Homesteading · Urban Homesteading

Two Things Return In Winter: The Light and Chicken Eggs

In the Pacific NorthWest two things are always real by October every fall. The light is rapidly disappearing by the day, and so are chicken eggs in the coop.

By the Winter Solstice in the 3rd week of December most birds have gone on their annual egg vacation/strike and have been on it for weeks, if not a month and half already.

Can you blame them…with less than 8.5 hours of “light”? It’s gloomy then, often with only 5 to 6 hours of actual light that isn’t all twilight-y.

This was the Winter Solstice on December 21st.

Wether or not you do supplemental lighting in chicken coops can be a testy/hot topic. I choose to not, and to let our girls be natural. Even though it means I won’t get eggs for up to 2-3 months of the year. I feel it lets them rest and be healthier.

I ensure though they get outside daily to get light – for most of the daylight hours, and are fed a rich diet in fall to early winter.

But then it happens around the New Year. The light starts to return, a week after the Solstice and we start gaining time once again.

By the end of the first week of January we have gained a number of minutes.

The hens notice.

They start laying again. Not in vast numbers, but rather at first 1 egg, then 2 eggs a day. The strongest layers start first.

They know somehow that while winter is cold and long, the light is returning. It’s not time to go broody yet, for it’s too cold for chicks to be born, but it’s time to to get the system working once again.

Soon they will all be laying!