This photo was taken on the first day of winter.
What is so exciting about a bowl of eight eggs? Because these were the eggs laid on the first day of winter. Eight eggs - and we only have eight chickens. On the shortest day of the year, each chicken laid one egg.
And it wasn't a fluke that happened only one day. The day before and the day after we also gathered eight eggs. Occasionally we'll get only seven eggs, but most often eight.
This year we have the general sex link hens who are bred for maximum egg laying. Other years when we had heritage breed chickens, they laid fewer eggs per chicken but still did well at egg laying in the winter.
Now you are wondering what is the big deal?
Well, I've been told repeatedly that hens will slow their egg laying when the days shorten unless they receive supplemental lighting. But we don't have current to our hen house. Our hens receive no extra light or heat. Our weather the past two weeks has been cold enough to freeze their water overnight. One morning it was 11 degrees, but still these hens faithfully give us eight eggs a day. Typically we let our hens outdoors for part of each day but our hens are not excited about walking in snow! Our rooster won't even go out at all!
We did cut large windows in the chicken coop. The windows are low enough to shed light right into the hens.
My husband read in one of Gene Logsdon's books that the whole theory of hens needing supplemental lighting to lay eggs in the winter was made up by the electrical companies in the early 1900's. According to him, farmers in rural America didn't think they needed electricity. In desperation for more customers, farmers were told that they would get more eggs if they supplied their hens with light in the winter months. Logsdon says that extra light is not needed.
I'd like to hear what you have experienced. Do you give your hens light? Do you consider it necessary? Do you agree with Logsdo's view of that the need for extra light is a legend?