Turning on the light in the chicken coop

Fall chickens

Last year, we
put a light in the chicken coop
in October in an effort to
get our pullets laying.  We were rewarded with eggs all winter —
something I’d taken for granted with our
Golden Comets, but which seems to be less
of a norm with heirloom breeds.

Egg production drops in the fallThis
year, the majority of our flock is a year and a half old, so we didn’t
have to worry about pullets waiting until spring to lay.  And yet,
production began to decline dramatically as soon as the calendar rolled
over to September and day length dropped below 13 hours.

You’d think that four
eggs a day would be plenty for two people.  But as our pasturing
system provides the flock more wild food and the eggs get tastier and
brighter, we want more and more of them.  Four is now the bare
minimum since Mark and I each enjoy two eggs scrambled up for
breakfast.  If we want a
, we need a few
more eggs!

Light in chicken coop

Heirloom chickensSo Mark ran an extension cord
back out to the coop and hooked up the timer and light to artificially
extend the day length back to summer levels.  I’ll try to remember
to report back and let you know if our girls pick up the pace.  I
hope they do — otherwise, Mark wants to hunt down a few more layers
to ensure his winters are full of butternut pies.

Our DIY chicken waterer
complete instructions for building a heated waterer for easy winter

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