CHARLOTTE SHARES A TIP
WHY DO hens naturally lay less or stop laying in the winter? Often people who buy my eggs think that the hens are not laying because it is too cold. I tell them that it has nothing to do with freezing temperatures, but all to do with the light, which plays a vital role in egg production. It affects a small organ behind the eye called the pineal gland. This gland produces melatonin which helps to regulate sleep. When the days are lengthening, the gland sends a hormone through to the ovary which stimulates the hen to start producing eggs. As the days shorten, the gland stops sending this message and thus the ovary takes a break. Therefore it is natural for a hen to go out of lay in the shorter days of autumn and winter and lay again when spring comes. Professional egg farmers overcome this problem by using artificial light and are therefore able to maintain the same amount of light every day (hens need around 14 hours of light to keep laying) which evens out the egg production. For our hens I always think it is right and proper that they have a rest in the winter despite the frustration of no beautiful eggs with deep yellow yolks. Shop bought eggs are not a patch on my own for flavour and colour.