Allotment Gardening Advice Help Chat

Poultry and Pets => The Hen House => Topic started by: joyfull on September 24, 2012, 08:59

Title: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: joyfull on September 24, 2012, 08:59
The nights are drawing in and the mornings are darker which can only mean we have passed the point of equal lengths of night and day. Winter is on it's way and it's getting decidedly chilly. Along with this those of you with pure breed and hybrid chickens over three will soon start to notice a drop in egg production. Your chickens will soon go into a moult and you may find your coops and runs starting to look like your girls have been having a pillow fight.
The lack of light and the loss and regrowth of feathers means that your girls egg production will slow and often stop altogether until late February/early March.

So what can you do to ensure you have eggs over winter?
You could add artificial lighting like the egg producers do to keep the girls laying but personally I prefer to let my girls have a rest.
So now is the time that I start to save my hens eggs.
I bake lots of cakes and quiches and freeze them, and I make Yorkshire puddings and again freeze them (this can be either as fully cooked ones or just as the batter - which takes up less room in the freezer.
I also freeze beaten eggs in batches of 2's and 3's - you can add a little salt or sugar if you wish depending on if you want them for savoury or sweet dishes but I never bother. When thawed they come out like thick custard so I simply beat in some water to get them back to the consistency I want. These can then be used for omelettes, scrambled eggs or for more cakes etc. Frozen eggs will keep for 3 months so make sure you label the containers.
Another thing you can do is pickled eggs which will keep for ages.
In all the years of keeping chickens I haven't had to buy any eggs (except for hatching) so I hope these tips help you to have eggs over winter. If you have any tips please do add them  :)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: GrannieAnnie on September 24, 2012, 09:06
Earlier in the year I did have a glut of eggs, so like you Joy, I baked lots of cakes an stuff for the freezer, and sometimes freeze eggs too.

But since the people up the road have put a sign out on the A52 near us for their so called fresh veg and free range eggs, none of which they grow themselves, we've had so many people coming for eggs that we had to take our sign in from the front of the house.

I still haven't got any eggs for us though as our regularas still call in!   :)

We don't put any lights on in their coop either.  They need their moult and a rest like you said, but I hate the look of disappointment on people's faces when I say I haven't got any eggs left!!
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: andy46 on September 25, 2012, 14:15
Hope this does not sound a daft question but my girls are 29 weeks old will they still lay through winter as they are to young for a moult? i am newish to chooks and still learning chickeny things :)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: joyfull on September 25, 2012, 14:24
if they are laying now and regularly then you should be fine this winter - they may not lay every day but will keep up the production.
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: andy46 on September 25, 2012, 18:53
Yes they lay every day so hopefully they will lay through winter thanks for the reply joyfull :) :)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: wildwitchy on October 06, 2012, 20:55
My new ones are not laying yet - too young/not really prolific egg layers anyway, so no eggs yet. I get the odd customer still call for eggs and they are very dissapointed when I say no eggs. Even though I took the sign down ages ago.

I have got lighting in the coop & did use it on a timer when I had the layers.
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Blobbs on October 11, 2012, 15:14
Hi
We have put a light in the coop in the hope that our hens will continue to lay but production has already dropped to 5 or 6 eggs a day from 8 hens. in the summer we regularly had 7 or 8. My question is how many hours light should they have and is it split between night and morning ?

They were so funny the first night the light was on....they all sat on the roof and we had to post them in one by one !! The next morning most of the eggs were in a clutch on the floor under the light. They are such funny creatures!

My dogs are terrified of them as they have all been zapped by the electric fence so think that hens have superior powers !!  ::)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: ANHBUC on October 11, 2012, 17:46
My dogs are terrified of them as they have all been zapped by the electric fence so think that hens have superior powers !!  ::)

 :lol: :lol: :lol:
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: lizt on October 20, 2012, 16:12
very useful info, i never have considered freezing eggs, but i will now! what a good idea to freeze the beaten egg in small batches.

thank you. x
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: symonep on October 21, 2012, 20:14
Ours havent slowed down yet, we thought they had as we were away for a few days last week and had a neighbour look in on them and she only got 3 eggs a day, the day after we got back it went back to 5 a day and has been since.

