Myths and Facts about chickens egg laying in winter.
Myths and Facts about chickens egg laying. Hoping to help resolve some of that misinformation to help out all us chicken owners!!
Myth: Chickens only lay a certain number of eggs in their lifetime so by giving supplemental light you're shortening their egg laying years.
Fact: Chickens carry more eggs than they can lay in their lifetime even if they laid an egg a day for the 8 years they can live and lay eggs. This was a misconception by farmers because chickens shorten egg laying frequency over their lifetime. Farmers concluded that means chickens only had so many eggs. Science has since proven that a myth.
Myth: Chickens need a break from egg laying
Fact: Chickens do not need a break from egg laying when winter comes. The only reason they stop laying is because their reproductive system responds to the amount of dark..the more dark..the less they lay because it's not sensible to hatch chicks in short cold days. So giving them less dark has nothing to do with physical needs..just maternal biological instincts does. As far as nutritional rebuilding. If providing adequate feed and nutrition daily, they rebuild their nutrition daily. It doesn't take a winter break to do so. Look into a good protein feed 18-20% and vitamins with probiotics, or use 16% and supplement with meal worms and vitamins water plus probiotics along with Black soil Sunflower Seeds. Increase supplemental nutrient intake in cold months, decrease in warmer months.
Myth: Chickens always lay through first winter.
Fact: Not true for some breeds. Depending on breed chickens may lay through first winter even with out supplemental lighting. With all chickens each year older they get the less productive their egg laying is and especially when no supplemental lighting is used. Breeds that have lower egg production from year one are typically slowing down first year during winter compared to chickens with high egg production capabilities that keep on laying.
Myth: Well, not so much.. just not always the case. Chickens shouldn't have lights go off at dark because it's unsafe.
Fact: while they can't see well in dark. It's important to know if there is some light going in from property lights etc..they can see enough to safely go to roost. Dim enough but adequate enough lighting does not effect egg laying or their sleep. Lighting has to be a certain number of lumens to effect egg laying. I cant remember if top of my head. Sorry. So in those cases, its perfectly fine to have lights go off at night. *side note..supplemental lighting should be between 12-16 hrs..no more no less. It is unhealthy to do more than 16 hrs. They need rest between 17 -24 hour mark.
Myth: Rushing breaks during molting is unhealthy.
Fact: There is no such thing as rushing molting breaks. There is only such thing as providing or not providing adequate nutrition. If they get adequate nutrition, they will be able to grow feathers back quickly because they have the proper nutrients to do so. Not because they were "rushed". If they grow back slowly, they're lacking nutrients needs. I'd recommend feather fixer and black oil sunflower seeds. Black oil sunflower seeds is great during cold season too. Helps them maintain body heat and provides many other nutrients benefits, this way they can focus on growing feathers back without worrying about maintaining body warmth. Give less during warm and hot seasons.
Myth: Chickens do not molt the first year
Fact: Chickens molt 2xs the first year. The first molt is 6-8 days old. And the second is 7-12 weeks old. The next molt is around 14 months. So they don't molt the first year of their egg laying years. That's what they mean.
Myth: Supplemental lighting is unhealthy because they need a break for molting.
Fact: Chickens molt regardless. And the lighting wont stop them from molting. So they will take their break during this time if needed.
Myth: This is only a myth if referring to all lights..Supplemental lights in coops are unsafe.
Fact: LED lights ..like the Christmas LED white lights on timers are safe. They do not get hot and outdoor ones are designed for safety. They use so little power too. Just make sure they're properly installed as with anything electric. That's all I can think of off top of head. If anyone else can think of misinformation on this topic to help out everyone have the right information to make their own informed decisions, please comment to help out. And for those who like to give breaks because it's what you do. keep doing you! Nothing wrong with that at all! Thanks everyone!