Joe Abbott's Weblog

Letters home to mom

Egg Production and Weather

Posted by joeabbott on January 15, 2011

We got chickens in the “late winter” of last year, 2010. “Late winter” is in quotes because, when the temperature is around mid-40s, it’s hard to think: “winter”. At least for this Minnesota Boy!

Anyhow, chickens-late winter.

On the first day we got them home, we got an egg. It was an auspicious omen and over the next 308 days, we received 544 eggs. Not bad for a 3-month feed cost of around $20. And that’s getting the fancy “organic” stuff. Nothing too good for our hens!

But, I had wanted to determine if the weather had anything to do with the egg production. I’d read that “light” had a direct effect and that when it got cold enough, that would start to impact production, but other than the age of the chickens, those seemed like the two factors: light and cold. But, I have a spreadsheet and we were keeping track, so what the heck.

I had the data from the chickens already typed into the spreadsheet … Suzy keeps diligent records on our family calendar and I’d already summed things up in preparation for our Christmas card, so I just needed weather information.

And that proved trickier to get than you would think! I spent a bit of hunting and pecking out at NOAA sites, Seattle news agencies, and other such places … all the time getting stumped. Some web pages seemed to lead me in circles but never delivering the data, some would spoon-feed me a day at a time, some would point to dead links.

It was frustrating because I’d assumed I’d be making 4-5 clicks and pulling down all sorts of data.

I finally stumbled on Seattle Climate Data and was able to pull down, month at a time, weather stats for Seattle. A month at a go isn’t bad, but that is twelve downloads and then some data stitching. If you know of a better repository for weather data, please send me a link!

But, here’s the data. Aside from the early part of the year being much more productive than the late part of the year, I can draw no conclusions between temperature and egg production.

image

Additionally, we can look at precipitation and try to find a correlation … I can’t see one; you?

image

What I do see is that December 12 was one very wet day!

Well, that’s it. I think you know that, as a good engineer, I won’t rest with a single year of data and I’ll keep at this. We know these gals will slow down and are thinking that we’re ready to take on chicks at some point. And now, time for me to go enjoy an omelet!

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