Wondering why your hens are slowing down on their laying? It's that time of year. As the days get shorter, less light is registered in the hens' eyes, which is sent to part of the chicken's brain called the pineal gland. When daylight diminishes, so does egg production. If you want to counteract this, you can use a regular light bulb (not a heat lamp) in your chicken coop to keep your chickens laying all year round. However, this is somewhat controversial among chicken keepers, as it does put hens under a bit of stress. They're not meant to lay all year round, so subverting their natural slowdown time isn't ideal for them.
If you decide to shed light on them? Sixteen hours of light each day, supplemented by a 60-watt incandescent light bulb or two on a timer, is ideal for keeping birds active - and laying eggs. Learn more, and read about getting your coop ready for the winter weather that's around the corner while you're at it.