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Do Chickens Lay Eggs in the Winter?

As the days get colder have you noticed a decrease in egg production? It’s very common for chickens to stop laying eggs during the winter. But it’s not really from the cold weather like many assume.

So in this article, I will be going over the real reason why chickens stop laying during the winter, a few of my favorite breeds that continue to lay throughout winter, and a tip for helping your chickens lay more consistently all winter long. 

Hen in the snow

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If you depend on your chickens for eggs I completely understand how hard it can be when their production slows down. But knowing why and learning about a few things that help egg production should help you feel better.

If you’d like to watch my YouTube video I cover everything you need to know or you can continue reading through the article.

Do Chickens Lay Eggs in Winter

Why Chickens Stop Laying During Winter

Many people think that chickens stop laying because of the cold weather but it’s really from a lack of light.

Chickens need 14-16 hours of light per day to lay eggs. But as fall and winter arrive the days are much shorter which causes a stop or decrease in egg production.

The other thing that factors in during this time of year is molting season. Most chickens go through an annual molt during fall which tends to kick off the decrease in egg production.

Then the days continue to get shorter and many hens won’t pick back up their egg production until the days get longer.

But there are some exceptions to this covered in the next section.

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Breeds That Continue Laying Throughout Winter

There are some chicken breeds that are known for being more consistent layers even throughout the winter.

A few of these breeds include,

  • Whiting true green
  • Wyandottes
  • Orpingtons
  • Rhode Island Reds
  • Red Star

These are all breeds I’ve had in my flock over the years and so if you’re looking into raising chickens for eggs, keeping a few of these breeds is a great idea.

Another thing that contributes to continued egg production throughout the winter is young hens.

Chickens do not molt in their first year and so you typically will not see any change in egg production during their first year either.

This is one of the main reasons why I always try to keep young hens in my flock. It’s really nice to always have a few young, good layers.

Hens in the chicken coop

How to Help Chickens Lay Eggs in Winter

But now you’re likely wondering if there is a way to keep chickens laying if all of the other conditions are not met and the answer is, yes.

Even though chickens naturally stop laying as the days get shorter, you can help keep egg production more consistent by adding a light to your chicken coop.

This is completely optional but if you’d like to learn more, I have an article here that explains everything in detail.

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Summary of Winter Egg Laying

As the days get shorter and hens no longer get 14-16 hours of light per day most hens will stop laying or have a decrease in egg production.

The exception to this is if hens are young, typically no older than 18 months.

There are also breeds that are known for being more consistent layers throughout the winter including but not limited to,

  • Whiting true green
  • Wyandottes
  • Orpingtons
  • Rhode Island Reds
  • Red Star

And if you’d like to keep your hens laying through the winter you can add a light into your chicken coop to give them the additional hours of light they need to continue laying eggs.

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Chicken eggs in the snow

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