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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Is there anything in the literature, in common knowledge, folk or "wives tales", about extra hours of lighting leading to hens "burning out", living a shorter life, experiencing any health issues, etc.?

We have a timer setup to lengthen the hours of light for our hens. They respond with increased egg laying, as expected. But a number of our now 3 1/2 year olds have died from a seemingly wasting kind of condition. One bird at a time will begin to look lethargic, lose her breast muscle, develop a swollen abdomen, eventually stop eating and die. We haven't come to a conclusion as to the reasons for this. Our feed store simply says the girls are getting old. My experience tells me hens should live longer than 2 or 3 years.

This is the first time that I've used artificial lighting to boost egg production. Might I be burning them out encouraging them to lay all those eggs?

Thanks for your inputs.
 

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I do not know of any literature but it makes sense to me. They only have so much to give already. When you increase the rates they will burn out sooner. I plan on putting lights up, but only because I plan on culling at 2 years. Having a recirculating cycle of fresh layers and decent meat levels.
 

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Yes, just don't ask me to find it again. There was a study done a few years ago about the effect extended days has on laying hens by a university. The conclusion was the hens subjected to the longer days were more subject to reproductive cancers. They established that the off time was the time the hens regenerated for the next laying season. The hens not given that break were more apt to decline more quickly.
 

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Discussion Starter · #4 ·
thanks

Powderhogg and Robin
Thanks for your considered replies. I will search for the university study that Robin mentions. I'm loathe to consider that our years of adding to the normal day length has possibly led to the death of several of our girls.

Our hens provide us with lots of eggs; they're primarily pets and entertainment, however. 2 of the youngest golden comets, a barred rock, an Araucana jump into a vehicle the minute a door is opened. Naturally, they want to come in the house at every opportunity. My favorite, a brown leghorn, laid her very first egg on the floor under my night table. We had been leaving the garage door partly open so the cats could come in and out. Jeanie figured that one our right away. How she chose my side of the bed, I'll never know.

There's never a dull moment if you've got some friendly hens around.
 

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"There's never a dull moment if you've got some friendly hens around." Ditto that.

Its been years since I read it but Mississippi U seems to do a lot of those studies. But it could have been something I read from Great Britain too. I'll see if I can come up with it when I'm not doing much.
 
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