Unlike a lot of people who raise chickens, I like to let my birds rest.
The average chicken lays an egg every other day. As the day shortens, it's their cue to store their energy and quit laying for the year. It's not a hardship for me because I usually have enough stored eggs to sustain me through the winter. The only people who suffer are those who have come to depend on my eggs.
Some of my super producers are still giving me an egg every so often, but most of them have quit. I suppose if my livelihood depended on selling eggs I might consider leaving the light on longer in their coop, but I feel they've done their part.
I don't get rid of my birds yearly like commercial producers, so I like to give them a break and let them recuperate from their hard work.
If necessary, I might start leaving the light on for an extra hour in February to get them re-motivated. It all depends on when my super producers decide to get back into action. I always allow them to go into molt (where they get all scruffy-looking) and let them get their new coat of feathers before I ask anything more from them.
I feel I should do something to celebrate the end of the Mayan calendar, seeing as how they're kind of related to me--on my father's side. My mother's family came from Spain and France.
Do you plan on celebrating the apocalypse this year? I'm going to be alone again that week, so I'm available for warrior dancing and strong drink.
Update: A more complete explanation for storing eggs is up at Back to Basics. Thanks to Marlene Dotterer and Mike Keyton for their questions.