It's Almost Winter On The Homestead - Poultry

Egg Production Slowing Down?

basket of eggs

Fewer Eggs in Autumn?

As the days get shorter you are likely to notice lower egg production in your laying hens. It’s one of those facts of life to take into account when deciding to keep chickens for eggs. Although we have bred chickens for larger size, increased egg size and numbers, quieter temperament, and showy feathers, we haven’t been able to breed chickens that will lay eggs year round without making some adjustments in their environment…namely an increase in their daylight hours.


Turn the Lights On, Please!

A hen’s natural rythem tells her body to stop laying eggs as the days shorten in autumn. In the grand scheme of things, it makes no sense for a chicken to raise a clutch of babies when winter is on the way. When daylight hours dip below 14 or 15 hours per day, our laying hens slow down production and will stop laying completely if they don’t have a light on a timer in their coop. If you wish to continue collecting those precious orbs, set up a nice, bright light to come on for at least 14 hours each day. Make absolutely sure that your setup is safe and won’t cause a fire hazard. You should notice an increase in egg production within a few days.

…Or Not!

Folks who keep chickens as pets and wish to mimic the natural order of things may wish to let their hens take a break for the winter. Doing this will allow them to lay the same number of eggs over a longer lifespan. These hens will continue to lay eggs later in life, although you will need to feed them while they’re on winter break. I don’t choose to do this, because my chickens are kept as livestock, not pets, and I process them when their production gets too low. Of course, it’s completely up to you how you choose to manage your flock.

If you would like more information about increasing flock production, check out my post How to Get More Eggs From Your Laying Hens

10 Comments on “Egg Production Slowing Down?

  1. Hello! Question… I’ve got the light on in the coop to provide the extra hours of light but my chickens are not responding. It’s been about a week since I started with the light. Any other ideas to get them back to producing?

    1. Hi Becky,
      It may take a couple of weeks for the extra light to kick start the egg laying. The shorter the daylight hours were when you turned the light on, the longer it will take them to get back into business. Make sure that they have at least 14 hours of light a day, and it should be a nice, bright light. You may also want to have more than one light to help brighten things up in the coop.

  2. I know my production will start slowing down and I am starting to think about freezing some eggs for the winter. Has anyone ever done that before? Also, thanks for the tip about the light I am already planning to add one this year.

    1. Hi Tracy,
      Freezing eggs is very easy, Tracy! Crack your eggs in a bowl, scramble them, and add a pinch of salt or sugar for every 2 or 3 eggs you are freezing. Mix well, pour into ice cube trays, freeze until solid, then remove from trays and store in freezer bags. If you do not add the salt or sugar, the texture of the eggs gets rubbery and will not scramble or mix well with other ingredients.

      Good question! Thanks for asking 🙂

  3. As an aside…your cross stitch table cloth brought back sweet memories. I was given one as a wedding present many many moons ago in yellow. It was used so much that it finally died last year 🙂

    Love fresh eggs home grown…they taste the best, that is if the resident snake doesn’t get to them first as my sister in law just noticed. She wondered why her hens were not laying!

    Alexa from Sydney Australia at

  4. Early this spring you mentioned that you grow Egyptian Walking onions. This is my first year to grow them. Do you harvest the little bulblets at the top and then immediately plant them? Or do you wait and dry them or something before planting them. Do you add any special amendments to the soil? Can you plant them right back in the same place where you just harvested the mature onions? I haven’t been able to find much information on this. Thanks for any help you can give me.
    PS I have pretty limited space for my garden.

    1. Hi Jannell,
      I plant the bulblets immediately and use them as green onions as they get large enough. You can also use them as pearl onions and not plant them at all. I haven’t done anything special to the soil, but I’m sure they would love some well rotted compost. 🙂

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