December 14, 2010

Keeping up your Egg Supply During Winter

If you have laying hens, you know their egg production usually slows down during winter.  Less access to fresh food and water, combined with shorter days and colder weather all contribute to fewer eggs.  There are a few things you can do to encourage your chickens to keep laying.

First, make sure they have shelter.  We have a chicken house with a tiny door (just big enough for the chickens to go outside) and during the summer we train them to go inside at night.  The house should have a place for them to perch.  Ours has a ladder- type structure, with about 4 rungs for them to perch on, as well as some 3-sided boxes for them to sit in to lay their eggs.  We line the floor with straw, and stick straw in the boxes too. 

Second, put a light in their shelter.  This helps keep them warm and "cues" their bodies to lay more eggs.  You can leave it on all day, or only turn it on at night.  Just don't forget to turn it on!
Third, make sure they have warm water every single day.  If egg production has really slowed, you may need to water them twice a day for awhile to get them started again. 

Chickens need all three of these things in order to keep laying.  Follow these steps and you too can enjoy fresh eggs all winter long!


Jill said...

Great post. Sadly, I think my hens are done... I have a light on them, and I'm only getting about 1 egg every three days! Ugh. But I think they are old and worn out. Time for chicks!!

Miz Helen said...

I love the picture of your eggs. Looks like you are getting good production from your hens. Thank you for sharing and you and your family have a very Merry Christmas!

Mona said...

I have never heard about the warm water thing. I will have to try that. Thanks!