May 22, 2011

Chicken Math, a Force to be Reckoned With

For the benefit of the uninitiated, "Chicken Math" is force of nature that creates the perceived need to increase the size of one's existing flock of chickens. There's even an iPad app for that;   The purpose of the app? To teach children addition of course. The Force is powerful, undeniable and knows no boundaries.
For the benefit of the uninitiated, "Chicken Math" is force of nature that creates the perceived need to increase the size of one's existing flock of chickens. There's even an iPad app for that; the purpose of the app? To teach children addition, of course! The Force is powerful, undeniable and knows no boundaries.
Chicken Math is stealthy and can be facilitated by ordinary objects or people. There is often an incubator, feed store, or online chick catalog involved.
Chicken Math is stealthy and can be facilitated by ordinary objects or people. There is often an incubator, feed store, or online chick catalog involved, and more often than not, the Force works through an enabler. The enabler may innocently show the unwary a beautiful breed in their own flock that then must be acquired, or may present as a conscientious feed store clerk who assures you that, due to store policy, you cannot buy the two chicks you intended to purchase, you must take at least six. There's no arguing with that. The Force is formidable.
The unlikely enabler this month was my daughter's kindergarten teacher. Her class had been learning about chickens for weeks, culminating in an exciting experiment: incubating chicken eggs. The Egg Project was a delicate operation, requiring precise temperatures and humidity. It would take 21 days of waiting to learn if their experiment was to be a success.
The unlikely enabler this month was my daughter's kindergarten teacher whose class had been learning about chickens for weeks, culminating in an exciting experiment: incubating chicken eggs. The Egg Project was a delicate operation, requiring precise temperatures, turning and humidity. It would take 21 days of waiting to learn if their experiment was to be a success. My six year old daughter brought home an Egg Calendar and religiously colored it in daily, anxiously looking forward to Hatch Day.
 Chicken Math is a force of nature.
As Hatch Day approached, curiosity got the better of me as I wondered how the chicks were developing. I innocently emailed the teacher for a status report. The Force was quietly at work. On Hatch Day she replied to my inquiry with one of her own: did I have any baby chicksvailable? [Gulp] She explained that someone had tinkered with the incubator's settings and increased the temperature beyond that which any embryo could survive. The Egg Project was on track to inflict some major disappointment upon the kindergartners. The yellow crayons were now just nubs and there would be nothing but heartbreak to show for their patience and vigilance.

I had already been in the grip of Chicken Math for months prior to the commencement of the Egg Project and had hatched twenty-two chicks to add to our flock of twelve. None were young enough to pass for day old chicks though. Regardless, I couldn't bear imagining the expressions on the faces of  those children upon the realization that their hatching experiment had failed. Something had to be done. The wheels started turning; I had to find some baby chicks!

I immediately put out feelers on the Internet for day old chicks. I posted a virtual "chicks wanted" advertisement online and within minutes, was informed that a feed store just ten minutes from our home had day old chicks in stock. Yes! With the fervent approval and undying appreciation of the teacher, the plan unfolded. I bought the chicks and sneaked them into the classroom brooder before the children arrived to school the next day.
Chicken Math is a force of nature.
Don't believe for a moment that this was solely an altruistic gesture on behalf of the children. While I very much did want the kiddos to experience the sense of wonderment and awe that comes with having had a role in bringing new life into the world, Chicken Math was undeniably in play. I knew full well that these fuzzy butts were coming home with me at the end of the week to reside in my new coop and I was giddy about it (giddiness being a common side-effect of Chicken Math).

