How has chicken maths got you??

L1sa

Songster
Jan 25, 2017
432
1,001
211
South Australia
Chicken maths is one weird phenomenon!! And appears at some time or another to have infected us all! So how has it affected you and your flock size? Please share your stories :jumpy

My story:

Started off with just 4 hens, that was plenty for me, didn't want anymore than that... And for a while i was happy with just 4, until one went broody! Allowed her to hatch. Only got one baby that time, but that was okay, got my first rooster. So flock increased to 5.
All stayed the same for a while, he then got quite aggressive with my ladies so he went bye bye, down to 4 again. Next, One of my ladies died so i was down to 3. So straight away bought 2 more pullets because 3 or 4 was no longer enough - back up to 5.

Stayed at 5 for a while, then one of my new girls went broody, so allowed her to hatch, she only hatched 1 chick and obviously that wasnt enough (this is where chicken maths really started to kick in) i went to buy 2 x day old chicks, but when i got there she only had 4 left... So of course I had to buy them all. So flock went up to 10. Unfortunately 1 baby died at a week old, down to 9, and then a week ago i had to euthanise one of my old girls - down to 8. Well, this week another one of my girls is broody, so of course I've got her some fertile eggs to hatch - 6 to be exact!!

So for someone who was absolutely more than happy to have 4 chickens, I've now got 8 with the possibility of increasing that number to 14!!!

Chicken maths!!!
 

chickendreams24

Crowing
5 Years
Jul 30, 2015
3,399
2,553
367
Wisconsin, USA
Started off with ordering 5 buff Orpington pullets. Several years back now.

Before those came in we found alocal guys selling SLW and bought 5 straight run. Went to tractor supply uh oh chick days bought 4 Isa browns, 3 bantams. One bantam died the first night. Back to tractor supply and they let us get just two more.

DH2B decided to buy me hatching eggs and an incubator.

By the time the original 5 chicks got to the store(and then of course there were extras to look at too!) The eggs were ordered and inside of our first year we were up to 33 birds.

We now raise mostly rare heritage breeds and I have a number of chickens that are pets. I call these my lifers and they will live their lives out naturally unless it becomes inhumane to allow them to live. Unfortunately we've sturggled with predators.

Our flock nearly broke 200 this year. However our spare cockerals and roosters are processed for the freezer. Due to cars, processing, and predators mostly our flock is around 150 right now. It will be down to 100-120 for winter. Less would be great but in Wisconsin time is short in the fall.

These numbers include coturnix quail (down to 5 now), 8 heritage turkeys added this year(that will go up one number and then down either later in the year yet or maybe next spring-depending on when our young ones are sexable with certainty). It also included 4 guinea fowl but we lost all of them this year. 2 to cars and one prolapsed the last one seemed to just give up and die before we could get it some friends. The rest of the number is made up of chickens including our first purpose bred meat birds 9 red rangers(it was ten but one commit chickencide).

They will be due for processing in a week or two.

So the worst part of chicken math. Two of my pet bantam hens have gone missing in the last two weeks we believe from hawks. I'm down to one hen of that breed(Old English Game Bantams- they make some of the best pets) my breeding group has all but been wiped out in the last year and a half. Leading to a decision do we get more next year or not get any more?

Because when you lose one you must get two and when two doesn't work get three. ;) We'll see what happens. It can't replace my pets but it can give me something else to love. Not that I don't love all of my chickens even the meat birds(except this one little jerk that has been biting since he was two weeks old) but I think we can all agree some just make themselves stand out more than others.
 

Grits&Eggs

Songster
Apr 16, 2018
447
917
192
Florida
My Coop
My Coop
I feel ya, I started with 6 australorps since I really wanted 5 and didn't want to lost one in transit or to sickness, but all were healthy, when they were 6 weeks old, my girl friend picked up a batch of buff orpingtons and cuckoo marans and I took two of each to raise with mine. When both buffs turned out to be roosters - I went down to 8, but then, a friend found a couple silver polish in the park we took them home, 3 were hens, and a rooster came with the bunch. I tried (and failed) to integrate them and the rooster was MEAN so, ended up rehoming all of them as a set! But, now I hear my friend got a new bunch of babies, and is looking for good homes for a few of each type. So....hmmm, not sure how many I will be taking but I am sure I can't turn them down! And, my ordinances say only 5, lol....
 

L1sa

Songster
Jan 25, 2017
432
1,001
211
South Australia
Because when you lose one you must get two and when two doesn't work get three. ;)

That is just so totallytrue!! How does it happen to us though? Its as though we lose all sense of self control!!

inside of our first year we were up to 33 birds

:lau:lau

(it was ten but one commit chickencide).

