Chicken math, in motion November 2, 2015

I promised myself I wasn’t going to raise chicks this year.  Well, that is not true, actually. I promised myself I wouldn’t raise any more chicks AFTER the adorable box of Easter Egger Bantams I ordered in April this spring.  After them, no more chicks this year.

It is almost NOVEMBER. I don’t need any more chicks.

But then chicken math reared its ugly head, and suddenly I was a victim of chicken math, in motion.

chicken math

Using chicken math, this is a photo of one chick.

What is chicken math? Chicken math is a sickness which happens to chicken keepers, once they have discovered the wonders of chickens, turkeys, ducks, and guineas.

Chicken math defies all you know about math.  Chicken math ruins logic. Chicken math is insidious and can grow like a self-perpetuating virus.

Many of us have experienced it, but once it is over, it seems very distant.  I mean: there is chicken math, which has happened, and we expect will happen again, someday in the future.  Then there is “chicken math, in motion”—which you can feel happening as it happens, but you are helpless to stop it.  Like a slow chickie avalanche slide towards chicken doom.

If you follow our blog, you know Lissa has posted about chicken math before.  I could be wrong, but I think all of us here at My Pet Chicken suffer from it.  I’d have to check my job description, but having chicken math may actually be a requirement to work here.

Even though I have been raising chickens (and ducks and turkeys) for a while, I still find myself occasionally falling prey to the dreaded chicken math.  Just the other day, I found myself sliding down the slippery slope, and ended up with a bunch of chicks I didn’t need.

Or want.

But I do, I want them.  Badly.

Like I said, chicken math is a sickness.

Backstory: I have a turkey hen, who is a wonderful mother, and has raised poults and chicks out for me, many times. Unfortunately she is constantly broody, through the hottest part of the summer.   I would let her be, except it is unhealthy for her to be inactive and she’s a terrible pecker. The kids are afraid to get the eggs when she is broody in the coop.

With good reason!  I tried to get a picture of Miss Ma’am, but this was the best I could do, with her pecking fury:


Yes ma’am, Miss Ma’am!

Miss Ma’am has been broody since May.  She had already raised a batch of poults this year, and was broody again.  Really, I was tired of the hissing, fluffing, and pecking.  I went to my local feed store, and picked up three chicks for her to brood.  She accepted the chicks easily, but when I went to check on her the next evening, Miss Ma’am had bedded down where the chicks could not get to her.  I tried to move her into my “broody cage”, but Ma’am tried to eat me, and I decided the whole venture was a failure.

chicken math


However, I don’t want to waste my time raising out just three chicks. After all, who buys 50 pounds of chick feed for three chicks?  So, OF COURSE I needed to go to the feed store and get a few more.  A few, being seven.  Ten is a nice, round number, right?

But wait!  I had forgotten to take into account the eggs that were due to hatch in the incubator!  The next day, two more chicks popped out, leaving me with 12 chicks in the brooder.

Later that day, a teacher I often donate eggs to called.  She had hatched in class, but the parent who was supposed to take the chicks backed out.  Did I want them?  Sure, why not?  I thought she hatched around six, but nope! The teacher hatched 12 eggs, bringing me up to 24 chicks.

3 chicks =>10 chicks => 12 chicks => 24 chicks total.

Did you see that?  Chicken math, in motion, folks!

Be afraid, be very afraid!

Thankfully, I have space for these chicks, but I know first-hand how quickly chicken math can get out of hand.  Close your brooders! Teach your kids! Warn your friends! Chicken math, in motion, is dangerous indeed!


One Comments

[…] actually remember. When you don’t know how many chickens you have, you are afflicted with Chicken Math. It’s a real thing in the chicken keeping world. In other words, who is really counting how […]

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