Bless them, they must have missed us!

I have never thought of putting a light in their coop but dont think i ever would either, far too tight to pay for extra electricity  :D
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: andy46 on November 05, 2012, 20:50
My two new girls have just started laying last week so hopefully they will keep going and my other two will all so :)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: ANHBUC on November 05, 2012, 20:54
My two new girls have just started laying last week so hopefully they will keep going and my other two will all so :)

What age and breed are they andy46?  I am still waiting for my young Welsummer bantams to start laying.  All my other hens have gone on strike!   ::)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Hen 1-0 Fox on November 05, 2012, 21:57
My girls are less than a year old... No signs of molt and each still laying... Not sure when to expect the winter break of even if they'll have one with it being their first year... Guess time will tell
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: andy46 on November 06, 2012, 20:56
 Anhbuc I have two warrens that i bought in july as pol and are laying everyday(fingers crossed) then i got two more pol in sept which are brown novo gens(look just like warrens)and they have been doing well eversince too, am getting four lovely eggs every day andy46
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: ANHBUC on November 06, 2012, 22:18
Anhbuc I have two warrens that i bought in july as pol and are laying everyday(fingers crossed) then i got two more pol in sept which are brown novo gens(look just like warrens)and they have been doing well eversince too, am getting four lovely eggs every day andy46

I do miss my fresh eggs, I suppose they will be even more of a treat when they start laying again. 
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Mrs Bee on November 08, 2012, 12:46
Thank you for all the tips Joyfull. :)

4 of ours are in a moult poor scraggy looking ladies. :(

Luckily we have three younger girls we bought in the spring so hopefully we will still get a few through the winter.
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Willow_Warren on November 12, 2012, 13:28
Well my chickens have been on strike for the last three weeks.  The old girls (4 and half year old hybrids) stopped laying first followed by the 2 newer columines.  I had to resort to buying eggs this weekend in order to make my Mothers Christmas cake, the yolks were so small and pale...  :(

On the plus side my 3 older girls have all finished moulting and the new feathers have almost finished growing so they are all sporting smart new hair-dos!

Hannah :)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: primrose1 on November 13, 2012, 19:36
I have 22 free range hens most of them are Rode Island Reds they seem to be the best breed for laying lots! I have a daily amount of about 10, we keep some for ourselves and sell the rest to the villagers where we live.  :D
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: joyfull on November 13, 2012, 20:03
laying in winter depends on the age of the birds  :)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Prod on November 16, 2012, 12:03
Wish I had read this when I started keeping Chickens in March!!!!!   I was getting six a day so was keeping half the village in free eggs, even the postman has had some!!!  Now Ive only got one girl, a Bluebell, laying and even thats not every day.  All the others have stopped and the 2 new ones I got in August havent even started!!!  If we have to buy eggs  my OH  will go spare, (yet again- nothing new) about the cost of keeping/feeding them for the return we get.  :blink: :blink: :blink:
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Mrs Bee on November 16, 2012, 13:01
Wish I had read this when I started keeping Chickens in March!!!!!   I was getting six a day so was keeping half the village in free eggs, even the postman has had some!!!  Now Ive only got one girl, a Bluebell, laying and even thats not every day.  All the others have stopped and the 2 new ones I got in August havent even started!!!  If we have to buy eggs  my OH  will go spare, (yet again- nothing new) about the cost of keeping/feeding them for the return we get.  :blink: :blink: :blink:

But OH must realise that you get more than eggs from chickens. You get the entertainment from watching their antics which is priceless.