The fuzzy butts were named before they even got to kindergarten. Meet April, May and June:
The fuzzy butts were named before they even got to kindergarten.
The fuzzy butts were named before they even got to kindergarten.
The fuzzy butts were named before they even got to kindergarten.
The children were ecstatic to see that "their" eggs had hatched and permanent emotional harm requiring years of therapy, averted. Whew. You can attempt to fight the Force, but be advised: resistance is futile, Chicken Math always prevails.
__________________________________________
The following Ode on Chicken Math was written by one of my Facebook peeps, Morghan Rogers, and is too funny not to share.
Spanish chick, Dorking chick & Silver Laced Wyandotte chick
Ode on Chicken Math
If and when you get a hen, make sure in time she gets a friend.
That friend will bring a friend or three and you could have some roos for free!
With roosters comes the rooster dance ...a shuffle, a wing, it's a grand romance.
And romanced hens make lots of babies, and babies get you baby crazy.
So now you’re in the baby trance, all this fuss from a rooster dance.
They all need food so you’re off to the farm store later (we know what that means)
As a chicken keeper you should always say ‘no’ to the incubator! 
Kathy Shea Mormino, The Chicken Chick®

44 comments :

  1. Bonita Rankey1/6/12, 4:32 PM

    that calender is soooooooooo cute

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks Pamela Duffey!

    @Bonita Rankey: I KNOW! Can you stand it?!

    ReplyDelete
  3. you are the true Wonder Woman!!!! Always bringing smiles, love and kindness. <3

    ReplyDelete
  4. I will remember this should my little's class ever hatch out eggs. I will have the bator up and running the same day.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Good thinking, Elizabeth. I can tell you're a hatch-a-holic too; any excuse to make more chicks will do! LOL :)

      Delete
  5. We use an incubator and the kids love learning from it and counting down the days on a calendar :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Bless you for doing that for the little ones. Nothing like baby chicks and ducks and guineas, you get my point. <3<3<3

    ReplyDelete
  7. lol! this is why I can NEVER get an incubator!! However, how I fight chicken math is very simple. Although I have 16 of them, I was told that you only count the ones currently laying which means I have 2! And since mine are silkies and only count for 1/2 of a chicken, I only have one!! lol!!

    ReplyDelete
  8. Bunni Rankey4/28/12, 7:14 PM

    Chicken Math? Here's how I've mastered it, I add and Add and ADD. Thinking my first 6 chicks were gonna suit me just fine I have no idea how I ended up with the 29 I now have.

    ReplyDelete
  9. How I have mastered the fine art of chicken math... I just let chicks happen. lol I love chicks, and do have certain breeds and colors that I specifically want, but other breeds and colors I will take in only a couple females. If I get extra males, then I make them available to others. My chicken math mastery is just letting the chicks happen, and that is why the chicks happen decal is perfect for a person like me. lol

    ReplyDelete
  10. How have I overcome chicken math? I don't think I have, how can you? I just HAVE to keep hatching the fuzzy butts and I sell some, I give some away and I keep a few every now and then with the understanding that they are to replace some of the older layers. Then every now and then I just have to have 1 or 2 just because I want to try something new. Chicken math.... it lives on in my house!

    ReplyDelete
  11. Our setup was fine. Two hens, and two roosters. At some point however I had read that small flocks do better one on one, or 3 hens to 1 rooster, so we decided to try to approach that magical ratio, our own way 3-2. We had also read about Brahmas. That was also nagging at us. But finding just one, fresh out of the brooder seemed to be a hard find. We put out a few feelings, and we got a hit of somebody hatching Brahmas south of us on Ustream, and they would love to share the hatch once sex was determined. So they became fully feathered, and we felt we knew sexes, so off we went and got her. Everything was fine and great, and we were proud of our restraint keeping it down to one new chicken. Then there was an accident and she didn't make it. Suddenly, and I am sure it was totally out of grief, but we suddenly realized that 5-2 is the perfect ratio, and we ordered 3 day old chicks that we could have from the beginning. I think Chicken Math may be the most emotionally based of all the maths. Master Chicken Math... No, I don't think so. Chicken Math is more of a wave, you ride it.

