Saturday, January 21, 2012

Winter Eggs

A couple of months ago, we were down to about an egg a day from our chicken flock. To be fair to them, some weren't yet laying, but still...that was a lot of feed for no payoff.

I started an experiment with lighting the coop, but because of the chicken illness brought home by a stray hen, I stopped doing it for a while. After health was restored, I decided to restart the light regimen.
The dozen hens that remain (all-time high of 17, minus 4 lost to illness, minus one rooster) seem to be enjoying their extended twilight. Our backyard is so shady that they were going to bed at 4pm. Conventional wisdom says to add the lighting at the beginning of the day rather than the end, but I think in this town, people would rather hear chickens clucking late than early. That's Hollywood for you.
Two days worth of eggs with the lighting regimen: The five Easter Eggers are going strong; Henrietta is in her second laying year, but the other four are 1st year layers. The brown eggs are from the two remaining Bettys. After that, we have two game hens, and three other hens that aren't laying yet (one barred rock, one delaware, and one light brahma).
The biggest green egg yet, weighing in at a hefty 66g! Mostly they are right around 50g (medium in American commercial egg sizing). The game hens are just starting to lay creamy pink eggs, and I'm hoping for more from the other hens soon.

Overall, I'd say that adding the winter lighting has been a huge success. I have two lamps (brooder clamp lamp style), one in the coop and one shining into the run. They are set on a timer from 4pm to 8pm, so that the chickens are long asleep before neighbors might complain, plus they are generally very quiet then. It is only in the morning when they are laying that they get a little noisy...except for a couple of days ago when a mockingbird was hanging out in the tree making fun of their clucking. That got them really upset, but it was pretty funny to me.


  1. I love your blue eggs! We have a brown laying flock of 9 who were dropping a few eggs a day all through winter until.... yikes! our feed coop had no organic feed. They stopped almost instantly upon recieving conventional feed. It was an incredibly dramatic stop and it happened after the solstice, so the days were getting longer!
    I'm worried about putting a light outside with temperatures getting so low here, but I'm hoping they'll go back to producing, since we just switched back.

    1. Interesting! I've always had mine on conventional feed due to cost, but they do get lots of extras from our kitchen, greens, and as much fallen avocado from the big tree as they care to eat. The eggs are delicious.

  2. I have thought about adding light to our hen house for winter eggs, but haven't figured out a safe way to do so yet. I hope to get some more hens so I get a few more eggs this next season!