The molt was going on a bit long and as the days got shorter the younger hens decided an egg moratorium was a good idea. Huh? This is flock #3 for me and every other young flock laid consistently throughout the winter without needing supplemental light. This flock figured a break was a great idea and quit laying a full two weeks before Thanksgiving.
I had to buy eggs! I own 10 hens! I was a wee bit upset.
So I decided to add a light on a timer inside the coop. I had a bulb cage, an outlet in the coop for the water heater, and a good place to hang the cage where it wouldn’t get knocked down. A bit of research said they needed at least 14 hours of light and that you should introduce it gradually. And that’s what I did. I extended the day in both directions by a half hour until I had at least 15 hours of light (I figured better safe than eggless).
It took a while for them to start again, but I’m now getting 3 to 4 eggs a day. They started December 7 and haven’t missed a day since.
The older hens are finally out of molt and laying (that’s a Bunty egg up there. The super extra large that looks like a goose got into the coop) although I don’t expect daily production from them. Two of the younger birds are consistent layers but the other three are sporadic. I think I’ll need to put bands on everybody so I can start figuring out who is laying and who needs culling. But that’s a problem for nicer weather. It’s 4 degrees out and I’m just happy they’re laying at all.