    ReplyDelete
  12. My Chicken Math is terrible!! I had 50 chickens, which I thought was enough for me. Then I insisted on going to TSC online & read that they had chicks in stock at most of their retail stores. SO of course, I had to go to get just a few chicks--came home with 20. Then a man I clean house for said that he was going to be starting his incubator soon & said he had plenty of space for some of my eggs. So I thought of putting a day's worth of eggs in there. So in goes 32 eggs in the incubator! Out comes 22 chicks.
    So now my flock of 50 has increased to over 90 chickens! SOmeone stop me before I get some broodies!!!
    jgunn03@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  13. I had better "fess up" before my dear, tolerant, wyfe uses this blog to let everyone know just how GOOD I am at chicken math... *cough* *cough*

    It starts out so innocently. Picture this... the real happenings of one week last month, put into transcript form;

    **DAY ONE: "hoonnnneyyy...., this little baby HAS to come inside... in a little ICU brooder by my bed, because I found it all cold--and limp---and all alone... It is a miracle that she could be revived at all."

    **DAY TWO: "Whats that? you say... Err... Umm... she was all alone, so I went to the feed store to get a couple chicks to keep her company... okay, three... but I didn't have to pay for the one who is missing an eye! She was FREE!! Honey... Hon?....

    **DAY THREE: "Huh?... Who is that?... Err... Umm... Mama-Chicken was getting all clumsy and stepped on the smallest one, so I bought her inside. That was right after I noticed she is all spraddle legged... see how she's high centered?

    **DAY FOUR: "Really?... That one? Well... Umm... You see... I went to the feed store and they had a special! If I bought a bag of chick starter, they would GIVE me five meat chicks... err... umm... yes, there are FIVE more with Mama Chicken... well... when I put them in the box with Mama, they were so much bigger that this one (remember... the beginning of this paragraph?) that Mama wasn't watching to make sure she was keeping up. So played CPS... that's CHICKIE Protective Services... and re-homed the last banty chick to the bedside brooder/ICU.

    **DAY FIVE: (I stand, blocking the doorway to the bedroom, from which a LOUD cacophony of chirping is coming)... "Hoooonnneeeyyy.... remember last year when I got the bad batch of Jersey Giant chicks and 12 of the 15 we ordered died?... Err... Umm... honey, did I tell you how much I LOOOOVE you??? (looking at feet, shifting weight back and forth uncomfortably) How many? ...twenty... Hon???? Hon??? But the nice lady... No, sweetheart, she is NOT a (censored)chicken-pusher! Honey?.... Honey?....

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Congratulations Jenn! You have won the 'CHICKS HAPPEN" vinyl window decal!

      Please email me with your address and 'chicken math/chicks happen' in the subject line: service@CustomEggCartonLabels.com

      Delete
  14. I'm pretty sure chicken math has mastered me, actually! Fifteen currently laying and 27 in varying stages of fluffy-buttness. Need. More. Land.

    ReplyDelete
  15. Chicken math....starts with 12 chicks....the next spring the hatching formula is added....next comes the sexing ratio, hen to roosters....and then there is the multiplier....before you know it you have 100 chickens free ranging....then it happens, the minus factor...the fox takes out about 5 hens a day....so you regroup and factor in the addition of coops and runs.....and it all come around full circle again....order more chicks...add meat birds to the equation....and it equals a forever attaction and love affair of chickens!

    ReplyDelete
  16. awww, you are a good chicken lovin' mommy. :D
    I have a chicken math issue, too. One isn't enough, and there's no such thing as too many. I do have to be careful not to stretch my landlord's patience, but everytime I ask about a new animal, he just adds more land to our rental, LOL. (at no extra cost...)I'm at over 40 chickens now, and we just had another one hatch, and a couple more eggs are pipping at the moment. I think we've gone well beyond the concept of addition and are into advanced chicken algebra.
    Amy Peare

