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Why Chickens Do Not Lay As Many Eggs During the Winter

Did you know that chicken do not lay as many eggs during the Winter months as they do in the Spring and Summer?  It’s true.

Chickens require lots of daylight in order to produce an egg.  The regular amount of daylight that is required to produce an egg is measured at 14 hours a day which is equal to a summer day when it stays daylight for several more hours.  With reduced hours of daylight in the winter, this results in fewer eggs laid in the winter or none at all in some cases.  Some hen swill shut down completely and not lay again until the days start getting longer in March or April.

Some people will provide artificial lighting during the winter to keep their hens in business and producing eggs.  This is not good.  It affects the chicken’s health. Hens need the rest that the night time hours provide to recover from laying an egg the previous day.  If forced to continually lay, the hen’s health will start to show signs of illness.  If this happens, you may lose your hen.

Another factor that may be affecting your hen’s ability to lay eggs is not enough protein in their diet.  All laying hens should be on a pellet diet which provides at least 16% protein. A 21% protein layer pellet would be even better for your hens.  Layer pellets also contain all of the vitamins and minerals your hens need to produce eggs.  Layer pellets are sold at most feed supply stores.

You can supplement their diet with other things from your kitchen or with treats for your flock. Mealworms are a great choice, as they are packed with protein and the chickens love them.

Personally, I think the variety hens get in the summer also plays a part in egg production.  My hens love to free range and pick out their own “greens.”  But they are also finding all those tasty bugs that are packed with protein.

Photo Credit:  Pixabay, public domain

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Written by Karen Gros

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