enough I have been letting the free range during the day.
What are the rules of thumb for letting them free range during the winter?

Obligatory pics of my setup below!

Link Posted: 11/21/2012 3:34:04 PM EDT
I put a light on a timer that comes on at 0200 and shuts off at 0730. My chickens come back to roost at night, its dark in there until the light comes on. I cam tell you for a fact that my chickens are more consistentband frequent with the light than they are through the summer.
Link Posted: 11/21/2012 4:41:24 PM EDT
Anyone know for sure if eggs/lifespan are limited in chickens? It's true in humans.
Link Posted: 11/22/2012 9:12:32 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 11/22/2012 9:14:31 AM EDT by Badlatitude]
Our 6 red stars produced at least 5 eggs a day every day all winter ( on a 5 egg day the next morning there would be 7 due to a late lay) No heater no additional light. The front of our coops window faced west. The back had a 14ft high hedge. Its possible this kept them on some form of a schedule.

I believe any animal has a finite amount of eggs. Winter is often looked at as a resting period for hens so their bodies can focus more on eating and keeping warm than laying.

We supplimented out layer feed with chopped spinich, greek yogart , left over pasta. Along with grass clippings as the seasoned allowed.
Link Posted: 11/22/2012 10:48:19 AM EDT
Link Posted: 11/22/2012 1:57:16 PM EDT
Those two grey colored chickens are funny looking.
Link Posted: 11/22/2012 7:56:38 PM EDT
Originally Posted By Vly:
Those two grey colored chickens are funny looking.

And the little buggers won't lay any eggs! They just eat and poop!
Link Posted: 11/22/2012 9:28:57 PM EDT
This is my first winter with layers, so my advice now may well be different than it will be in May, but here goes:

So far, I have not used any artificial light in my coop. Or heat either. I designed my coop on the Open Air Poultry House design, which I discovered here, from a member I would have to look up to thank. I could probably give a better write up in another thread.

So far, my hens have not missed a day. Granted, our lowest low has only been single digits so far, (6-9ish), and we've been unseasonably warm, but my four older laying hens (free from a friend) have been very consistent(daily). My spring chicks are also starting to lay, with a couple of them starting to be regular daylies.

This is my coop:

These are some of the chickies:

This is northern MN, and they dont seem to mind the cold or snow. In fact, they seem to be much happier and active in the cool weather than in the summer.
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