This past spring we bought 8 Americauns pullets to raise for eggs, but after 2 turned out to be roosters and a raccoon got in and killed 4 pullets, we decided to re-home the other 2 girls and try again. In August we purchased 10 golden comets. A breed that lacks beauty but makes up for that in personality and egg production. (This breed is the friendliest breed of chicken we have ever had!)
The girls we purchased in August were born around the 4th of July, so we were expecting eggs at the beginning of November, however as Mother Nature's days get shorter, chickens don't produce eggs. A hen needs 14-16 hours of sunshine a day to produce eggs, and where it is possible to supplement light during the winter to force a chicken to produce eggs, but that is not my style.
I leave the egg production up to my chickens and their natural cycle. There is a school of thought that hens actually stay healthier if they are not "pushed" to produce during the winter and even though our chickens are a food source for us and are not our pets, they are a living being and we try very hard to make sure we treat them fairly, with their best interest in mind.
Last week the temperatures got down into the low teen's and single digits, so I started turning the girl's heat lamp on for them just to keep them a bit warmer during those chilly spells. (Before some of you start writing me to tell me heat is not necessary for chickens, I already know that. I just feel like a little heat is a good thing when it gets bitter cold.) Inadvertently, I must have stimulated a few hens into laying their first eggs, because today when I went out these beauties were waiting for me!
Breakfast is served!