Chicken Math, Explained

Whether you are new to chicken keeping or a seasoned veteran, chances are you have heard the term chicken math. Chances are even higher than you have calculated some of your own chicken math, even if you were not aware of it! So what is meant by chicken math and how did this term become a common term within the chicken keeping world? In its simplest terms, chicken math is the addition to your flock in quantities and maybe even other species that are beyond what you originally planned.

mh blog chicken math peekaboo

They’re so little and cute at first, but then we realize that chicks grow fast and need more space. These little ladies spent the winter growing out in a greenhouse.

Perhaps you planned to have 6 birds but now somehow have 14, 22, 30. Or maybe you planned to only have chickens but have mastered advanced chicken math and now have ducks, rabbits, and a cow! My personal theory on chicken math is not only are chickens a lot of fun to keep, they are relatively low maintenance, and do not take up much space, so it becomes very easy to say “what difference would a few more make?” Chicken math can be perpetuated in many different ways; perhaps a broody hen hatched some eggs, you incubated eggs yourself, Meyer Hatchery had a sale, or you were gifted some birds.  Throughout your chicken keeping adventures, your knowledge and experience will grow, and chances are very high that the quantity of your flock will also grow. Here are some examples of my own chicken math:

  • First flock of 14 chickens + 6 chicks = 2 goats
  • 32 chickens + 1 guard dog = 2 bantams (but bantams only equal ½ a chicken)
  • 50 (ish) chickens + 12 sale chicks = too many brown eggs
  • 21 chicks (needed some more color in the egg basket) = 10 broilers
  • 12 adolescent chicks (but they were a gift so they don’t actually count towards a total) = not knowing how many chickens I have

There is no exact rhyme or reason to chicken math, but that is part of its beauty! How has your flock grown in unexpected ways? Please share your own chicken math in the comments!


  • I was only going to start with 12 chickens which my husband thought was overboard. In the past two months, I have ordered 40 chickens and 3 ducks, all from Meyer Hatchery. Too bad you guys don’t sell goats! Those are next. (But maybe a few more chicks first — I have 15 in my cart ready for my next year’s additions).

    My husband thinks it has exceeded basic chicken math and has graduated to “fowlgebra”.


  • Sarah Jane Chase

    We have thirty plus chickens just ordered thirty two more, have twelve goats and well over fifty Koi. I would say that we’re into trighenomics already.


  • So that’s what happened; I went from chicken math to fowlgebra to trighenomics. I don’t need an intervention!!
    Started small but chickens are addictive. As the Meyer sign put it – Ckickens are like potato chips, you can’t have just one. I have 70 plus out in the barn (20 acres free range) 44 chiclets and picking up 6 more chiclets on Tuesday. I tell people that I have the UN of chickens from all over Europe and the world. I sell my eggs like any good pusher – the first dozen is free!! If people don’t come back pleading for eggs then it is only because they don’t taste the difference. Yes there really are people who can’t tell the difference.

    Liked by 1 person

  • I wasn’t sure about getting chickens until I did all my research. Said I’ll only start with 6 ( actually when I went for my first chicken “nuggets” I said 4, but the gal said go for 6…..ok my arm was twisted haha). I got those 6 and they’re now 15 wks old. In the meantime I decided I wanted more of one breed and some of another breed, so naturally I ordered from Myers 8 more! There’s other breeds I want and already have started my cart with some for around October. Math has never been my strong suit anyway.


  • Or calculations CLUCKUATIONS


  • Donna Millermcnutt

    I started with 6 (because when you buy them from a feed store in KY you are REQUIRED to purchase at least 6). The next spring I wanted hens that produce COLORFUL eggs, so I ordered 5 more. One of the “pullets” was a “cockerel” so I ordered a replacement, but had to order the required shipment amount, so I added 5 more. 2 were DOA (not Meyer Hatchery, from a different place I will no longer order from) and 1 died the next day. Then I went to another feed store and saw baby chicks…..bought 8 of them! Re-homed 2 roosters, a hen died from being r***d by one of those roosters! 1 died from a neighbors dog attack, and one pullet “came up missing”. One of my mature hens went broody so I ordered 17 hatching eggs from Meyer Hatchery (you guys are the BEST!!) and TODAY is HATCH DAY!! Just went out to look and she currently has one baby under her and the rest are ready to come out!!!!!!! I’m sooooo excited!! Thank you Meyer Hatchery!!! I’m extending my coop/pen and I don’t care if I end up with 100 chickens!!!! I will be ordering more eggs from you!


    • Aw congrats on being a new chick grandma! It sounds like you might be well on your way 100+ chickens and we are happy to enable your chicken math!


  • Pingback: Using the Incredible Egg Washer Kit: Clean Eggs Sell! | Meyer Hatchery Blog

  • Yes, but chicken math also works the other way! Over the course of the year, predators make their own subtractions!


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