Can someone explain "Chicken Math" to me?


In the Brooder
8 Years
Dec 8, 2011
Finger Lakes / Central NY
I'm sorry if this is a dumb question, but as I've been reading & exploring the forum (and many wonderful posts) I keep finding references to "Chicken Math"...but no clear definition of what exactly it is/means. I've inferred that it means there's an under/over estimation of the amount of (something) but I'm not sure how it relates.

I'm pretty crummy at math in general (I'd be lost without a calculator!) but since I'm in the process of learning about keeping chickens (and my DH expects me to know _everything_ as in If I say we're getting 4 chickens and it should take ___amount of food/bedding etc I need to be sure I'm getting the numbers right!)

Err, anyway, thanks in advance!
An example! I have four hens and have room for 10. in the brooder I have 8 chicks but they aren't really chickens their chicks so I still need 6 more chickens to reach ten chickens . It's a complicated formula that will alow 15-20 chickens to add uo to 10. You'll get the hang of it I'm sure.
Chicken Math is just a general term for finding ways to add a few more birds to your flock. For example, say you have five hens, and they are very happy, yet you feel they could use some company and look for a rooster. Chicken Math. Now let's say your rooster comes with a free hen as well! More Chicken Math. Gee, if you have a rooster, it'd be a shame not to have chicks...

and so on.
It means you can never have enough chickens. It means make you coop much larger then you need right now cause you will want more. For example if you get chicks and 1 is a boy that you cant keep you will need at least 4 more chicks to replace that 1.
It is a way to get around our spouses the need to have more.Example: I bought 6 chicks 5 were boys that I had to rehome 4 so to make up for the 4 I ordered 10 9 died in tranist so I had to get 12 more and 1 q.was a roo so I had to get 6 more then started to hatch and when that starts you always get boys so you HAVE to keep all of the girls.Seems complicated? no just a way to feed our addiction
Wow, thanks folks!

Thanks for that--I did search but I guess I was looking int he wrong spot!

Ah ha! Yes, that does explain it really, really well. It's about enabling your chicken addiction!

Hehe, ok it sounds like I'm going to have to be very careful with the Chicken Math!
I already find myself thinking: "well, 4 chickens aren't really that much more than 3....and what if we end up with a rooster....we might get chicks...which....well, we'd probably have to keep.... etc." plus I've always been on the mindset of making things "with room to grow" so I'm sure our coop will end up begging for more chickens!
oh dear! I'd better be on my guard against the Chicken Math!
Hubby and I agreed on four chickens. I went to a local guy that hatches out chicks to get four Silver Laced Wyandotte chicks. While there, I noticed a second pen full of baby chicks, they happened to be Easter Egger chicks. So we came home with four of those too.

A few weeks later I realized at least one of those chicks was a boy. So I went to get two Buff Orpington chicks that were sexed female at hatch. When I got there, I was told there were only three chicks left, one was a boy. I couldn't leave him by himself, so I took all three chickens.

Now, back to my original four SLW...... three of them are looking pretty roo-ish to me. So I went and got seven more Buff Orps that were hatched the same day as the three I had bought a few days prior. My four chicks have turned into eighteen chicks. But I swear to my DH we only have THREE chicks.. SLW, EE and BO.

That leaves me still able to get one more chick to bring me up to the four we agreed upon!
We cannot teach Chicken Math, young Padawan.

It must be learned.

This is correct.

Bantams lay smaller eggs so must not be counted as a whole chicken.

A full-grown Rhode Island Red can occasionally count as much as 1 chicken, although I have never spoken to anyone who used whole numbers (or even real numbers) in Chicken Math.

You have succeeded in mastering Chicken Math, when your spouse who graciously but grudgingly allowed you TWO chickens now refers to them as "all those chickens".

If you can build a modular coop system so the new coops could be seamlessly added to the old one like Legos, you would make billions. You take off the far wall, add on the new coop part and put the old end wall, on the new addition. The coop slowly gets longer and longer. I would go so far as to sell a device that will dig up the grass that used to grow up around the far end of where the coop used to end, so you could replant it to make the new section look seamlessly like the old section.

In the instructions I would put helpful hints like:

When she says "Is the coop larger than it used to be?"

You say "I don't know what you are talking about. It's the chicken coop."

When she shouts over the deafening racket of chickens "HOW MANY CHICKENS ARE THERE?!?!"

You say "THREE!" Because you do not count chickens that are for sale in the number of chickens you "have".

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