Perhaps you should be charging for the eggs too. That would go towards their keep.
We have neighbours desperate for our spares and only to hapy to pay for them.  ;)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: steyningness on November 16, 2012, 19:00
Wow, I knew you could freeze egg whites but no idea you could freeze all the egg! My chooks aren't laying yet but I can't wait till they do!  Keep the tips coming.
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: ladyrose on December 03, 2012, 20:11
I have four hens and all laying fine mind you i do have a street lamp right next to the house   :)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: andy46 on December 03, 2012, 21:23
I am still getting 4 eggs a day from my 4 girls they realy are superstar layers ;)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: joyfull on December 03, 2012, 21:25
a lot depends on their age and breed  :)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Abacus on December 08, 2012, 20:09
A couple of weeks ago we had to actually buys eggs for the first time in about three years. Fortunately that situation didn't last long.

One sure sign of winter round here is that our chooks, who are normally spread out between two coops (and even camping out in the covered run), all congregate in the one coop till the weather improves. When I open it in the morning the smell grabs you by the throat!
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: upert on January 28, 2013, 20:09
I've noticed that my chickens - of all ages and descriptions, only seem to slow their winter laying in February then perk up again in Spring. At the moment I'm getting five eggs a day from my five hens and three eggs a day from my four ducks. I don't include my three eldest hens as they are in retirement.
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: sussexchook on January 28, 2013, 21:56
i have 6 hens a light sussex, buff orpington, three morans and what i think is a black rock.
through this winter my ladys haave been kind to me as im getting eggs every day from 1 to 5 depends on how they are feeling i gues im lucky realy
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: devonbarmygardener on February 07, 2013, 00:03
We've got 11 mixed hybrid birds and we're still getting between 5 and 9 eggs a day. They're almost 12 months old now.

They are all looking a bit scruffy though - is the moult at this time of year then???
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: joyfull on February 07, 2013, 08:54
they are still laying because they are hybrids and less than 2 years old, however they will probably be going through a partial moult. Next winter you may still get some eggs but the following winter you may see their egg production drop significantly.
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: GrannieAnnie on February 07, 2013, 11:03
Most of the winter we got 4-6 eggs from 22 girls, but now they are up to 12-16, not bad considering 8 are 18 months old and the rest are nearly 3 years old.   :)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: fishermanphill on February 21, 2013, 20:48
hi all im new to the site.
we have hybrids chickens coming up to 2 years.
we have only had a few days without 6 eggs from our six girls some days 4 eggs other 5  even though they did a moult stopped then as the cold weather arrived decided to finish it hee.
ive found that in winter if you give them cod liver oil for vitamin d and home made yogurt for calcium the eggs keep coming.
also all year round they get chilly powder and fresh garlic in the food for worms and mites.
o ye and when its been a good catch they get some fish too.

spring won't be long now folks.

phill
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Willow_Warren on February 22, 2013, 10:39
Well my two newer girls (just over 18 months old) are laying 4-5 eggs a week each.  But the older 2 (who will be 5 in the spring) layed a few at the beginning of January but have not given up again!  I guess they really are in their retirement years...

Hannah :)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: pink aubergine on February 27, 2013, 03:50
We feed  warm mash all winter with cooked veg peelings in all winter and they lay for the majority of the time, just a few less eggs. (And yes I know the warnings from Defra)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Springlands on February 27, 2013, 10:00
We feed  warm mash all winter with cooked veg peelings in all winter and they lay for the majority of the time, just a few less eggs. (And yes I know the warnings from Defra)

Hi Pink Aubergine - it is not a warning from DEFRA it is actually a prohibition as confirmed by Joyfull - please see link below.

http://chat.allotment-garden.org/index.php?topic=100729.0
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Springlands on February 27, 2013, 10:03
We have nine chooks and are currently getting about a dozen eggs per week - and very nice they are too. Our lady duck just came back into lay yesterday and we have had two eggs from her so far - I have a friend who will be pleased to hear this as she loves our duck eggs - I find them too strong.
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Sparkyrog on February 27, 2013, 10:05
I love them boiled ! but having said that you can't get better eggs for baking  :)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: devonbarmygardener on February 27, 2013, 21:23
I love duck eggs.