    ReplyDelete
  17. Chicken math for me is, (gulp, gulp) I hope under control....I hope. snicker, snicker.....lol
    Have 8 teen peeps, of which 2 are Bantams. the others are: Polish Top Hat, Gold Campine, Barnvelder, Production Red,Easter Egger, and Deleware.
    My favorite breeds would not be any of these....grinning ear to ear. I must have 14 Hens total. I was born on the 14 of February, there go the 14 for Chicken Math. On the agenda 1 white silkie, 1 black silkie, 1 gray silkie, and 3 frizzies.
    Of course, this figure may have to change depending on all the factors in the course of finding, shipping and or sales clerks involved......:>) Chicken Math is easy, just roll with the numbers and it always works out just fine!!

    hardyhens14@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  18. BUFFY SMITH4/28/12, 9:33 PM

    Very cute article. Always enjoy your stories... however, really need to know... Is there a cute. My husband is a Hatch-a-holic and I think he may need an intervention.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Buffy. I know you meant 'cure,' but why on earth would you want to find one???? ☺

      Delete
  19. buffy smith4/28/12, 9:35 PM

    OOPS! "is there a cure".

    ReplyDelete
  20. I must confess that, I too, have a bout of "chicken math". Although a novice, my first six pullets are about ready for the coop/run. It seems as though I'm feeling the onset on the "empty nest syndrome". Stay tuned :)

    ReplyDelete
  21. Hmm my chicken math starts with oh Blake (my oldest ) wants to do chickens in 4-H so we stop meaning to buy just a few and come home with 15 (there all so cute :) ) Then I think wouldn't it be fun to hatch some . Buy the incubator and eggs wait 21 days and unfortunately none make :( but I'm in luck I'd already bid on 30 eggs to refill my incubatorthen of course I decided to go ahead and buy a few more ( more is better right :) Well not according to my hubby I've now been banned from ebay lol ) So in total 67 eggs go in (not sure of that outcome we're down to 37 eggs in there so we'll see how it goes ) While were waiting my 5 year old and I decide to stop at Murdochs and look at all there chicks and wouldn't you know it but they have the big ones are on sale for a $1 !!! So of course we come home with 9 lol ( I have now also been banned from Murdochs by the husband lol )So there's my chicken math I went from we just need a few to 30 chicks (forgot to mention my mom kindly got my kids 6 chicks for easter such an enabler lol ) & 36 eggs in an incubator & it's oh so tempting to make the 20 mile run to town while the husband is sleeping I'm sure he wouldn't notice just a few more lol fld20@yahoo.com

    ReplyDelete
  22. I love all of your blogs. Im new at hatching and have not had good luck with it yet. But I feel I will get it right soon. Thanks for all your info. Rworkman@bardstowncable.net

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Keep trying, it is a special science...temp, humidity, rotation....and agood rooster to fertilize those hens! Good Luck. One word of advice...DO NOT crack any unopend eggs after the 21st day....think about an over cooked egg and a putrid rotting smell....my first mistake as a new hatcher...I was curious to find out why they didn't hatch...BIG MISTAKE!

      Delete
    2. Thanks Rworkman. :) The trick is to get a good, reliable incubator and fresh, local eggs whenever possible. It's not hard with the right equipment.

      Delete
  23. Chicken math seems to be based on alot of adding & multiplying, not alot of dividing or subtracting...
    This is where April <3 fit into your flock. I didn't know there already was a May & June in your past, too.

    ReplyDelete
  24. For me "chicken math" is simple 4-4=0... :( Something killed my first 4 chickens, now I'm sorta not wanting to get anymore because I was so attached to them.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Jenn Nashoba5/1/12, 6:04 PM

      lbuch80,
      I understand the pain, followed by fear and trepidation... Just over a month ago, coyotes raided my coop on the one day I forgot to close the door for the night. I was shattered, my heart felt ripped to pieces.... 23 times over for the 21 hens and 2 roosters that they got.

      It was so very hard to go on for me... but I threw myself into learning how to best predator proof the facilities I have. I plugged every last hole, dug 8 inches down all around the coop and enclosure to bury hardware cloth ("chicken wire" doesn't stand a chance against predators, BTW), and rerouted their yard through the orchard--to make it more difficult for the area's hawks and eagles. Next is stringing electric chicken netting/wire around the property... then I'll feel a lot better about letting them free range again.