I'm intreagued, what happened?

That is some huge chicken maths problem!!, to start with 5 and end up with 150~200!!
 

Callender Girl

Free Ranging
Sep 18, 2018
2,228
12,289
666
North Central Iowa
All I wanted were three laying hens for fresh eggs, but when I got to the 4-H'er's house, there was this beautiful little Sicilian Buttercup as well as the three brown egg layers I wanted (Buff Orpington, RIR and Barred Rock). Okay, four was fine -- for a while.

Then, my beloved decided that since he was the director of a historical museum in Iowa, it would be nice to have a breeding trio of Iowa Blues -- for the museum, of course.

Those birds never made it to the museum. So, we had seven birds. Then one of the Blues hatched two chicks. Now, there are nine. But, a mink took out three of the laying hens. I was heartbroken, but Honey was all alone in her coop now; the Blues had their own suite.

A pair of Salmon Faverolles proved irresistible at Bomgaars, so back to eight. However, buffalo gnats and a tumor took out the original breeding Blue hens. But not before another 4-H'er whom I had contacted right after the predator attack suddenly had hens she wanted to get rid of before the county fair.

All I wanted was the Blue-Laced Red Wyandotte. But, 4-Her and her mom convinced me that it would be wrong to take only one hen. That's true. So, along came a barred cochin bantam. They really, really wanted to unload birds, so they threw in another free cochin bantam -- this one was a red frizzle.

But enough is enough. No more chickens for me. No sirreee! Then I let Mr. Let's Get Some Iowa Blues go with me to the feed store. And, that's why we came home with a pair of Sapphire Gems.

Yup, all I wanted was three laying hens. (Let's not talk about the nine runner ducks and the pair of American Buff geese that have come along since then).
 

puffypoo

Crossing the Road
5 Years
Oct 3, 2015
3,148
19,298
917
Massachusetts
My best Chicken Math story--went to buy a couple (like 4-5) d'Uccle chicks and came home with 11 assorted breeds and one dead mosquito :D
We originally started out with seven. The smallest our flock has ever been is four. Highest was when we had all those chicks, I think we had around...I wanna say 17?
We currently only have eight. I think that number will mostly increase. :)
We have some pullets almost ready to lay and some ancient hens about to keel over lol so who knows :idunno

Also, buying chicks from a hatchery. We were going to get ONLY 3 but the minimum number of bantams was 6. So that's what we ordered. Now down to 4 from that batch :(
(one from shipping stress and one from scissor beak)
 

TheLittleFarm18

Songster
Apr 15, 2018
270
551
187
Central Illinois
Oh I like this thread :)

We started with 8 this spring. Went to buy more feed for them and picked up 4 more chicks.
Total 12

Fox took 3
Total 9

Decided to try and hatch eggs and wouldnt you know it worked! Lol! Plus 8
Total 17

Five more eggs cooking now

Friend of my mom is getting ride of 5 so of course I'm getting those this weekend :)
Total 22 and if the 5 hatch 27 :D
I can't believe my husband is on board with all these chickens! I'm gonna push the limits before he notices
 

LisaMarie65

In the Brooder
Oct 26, 2018
10
62
44
Chicken maths is one weird phenomenon!! And appears at some time or another to have infected us all! So how has it affected you and your flock size? Please share your stories :jumpy

My story:

Started off with just 4 hens, that was plenty for me, didn't want anymore than that... And for a while i was happy with just 4, until one went broody! Allowed her to hatch. Only got one baby that time, but that was okay, got my first rooster. So flock increased to 5.
All stayed the same for a while, he then got quite aggressive with my ladies so he went bye bye, down to 4 again. Next, One of my ladies died so i was down to 3. So straight away bought 2 more pullets because 3 or 4 was no longer enough - back up to 5.

Stayed at 5 for a while, then one of my new girls went broody, so allowed her to hatch, she only hatched 1 chick and obviously that wasnt enough (this is where chicken maths really started to kick in) i went to buy 2 x day old chicks, but when i got there she only had 4 left... So of course I had to buy them all. So flock went up to 10. Unfortunately 1 baby died at a week old, down to 9, and then a week ago i had to euthanise one of my old girls - down to 8. Well, this week another one of my girls is broody, so of course I've got her some fertile eggs to hatch - 6 to be exact!!

So for someone who was absolutely more than happy to have 4 chickens, I've now got 8 with the possibility of increasing that number to 14!!!

Chicken maths!!!
I started with 4 and I was happy as well! I now have 11.
 

chickendreams24

Crowing
5 Years
Jul 30, 2015
3,399
2,553
367
Wisconsin, USA
That is just so totallytrue!! How does it happen to us though? Its as though we lose all sense of self control!!



