July 1st, 2017
I get teased a lot at work about my chickens. Sure, I bring it on myself as I talk a lot about my chickens, but still, I get teased all the time. But I take it all in stride. I just let it roll off of me like, um, water off a hens feathers. Yeah, just like that.
But last week I was griping about low egg laying and I let it slip that I keep track of eggs per day per breed. I have three breeds now, 6 Red Sex Links, 5 Speckled Sussex, and 2 Welsummers. I lost a Sex Link last fall and a Welsummer this spring to unknown sources. There are all form of predators around. I have personally seen fox, coyote, hawk, skunk, and at least raccoon prints. We also have fisher, as well as other small predators.
So my nurses said that I should graph egg production by breed and present this to my chickens in a motivational talk. They were, of course, joking, but they have no idea how much of a data geek I am. So here, dear readers, are the numbers for June:
I realize that interested readers will immediately see some things that bear explanation.
First, the graph doesn’t include the first few days of the month as I was on vacation in Idaho and Young Master Max, teen son of one of my nurses, was chicken sitting. I neglected to ask him to keep track of eggs. Also, much to my consternation, one of my Welsummers went broody in early May and stopped laying. Completely unacceptable. I finally broke her broodiness mid-June (no need to send the hit squad, PETA, this involved no corporal punishment, forced marches, or time in the “cooler”) and Welsummer production improved.
Still, as can clearly be seen, Welsummers are far below the average of the other two breeds and, really, it’s the RSLs who are keeping production up.
I have scheduled a mandatory all-hands meeting for tomorrow where I will present these numbers and increased production targets for July. I have promised refreshments (a couple handfuls of scratch grains and maybe some mealworms) to soften the news and encourage full attendance. I expect the mood to be somber.
Lastly, in a cruel coincidence, the same week one of my patients told me of losing 80% of her sixty hens in 5 weeks to a fox, I get a nice calendar in the mail from the Nature Conservancy and this is on the cover:
So, so wrong.