A few years ago we decided that since we live in Idaho and since we want our chickens to keep us in fresh eggs all year long, we were definitely going to have to learn how to keep them laying through the winter.
We were new to keeping chickens but already suspected that they would produce less eggs in the colder months. I mean, it just makes sense that they’d not want to be hatching chicks in a time that probably wouldn’t let babies survive long. But we weren’t sure what to expect.
That first year as soon as the temperatures dropped and the days got shorter, their egg production dwindled to nothing within a short time. We ended up buying eggs from the natural grocer that year while still paying to feed our laying hens until spring!
Not exactly cost effective, right?
So as we approached the next winter we turned to the experts over at BackyardChickens.com. They have an article all about keeping your girls laying through the winter and we knew they wouldn’t steer us wrong.
Adding additional light triggers the endocrine system into action, causing them to produce more eggs. Continuously giving chickens light in the winter fools their bodies into thinking that the days aren’t getting shorter at all.BackyardChickens.com
We took their advice about using a red light (and also about being safe running electricity out to the coop!). It’s been three winters since we did this and every year we get a steady flow of eggs every single day, regardless of the weather outside.
We give our girls plenty of extra food and water and they reward us heartily…
So if you’re like us and you want your lovely little (or big) hens to keep you in omelettes and deviled eggs from October to April, you’ll definitely want to check that article out.
God bless and happy homesteading!