Why Aren’t Chickens Laying Many Eggs This Time of Year?

Why Aren’t Chickens Laying Many Eggs This Time of Year?

  • posted on: December 26, 2013
  • posted by: 21 Acres
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Chicken Stocking Eggs in the Farm Market

Eggs are one of the most popular products from the 21 Acres Market and we often have a challenge keeping enough eggs in stock during the shortest days of the year.  Meghan Tenhoff not only works in our Farm Market but she is also the Seattle Chicken Sitter and shares her expertise in egg production and explains the seasonal shortage:

As the autumn light continues to fade the nights grow longer and colder all manner of life seems to slow.  Chickens are no exception. Hens raised in backyard flocks and on small farms in humane conditions slow and can all together stop egg production in the winter.  The typical production breed, egg-laying hen needs about 12 hours of light to stimulate enough hormones to lay one egg.  Even as the winter solstice has just passed, our days are still very short.  Another factor in reduced production is age.  The first two years of a hen’s life are the most egg productive. After that they slow and may only lay an egg every now and then even during the longest days of summer. Finally, from an evolutionary stand point, this lapse in laying gives the chicken body time to rest during the leanest foraging season.  

— Meghan Tenhoff, 21 Acres Market, also The Seattle Chicken Sitter