Turn Out The Lights
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.
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!
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