Chicken Math: It’s Real

I’ve explained before how I ended up with 44 chickens, right?  It’s a little convoluted, and you might wonder how I didn’t notice that I had 40 chicks living in a box in my garage. It happens quickly…especially when they’re small, and cute.

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I’ve been worried that the 40 chickens in my coop were crowded.  It seemed like you couldn’t walk in the coop without nearly stepping on a chicken.  Especially as they got older and larger.

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Last night, the 20 I was keeping for a friend went to their new home.  I was so excited for them to get to live in their brand-new-never-been-lived-in coop!  And I went to bed with dreams of what I’d do with all the extra money from cutting my feed bill in half.

Then I woke up and went out to see what I had left (it had been dark by the time they’d left the night before).  The coop was virtually a ghost town!

Now keep in mind that the most I’ve ever owned up to this point is 12, so the 20 I have is still a lot.  It really maxes out the coop.  The problem is chicken math.

Chicken math; chik’-uhn. māth  (noun) The phenomena in which no matter how many chickens you expect to own or for which you build your coop, you will end up with more than that number, even when you take into account chicken math.

It’s very real.

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Jo(e)

I currently have 38 chickens in my coop.  That’s more than I ever planned for, and it was ok until they got big.  Holy smell, Batman!  But it’s ok, because 15 of them will be leaving at the end of the week, leaving me with exactly as many as I’ve ever wanted.  (And approximately 10 more than I ever thought I’d actually have.)

The chick's first field trip into the garden.  That's Joe in the grass at the bottom.

The chick’s first field trip into the garden. That’s Joe in the grass at the bottom.

How did I get this many you ask?  Well, I had 6 laying hens and decided it was time to expand.  So I ordered 25 1-day-old chicks with the plan to split them with a friend.  The day before they were to arrive, we went to the feed store to get supplies.  There were day-old chicks there, and boy were they cute!  When you have 25, what’s 5 more, right?  The next weekend my friend went to the feed store with her 4-year-old.  Chicks were still there.  And they were still so cute!  What’s 7-ish more at that point?  And did I mention that I received not one, but two free “exotic” chicks in my shipment.  Then, another neighbor somehow ended up with a single chick after a trip to the feed store.  Chickens cannot live happily by themselves, so I adopted it, naturally.  What’s one more, right? (So I guess the moral of this story is that you don’t look at the cute little fuzzballs in the bins at the feed store in March.)

Sitting on the food.  Time to get a cover!

Sitting on the food. Time to get a cover!

Any who, up until this last batch, they’ve each had names, but now there are so many of each breed that I can’t keep them straight.  But there are one or two that stick out from the chicks that I accumulated this spring.  The most memorable, and the favorite of all visitors, is Jo(e).  (S)he was one of my “free exotic” chicks, which usually means rooster, and that’s what I’m leaning towards, but I just can’t tell!  When we unboxed the shipment, we immediately noticed Jo(e).  His head had a small cotton ball on top of his head.

Jo(e) dressed up as a 90's boy-bander.

Jo(e) dressed up as a 90’s boy-bander.

Too cool for school!

Too cool for school!

Checking out the new digs!

Checking out the new digs!

As he grew, it only became more pronounced, until now I’m really not sure if he can even see.  I have to say he’s not the brightest chicken in the coop, and that’s saying a lot.  Chickens are not the smartest animals in the world.

We love watching him grow, although the other chicks are not a fan.  He’s different, and his hair’s kind of out there, so they pick at him.  He’s currently growing out his bald spot.  At least he’s got that capability!

On the catwalk!

On the catwalk!

Strutting his stuff.

Strutting his stuff.

He takes his job as protector very seriously, laying in the middle of the door to the coop every night counting each chick as she comes in for bed.  It’s so pitiful to see him slowly get pushed out of the way by the larger, pushier chicks.  Eventually he finds a way to get back in the doorway to keep watch at night.  Though I’m not sure what he’d ever do if danger actually made it’s way in, probably run and hide!  Maybe when he gets a little older…