I read a lot of posts where people say they keep chickens so they can supply meat and eggs for their families. Take a family of four. I’m going to take an arbitrary minimum of one chicken per person per week as the point where one can still call oneself a regular eater of meat. This if managed right could supply roughly 4 servings of meat cuts per person per week, providing roughly 30 grams of protein per serving. You may be able to increase this by one more serving by making full use of the bird by making a broth/stew. There are various estimates depending on size and body part for the amount of protein in a chicken. I’ve taken 140 grams of protein per bird as a reasonable estimate if the entire chicken is eaten. The recommended amount of protein per day for the average adult is 50/60 grams. So eating one chicken per week per person will supply you with half your protein requirements for four days to five days. So, for one person this amounts to 52 chickens a year to cover their meat consumption (only eating chicken meat reared at home). For a family of four that’s 208 chickens per year. If you are primarily a meat eater and you want to supply your own meat and make any realistic claims about not supporting the meat industry you could be looking at 400+ chickens a year just to provide half your protein requirements from chicken meat. While it is possible to replace 400 chickens each year from say a hatchery the more ethical and sensible approach would be to have a self sustaining flock. This mean rooster and some stock to breed next years chickens from; say a minimum of a further 100 hens going broody each year and producing four chicks per hen, plus of course the roosters needed to fertilize the eggs. That gives a flock size of roughly 500 chickens to supply a bit over half a families protein from meat requirement each year. So, a question for those who claim they are keeping chickens to put meat on the table for their family. How many chickens do you keep? My view, the claims about providing for the family and not supporting the meat industry are self righteous delusional nonsense....unless of course you have 500 chickens. Yes, every little helps but the above should show just how small a contribution a backyard flock of say ten chickens makes to the reduction of commercially produced chicken meat. Basically it’s insignificant. There is a noticeable divide when discussions on BYC get a bit heated between those who say they view their chickens as pets and those who often try to take the higher ground by calling them livestock for providing food for the family. The numbers say that for people like myself who kill and eat the occasional chicken; for me I think the average is five a year, the difference we make to the reduction of commercially produced meant and all the ethical debate surrounding it is in reality non existent. It may be possible to supply a family of four with all the eggs they consume in a year with a small backyard flock. An egg a day per person works out as 28 eggs every week 52 weeks of the year. That’s 1456 eggs a year. Each egg will give on average 6 grams of protein, roughly one tenth of your protein requirements per day. That’ s rougly 6 hens capable of laying 250 eggs per year, every year for their lifespan. Assuming the above figures are reasonable then the claims that backyard chicken keeping has any impact on the large commercial production of eggs and meat looks unrealistic to put it politely.