:lau:lau



I'm intreagued, what happened?

That is some huge chicken maths problem!!, to start with 5 and end up with 150~200!!

Ah yes it is a problem :)

Lol chickens are chickens idk what else to say. I mean you can't just raise one or two. Then you figure well some will die some will be male etc.

One thing we've learned over the years(gosh I think we're on 4 years now or is it three? Oh goodness I think it's 4....) Chickens find amazing ways to kill themselves such as missing a jump and getting their heads caught between two boards and breaking their necks. Flipping a feed or water pan on themselves and then laying their helpless until they suffocated(thankfully if caught in time this isn't permanent). Jumping around in a brooder and breaking a sibling's neck. Mind you all of the above listed things have all happened to us but not all at once and not all in the same year. And most of them have been freak things that never happened again. Some birds are just dumb and others just made a really bad choice.


The red ranger bird got it's head stuck in a feeder and broke it's neck overnight. I found it in the morning in rigor stuck it the feeder. When I first saw it I thought it was alive still until I touched it. It was pretty awful. Apparently the bird was greedy and turned it's head just so got stuck and panicked.

Most of our birds make it through just fine to adulthood we're actually probably over 150 right now and may not have broken 200 this year but it was super close. Predators are our biggest problems by far. Fox, mink, rats, raccoons, possums, skunk, hawks. We've lost birds to all of them. Most in our area we are within our rights to shoot if they get a taste for chicken. Hawks are of course protected.

We have also lost birds to coccidiosis although we generally catch it in time and a year ago this last spring our flock was diagnosed with Marek's disease. We have a very healthy flock and lose maybe 4-8 juvenile birds a year to it and are breeding for resistance. Likely brought in by migrating birds there's no way I'll ever know how it got here though. There are no other people for miles around us that have poultry so we chose to keep them. We lost fewer birds to Marek's this year than last year. With 200 birds give or take obviously very few of our birds contract it. We also keep a closed flock no living birds leave the property once they go outside and have been exposed to the flock. It does mean some hard decisions have to be made but it's the best outcome possible I think.

It's not easy being a chicken keeper sometimes. I love my birds but I have days that make me feel like well crud, "Why do I keep these fragile creatures?" A couple weeks ago we had 7 birds die or go missing it two days. A group of juveniles came down with cocci- although they had already been given preventative doses twice- I believe it was because of the wet weather we had several weeks ago in our area. Now our strain of coccidia here is extremely fast killing. Our first ever experience with it our first year with chickens we went from first lethargy and fluffed feather look to two birds dead inside an hour. No joke. By the time we realized there was a problem the second bird was dead. I diagnosed without bloody stool, ran to the store for corid and three hours later the third chick of six died in my arms it pooped blood just before death, confirming cocci. We were able to save the other three. That was a very hard hard lesson.

Because of that all birds are treated after controlled exposure 1-2 times before they ever go free range. Note that group was still in a brooder but had touched 1 square foot of ground for 5 minutes while I cleaned the brooder. I did not know we had coccidia in our soil yet as we'd raised 30 chicks without a problem.

Unfortunationally this group of juveniles came down with it anyway despite two pretreatments. One bird was dead in the morning, treatment had started the night before when one was fluffed up. A second one went down and passed away 4 hours later. The next morning a third one was dead, the last one that had looked real poorly. The original one that came down with it we did manage to save. All the other 20 or so recovered and some never showed symptoms at all. 3 birds went missing the same night. A fourth bird was found in the coop eaten to a skeleton (it was found in the morning but all that was sticking out of underneath our roll out nest box setup was a leg and my arms weren't long enough to reach her) I thought the eaten bird was from rats(she was in a bad way and never layed her whole life and wasn't doing well she was set to be mercy culled the day I found her body unfortunately something got her first). DH2B got home and went to help me grab the bird's body and look for the three missing birds when he moved the nest boxes there was something under there! A skunk! Our first problem with a skunk with our chickens! Ick ick ick!
The skunk didn't want to come out and we thankfully were able to shoot it in the coop without it spraying.

Once a predator finds your chicken buffet they generally always come back.
Apparently the three birds that were missing that night were likely scared by the skunk and chose not to go in.

One showed up perfectly healthy in the morning and one was found dead and partially eaten in the morning. Probably an owl or hawk.

The third one, one of my little pet OEGB hens hasn't been found and neither has any signs of her. The thing is OEGB are very predator savvy and fast and they can fly quite well. I never thought they would be grabbed.

Really we would like to have our flock between 75-85 on a yearly basis for winter but we'll see. It's hard.
 

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