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How We Have Eggs All Winter Long

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How We Have Eggs All Winter Long

If you’ve read any of my previous posts on raising chickens, I’m sure you’ve noticed our preference.  

We do not like adding electricity to our chicken coop in the winter.

Our primary reasons are explained in Why We Don’t Add Lights To The Chicken Coop.

But, in the fall and winter, chickens produce less or even no eggs!  

The production starts to slow down in the fall with molting season.  

And then the days get shorter and those hens need about 16 hours of daylight to produce an egg.

With that double whammy, our hens that are over a year old generally stop laying until sometime in January.  

We could fix the problem by adding supplemental lighting to the coop.  But I think my girls have more than earned a break for the year.

We’re not a factory farm.  We raise heritage breed chickens.  And we’re a homestead that wants the best for our family, and why wouldn’t we then also want the best for our animals?

But we are also a homestead that needs eggs.

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So here’s how we have eggs all winter long!

Let me assure you that I am most definitely not taking a trip to Walmart!  Nor, am I buying eggs from anywhere else.

It’s really very simple.  We raise our chickens as a dual purpose breed.  Meaning that we use them for eggs and meat.

But one of the perks that I didn’t realize when starting out, was that pullets (young hens) don’t typically molt in the first year!  

Dual purpose breeds also start laying close to fall and therefore don’t completely stop laying in the winter.

So when our older hens are taking their hard earned vacation, our newbies are ready to pick up the slack!

Of course we’re getting the tiny pullet eggs.  And because the days are shorter we are not getting as many as we would have in the spring or summer.

What Are Heritage Breed Chickens

How To Keep Your Chickens Warm In The Winter

The Only Tip You Need ~ Keep Your Chickens Water From Freezing

Rogue Chickens ~ How To Get Chickens To Lay In The Nesting Boxes

Why We Don’t Add Lights To The Chicken Coop

So we might not have enough to sell, but we have plenty to keep our bellies full through the season, without the added stress on the flock.

(When we can’t sell eggs we’re still making money!  See how in my post How to Make Money on the Homestead!)

With the consistent flow of new chicks every year we’re always set to have new pullets start laying in the fall!

Have you thought about raising dual purpose chickens?  Get everything you need to know in my eBook Dual Purpose Chickens: Raise ‘Em Like Your Grandma Did!

This post was shared on some of my favorite Blog Hops & Link Ups.


Sunday 2nd of December 2018

Hi, I am new to raising chickens we picked up 12 in September, my biddies, lol, they are that already, my young girls are 3 months old today, they are orphintons and they look pretty large already, the question I have is it when do chickens start laying their first eggs after winter? Also for future reference when is the best time of year to purchase new chick's? Thank you for your informative blog.


Sunday 2nd of December 2018

Great questions! Chickens need approximately 16 hours of daylight (not in a single day) to produce eggs. So once they’ve matured enough, Orpington’s at about 26 weeks, you can expect them to start laying. You may have some this winter but they won’t be everyday until spring when days are longer. Also I think early spring, March-ish, is a good time!

Danielle Faust

Monday 23rd of October 2017

I've considered doing this before, but I may have to think more seriously about it again. It's not fun running out of eggs!

Skip The Bag

Saturday 4th of March 2017

Neat trick! Our chicks slowed way down this winter, but they still produced some. We may inadvertently test because I think we are going to get some new chicks again this year. Thanks for sharing on Waste Less Wednesday Blog Hop!

Mixed Bag Mama

Wednesday 22nd of February 2017

It may be coincidence, but we started getting a lot more eggs once we started making sure the girls were getting enough protein after we switched our feed. We went from none or 1 a day to 5 or more! But, it was around the time everyone else seems to be saying their girls started laying again, so who knows! Maybe it's a bit of both! Stopping by from the Homestead Hop.


Wednesday 22nd of February 2017

That is something that I cover in Helping Your Chickens Through Fall Molting! I definitely see a difference with increased protein!