Chicken math explained with real examples.

Chicken math in action

What is chicken math?

Chicken math has nothing to do with teaching chickens to count. Chickens can't learn math and there is no point trying to teach them.

Chicken math is how backyard keepers count their chickens as the numbers increase year on year with each new hatch and flock additions. So the chicken keeper who starts with 5 hens in their yard and then adds a few coloured eggs layers and then some ducks and Guinea fowl

Chicken math is the curious and incomprehensible process by which a flock of 5 backyard chickens grows to become 35 in three years.

Below:  Chicken math stretches the meaning of "A few" to it's very limits. This is a  just a few chicks, honey.

Chicken math can also be applied to chicken coops and incubators. This involves a single coop mysteriously becoming two or the magical appearance of a second incubator.

Below: For example this is 6 or 7 chickens, it's impossible to count them accurately as they keep moving around! 

I am pretty sure that every long suffering partner of a chicken keeper has heard something like:

"Honey,  I couldn't leave the last two chicks in the bins at Tractor Supply, they looked so lonely"


" More chicks hatched than I thought would"

The rules of chicken math:

Every keeper has a slightly different take but these are general rules to get you started.

  • Bantams only count as 1/3 of a whole chicken.
  • Hatching eggs aren't included.
  • Chicks don't count towards the total.
  • Older hens are only counted as three quarters as they don't lay as many eggs.
  • It doesn't matter how many roosters you have, they counts as 1.
  • Hens that are not in lay don't count to the total.
  • Other breeds don't get added in to the total, duck math is a whole other story.

Below: You might think you can see three roosters in this picture but there is actually only one.

And because they are bantams, there is only two chickens here.