We're not allowed ducks on the lottie - apparently  ::) they're livestock ???

Quite what 11 hens are....  ::) :D
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Sparkyrog on February 27, 2013, 21:26
its probably to do with the fact that ducks flock and can be driven like geese .
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Eileen M on February 28, 2013, 21:38
We've found the same as you fishermanphill. We have hybrids and our eggs supply dropped very slightly for a couple of weeks, a few tail feathers were lost, then back to full supply again. 
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Charlie40 on March 25, 2013, 17:47
My hens (not hybrids) began to moult this January of all times of the year. I rang Allen & Page nutrition department  and they said not to worry as they had reports from several people that his was happening to their hens too.
Awful weather to moult.
Now at the end of March they are feathered and combs reddening up. So hopefully when the clocks change I might get some of my lovely tasting eggs.

Anyone else had my problem? 
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: joyfull on March 26, 2013, 15:09
practically all adult hens will moult either partially or fully over winter - this is something to do with their genetics and all being descendants of jungle fowl. Moulting takes a lot out of them but the longer daylight hours will help them get back into laying again  :)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Badman Farmer on April 25, 2013, 09:16
I have lots of eggs.
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: devonbarmygardener on April 25, 2013, 13:39
Mine must be happy with the warmer weather - got 13 eggs from 11 hens last Friday! ???

Methinks someone didn't come and see them the day before *tut tut* :mad:
Still a bonus for me! :D
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Fiddler on December 14, 2013, 12:29
I have eight hens - three of which are ex-battery hens.  I am getting 2 or 3 eggs a day but I think these are from my two sussex and a grey.   My problem is this I have two Columbines who used to lay every day - but haven't laid a single egg since beginning of October - I know this because both lay blue/green eggs.  They have been wormed, the hen house has been sprayed for red mite - and they are getting tonic in their drinking water - is it normal for these hens not to lay at all for 3 months ?
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Springlands on December 14, 2013, 12:53
Hi Fiddler - that is quite normal for this time of year. I have 11 hens and at present am just getting the odd egg from one of my Sussex hens. Once the days start to get longer you will find that the hens start to lay again. Mine started mid February this year.  :)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: andy46 on December 16, 2013, 19:55
I am still getting 4 from 4 girls and they have started to moult aswell so am well pleased  ;) ;)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Willow_Warren on January 14, 2014, 13:02
I have now had 5 eggs from 4 chickens in the last week and a half!

3 from my speckled lady hybrid who is 5.5 years old!  and 2 from my Columbine who is 2.5 years old (she lays cream coloured eggs not green or blue though)!

My 3 pekins aren't even contemplating laying eggs just yet...

Hannah :)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Mrs Bee on January 14, 2014, 20:12
We are getting between 7 and 9 a day from our 10 girls.
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: joyfull on January 15, 2014, 08:58
how old are they and what breed?
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Willow_Warren on January 17, 2014, 13:35
Flornce my other columbine has joined in the egg laying game so I've now had 2 blue eggs  :D

Hannah :)
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: grinling on January 17, 2014, 13:41
pekin started today...so after 10 eggs will be broody!!!
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: barley on January 17, 2014, 20:14
A few of my girls are coming back into lay again now - spring can't be far away  :D
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Mrs Bee on January 18, 2014, 09:49
how old are they and what breed?

Black rocks, Bovans white, goldline, Coral reef and one cream leg bar who isn't laying but that is normal for her breed.

As to age we have three about 5 months and the others are a couple of years old.
Title: Re: Winter and Eggs (or lack of)
Post by: Beekissed on February 24, 2015, 03:58
That would be a contributing factor, for sure.   ;)