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Jan 25, 2009

Winter Eggs

Chickens lay eggs during the summer without a problem. It is not the warm sunshine, it is just the sunshine. During the summer chickens get over 14 hours of sunlight a day. We heard about this last winter. Our chickens stopped laying eggs as winter set in, but we kept their house a comfortable 65 degrees with a thermostatically controlled heater.

After we found out that they might lay eggs even during the winter with enough sunlight, we turned on their light at 5 am until the sun came out and after dusk, we turned it on again until 7pm. It only took one day of this to get eggs again.

Chickens also stop laying eggs if they get frightened over something. We experienced this one day when a raccoon tried to attack our hens and chicks during the daylight hours. I frightened the raccoon away and we later had to kill him (we've heard raccoons who come out during the daylight hours ((this one came out at noon)) are usually rabid.

Anyway, our chickens stopped laying eggs for over four weeks due to that frightening episode. One even went broody -- the one closest to the raccoon. All the little chicks disappeared after the attack. We could not even find a feather for hours. Then, by accident, I saw one laying under a Hosta plant and broke down bawling. "Larry!" I cried. "There . . ." I said, pointing to the plant. "They're all dead!" I said and stumbled into the house and flopped on the bed and let me heart break.

Larry came into our room, smiling, and holding one chick. "They were pretending to be dead. They are all alive and well." It was and always will be for me, a perfect miracle.

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Thank you for your comment. Susan.