Hens taking the winter off

Published: December 23, 2013, 3:18 pm, by Bill Radford

Our chickens are holding out on us.

No farm-fresh eggs for us. The hens just aren’t laying.

Blame the shorter days. As www.backyardchickens.com explains, “Chickens are ‘told’ to produce eggs by their endocrine system, a system of different glands and organs that produce hormones.  As the daylight hours shorten in winter, changes in these hormones shut down egg production.”

There is a solution if we really want eggs during the winter: Install a light.  A red heat lamp is recommended, though you have to be careful to put the light where a chicken can’t knock it down and potentially start a fire. Our problem is we already have one extension cord running out to the chickens for their heated water bucket so that they can have water to drink and not a block of ice. We don’t have a place to plug in another cord and we don’t want to overload that cord with a splitter.  So it looks like store-bought eggs for the time being.