Have the chickens taken over your farm? Because I know they have on mine. Chicken math is a legit phenomenon that every single chicken owner deals with. It starts out as a couple of chickens and ends with an unknown number of chickens and you answering, “I have no idea how many chickens I have.” That’s Chicken Math.
Dealing With Chicken Math
Once you get “bitten” by the chicken bug, you are going to end up with a million chickens. While that may seem like an exaggeration, it’s really not.
How You Become A Victim Of Chicken Math
It’s actually pretty simple to fall victim to chicken math. It starts with your first box of chickens. You’ve gone to Tractor Supply or ordered them online (Ps: We use McMurray Hatchery and LOVE them). You brood them inside and fall in love with them.
Then you have some die on you, or maybe all but one. Then you decide that you need a few more to meet your egg needs. So you order another box of chickens.
Then you realize that you can get different colored eggs! You want the blue, green or pink eggs. Or better yet, you decide that you are going to get the Copper Marans that lay deep chocolate colored eggs.
You go to Tractor Supply to get feed and see that they have chicks and you decide you HAVE to have them. Only to realize that 60% of them are all roosters.
Or, in my case, you decide to start incubating eggs and end up with 20 chicks. Then your kids re-set up the up the incubator while you’re at work…. now you’ve got 40 chicks.
You do a quick head count and realize you have 100 chickens.
Justifying Chicken Math
After doing your head count, you’ll say NO MORE! I’m drowning in eggs! You’ve water glassed a million eggs, you’ve got a bunch in the freezer and you are SO OVER eggs of all kinds. You’ve Googled and Pinterest-ed ALL of the egg recipes.
So you think , “I’ll just sell the eggs!” And after selling a couple dozen to friends and family, you think, “I need more eggs to keep up with this!”
You know it can take up to 8 months to get those first eggs so you go ahead and purchase more chicks….
Now You’re A Victim Of Chicken Math
You’re feed bill is now several hundred dollars a month and you’re trying to figure out exactly how that happened. You start to figure out how to reduce your feed bill because you’ve got a ton of people that buy eggs from you!
But your girls aren’t laying in the winter and now, you have to feed these girls through winter with no income from the eggs. You’ve got to start looking for ways to trim the budget because this is ridiculous.
You don’t produce enough kitchen scraps to feed them so you start a collection bucket at work or the local potluck.
Now We Can Deal With Righting The Ship
If any of this sounds familiar, or you are just looking into chickens, keep reading. I can help you right the ship and become a chicken math survivor!
How Many Chickens Do You Need
So the obvious answer is don’t get more chickens than you need. But the reality is that isn’t going to happen, or didn’t happen. Every chicken owner KNOWS that we don’t need this many chickens. But we still buy chickens every spring because….insanity.
When you make the decision that you are going to get chickens, you need to be prepared for the reality that you will end up with more than you need. The goal is to keep that number manageable.
If you are an avid egg eater, and consume 2 eggs per day, you should have 3 chickens. If you’re entire family is an avid egg eater, you should have 3 chickens per person.
If you are just starting in your homestead journey, I have the deal for you! In The Homestead Bundle you will receive our Hay Calculator, Profit Calculator, Digital and Printable Garden Journal, The Backyard Homestead eBook, the Simple Budget, Schedule F worksheet, and Herd Health Sheets. That’s a $99 value for $47!
If you only eat a couple eggs a week, I wouldn’t even get chickens. I would find someone local and support their chicken habit. The reason is the cost of keeping chickens is so high that it’s not worth it. Because those eggs are not free. While you may think that keeping chickens is a must for a homestead, it’s really not.
What To Do With Your Current Chickens
Really, we only need 12 chickens. That’s it. We currently have approximately 40 chickens and 12 ducks. We will be culling the older hens because they just aren’t laying much anymore. We also plan on selling a bunch of them. Again, we really don’t need that many chickens and they have caused more headache over the years than I really want.
If you have too many chickens, I would recommend really looking at your flock. If you have some that aren’t laying, and haven’t been laying, I would go ahead and put them in the freezer. If you have no need for roosters, make sure to get them in the freezer too.
Just remember that chickens don’t usually lay eggs in the winter! There was a huge hype a couple years ago about chickens not laying in winter and I wanted to scream, “They’re NOT SUPPOSED TO!” But I kept my cool and minded my own business.
Do Those Chickens Serve YOUR Purpose
I know that this sounds harsh and maybe a little cruel, but you have to really think about where your money is going and if you are okay with that. Sometimes that means culling animals.
My chickens are not pets. They have one purpose….Okay, they have several but at the end of the day, their purpose is to give us food. That could be in the form of eggs or meat. If they aren’t doing that, they have to go.
If you got chickens for eggs, and they aren’t laying eggs, you need to figure out if you want to spend the money on feed, shelter and other supplies on a chicken not pulling her weight. If you’re okay with that? Then by all means.
I talked in depth about putting chickens to work on your homestead here. If you’ve got a few favorites that are going to live their life on your farm, look at putting them to work. I’ve got a couple that I do actually like, and they will live their life out on our farm. Mostly, because they won’t make good stew hens either.
Chickens are a lot of work
I will never tell you, at least seriously, that you HAVE to do something. There are things that you SHOULD do, but at the end of the day, it’s your farm, your kitchen, your rules. But livestock (chickens, ducks, goats, cows, etc) are all a lot of work. There’s fencing, shelter, feed, buckets, waterers, medications, and more.
I’m not saying that I would never have chickens again. But dollar for dollar and work hour per work hour, they are absolutely not worth it FOR OUR FARM. So surviving chicken math isn’t too hard for us.
How do you survive chicken math?
If you like this post, feel free to share it and follow us below on our social media accounts!