      Unfortunately, there are some things we can't guard against, but we can sleep easier knowing that we did what we could... I know your four were very special! I also know that when you have gotten to the stage in your grief that you can again think about having another few ladies again, you will be an even better chicken mama for it!
      **hugs**
      Jenn Nashoba (AKA "Mother Clucker")

      Delete
    2. I'm very sorry that you lost all your chickens and hope that you can find a way to regroup.

      Delete
  25. As a Aerospace Structural Engineer, I am really good with "math". But for the life of me, I SUCK at chicken math. I can never really subtract. I had to pass away this summer from the Texas heat, I was a sad chicken mama. I still had over a dozen, but these cute Blue Red Laced Wynadottes caught my eye when I went to pick up two Spangled Hamburgs. They just had to come home with me as well-then since the Hamburgs, even as adults are smaller than my other girls I had to get a boyfriend for them. So Onyx and his girls Peral & Dot along with Lacy & Freckles all found themselves in my yard. See take 2 away, but at 5. I am crazy bad with this math!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. On the contrary, Marilyn, I think you have MASTERED chicken math! It does sound as though you missed the rule that two bantams equal one large fowl bird. You still have room for more!

      BTW: If you have fertile SSH egglets, I'd LOVE to buy some from you! Let me know (I'm still perfecting my CM skills!). Kathy@The-Chicken-Chick.com

      Delete
  26. This applies to ducks too! Poultry math! LOL! I should know, I'm a TERRIBLE enabler!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Jennifer McLaughlin Doane9/23/13, 5:46 PM

    Love the Ode!!!! Made me laugh. Fighting the Force as we speak!!

    ReplyDelete
  28. Robin Hipolito10/8/13, 3:30 PM

    I know Eggactly what you mean! This poem is soo true!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Sharon Allred Duncan7/24/14, 9:45 AM

    ATET submission, Sharon D.
    Melinda knows so much about Liza because Liza is actually her daughter. Melinda had a clandestine encounter with Rajah, the Ayam Cemani, who was visiting his cousin, at the neighboring hen house. Liza was the result of that brief encounter. She snuck the egg into one of the broody's nest, allowing her to be raised by another hen. She knew, with this secret, she could not go into the convent. Melinda giving up that dream, stayed close to Liza, watching from afar as she grew up. She lived in the shadows,not wanting to reveal her secret. Melinda has tried to make up for her lack of parental involvement, by giving Liza the best of everything and ignoring her bad behavior, but now she sees she went too far and she feels like she has contributed to Liza being so spoiled and narcissistic. She wants Doc Brown to help Liza and she is hoping there can be a possible reconciliation in the future for her and Liza.

    ReplyDelete
  30. We have some eggs my wife decided we needed to incubate. They're due to hatch around the 21st. We already have 32, including 3 roosters, plus a chick we keep inside that hatched a couple weeks ago. Four of our hens are Brahmas because my wife fell in love with the picture at the feed store. 5 are Ameraucanas, one of which she bought last year with some other chicks, and the others she bought this year because she wanted the blue eggs. We've only been raising chickens for 2 1/2 years. Help! I need a bigger yard.

    ReplyDelete
  31. Lol. We all need bigger yards.

    ReplyDelete
  32. Beth Schmidt11/25/14, 8:39 AM

    I'M NOT THE ONLY ONE!!! You're chicken math may have saved my marriage!! LOL!

    ReplyDelete
  33. My current coop will only hold 10 chickens. I am getting the fever again! Hummmm ... wonder what my 2nd coop will look like?!?!?!?! (Shhhhhh ... don't tell my husband the force it at work! hehehe)

    ReplyDelete
  34. Jim Lindley2/4/15, 9:42 AM

    I just saw your reply Michelle. You are so right.

    ReplyDelete