It is the only completely safe topic that someone can talk about at a party, isn’t it? Maybe not, after this past week in Western Massachusetts.
It was a wild week — complete with a microburst that may turn out to be a real tornado touching down in Sunderland and Whately (not far from us) which negatively affected a number of farms in the valley. There were thousands of electric customers without power, tobacco barns destroyed, crops flattened, not to mention the number of OLD beautiful hardwood trees that lost limbs and life.
In Shelburne we experienced an abundance of wind, lightening, thunder and rain. The weather week was riddled with rain and overcast skies. Personally, I have always quite enjoyed wet and foggy weather — I actually prefer the wet weather to sunny hot and humid conditions. The farmer in me should not prefer the wet weather, though, I learned… and not just because it is terrible for farms trying to make hay (that we’ll need to buy!).
Egg production this past week was abysmal. It was completely embarrassing — so many chickens, so few eggs. I am blaming it on the weather. After some research, I think that I can honestly say it WAS the weather.
For example, here is what our weather was served up — Monday the 21st through Friday the 25th:
- 21: rain & thunderstorms
- 22: rain
- 23: fog & rain
- 24: rain & thunderstorms
- 25: sunny
What does the weather have to do with our chickens? They layed about a third the number of eggs last week that they normally lay. It was entirely due to the weather. Yesterday they layed more than 21 eggs in total — a bounce-back of about 50% compared to the numbers that they layed earlier in the week.
- But the weather wasn’t our only problem last week! Oh yes, there was more…
We were not able to fulfill our delivery of eggs to McCusker’s Market this week because we lost everything that was in the egg refrigerator, due to freezing. We have two fridges for egg storage during the week, and the fridge that we were collecting eggs in to take to the market apparently just freaked out and cycled too cold for a period of time, and froze our eggs. We had dozens of frozen, cracked eggs. It was heartbreaking. The phone call explaining that we couldn’t bring eggs to the market was a call that I hated to make.