Chicken Math

Do you know what chicken math is? I wasn’t sure at first, either. How can one kind of math be different than another?

So I went to the trusty thing known at the internet, and it explained it to me: Chicken math is just the natural order of how many chickens a person may originally want, and how many they end up with. What looks like 2 chickens may turn out to be 1, 0, or 15.

Sometimes it’s a disease and sometimes it’s nature. You decide:

I’ve been thinking about owning chickens for a long time. When I was a kid, my Dad “let” me get some chicks when we were visiting my Granny–that way, the six chicks I got could stay on her farm. Well, one of those died the very next day. So that was when I first learned that 6 chicks = 5.

Fast-forward to early this January when I realized that it was entirely possible to have a few egg-laying chickens on our acre. So there we were, planning for 4 hens. But we would have to buy 6 if we wanted hens, since we were buying straight-run.

That’s when I started looking at local farms/breeders. Then I got to thinking and doing some math on the eggs. There’s only two of us, but MAN we can go through eggs! Some weeks we eat maybe five. Most weeks we’ll eat at least fifteen. More if I make weekend breakfast and cookies and sauces. So we’re talking about one dozen eggs per person on average (some weeks more, some weeks less). For the laying rate of the breeds I could find and wanted, 4 birds just wasn’t going to cut it. Somewhere around this time, I decided we would jump from 4 to 8.

That was when my boyfriend decided we would definitely want to sell eggs. We both have coworkers (and neighbors) who are all set to start buying our eggs already. So we decided, OK. 12 hens was what we wanted. And built a coop that could hold 16–just in case.

I put in my order at the local breeder. Remember, I learned early that 6 chicks = 5 chickens. And we were buying straight-run, so 6 really meant 2 or 3 hens. Using this math, I bought 22 chicks.

Early March, our chicks were born. Yay!

We showed up at the farm and somehow our 22-chick order turned into 24…. Hey, I’m not complaining! Free chicks! Besides, I figured at least 2 or 3 would die before the day was over. (We actually left the house for 3 hours for beekeeping class, and I forced my boyfriend to check the box when we got home because I was certain we would come home to a box of dead chickens. I have an over-active imagination.)

But before we left, our breeder said, “Go ahead! Pick out two more!”

TWO MORE CHICKS?! Well, I’m not turning THOSE down! Especially since it ended up being another Ameraucana and a Delaware! So we went home with 26 chicks.

You’d think my chicken math attack would stop there, and I did very well (especially given our weekly trips to TSC/Southern States), until I saw someone local selling Olive Eggers….

I picked up five of those last weekend

So as you see, chicken math has happened. 4 chicks can easily turn into 31. I’m already counting what I think are the roosters, so that number will be declining.

Here’s my guesses, for the record:

  • 2/6 Anconas are hens
  • 4/7 Delawares are hens
  • 4/7 Ameraucanas are hens
  • 6/6 Welsummers are hens
  • 5/5 Olive Eggers are hens
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