Before I got chickens, I had read about chicken math. It’s a strange and unexpected phenomenon that frequently happens to chicken keepers.
It goes something like this. First chicken keepers get a few chickens, then they get a few more, they need to expand their coop, maybe get several coops and perhaps even get a completely different species to add to their flock.
What happens once afflicted by chicken math is chicken keepers eventually lose their ability to count, certain chickens don’t count at all in the counting process and some keepers in just pick a random number and quit counting
The article said that it was common but I really believed it could only happen to other people not someone like me who just wanted three chickens.
I’m pretty good at math, I knew how many chickens were just the right amount for me. I’m pretty good at sticking to a plan. I had gotten all hens so there was no way that I would end up with more chickens than I already had. No rooster meant no unexpected baby chicks. I had my three chickens and I didn’t need or want any more. I wasn’t concerned about chicken math.
I joined a chicken group and I started to meet chicken people. When I asked how many chickens they had some said they stopped counting at 50. Others said they didn’t know or that they had a certain amount but the 50 chickens in one of the coops didn’t count as chickens for one reason or another. Having heard of chicken math I suspected that the people that I talked to had been afflicted by it at some point.
I seemed to be the only one in the group who had only a few chickens. They said I would get more. I insisted that I would never want more than three chickens. I loved having chickens but I would never be afflicted by chicken math. I’d always be able to count and I’d never become a crazy chicken person whose flock just seemed to multiply. I would not fall prey to chicken math.
A year later, I lost my ability to add after ordering 3 more chicks to add to my flock of 3 and I ended up with 9 chickens total. The amount of chickens that I had had tripled in one year! If that happens over the course of the next year that would mean that I’ll have 27 chickens.
I can tell myself that that would never happen just as I said that I would never have more than three chickens. I could say that 9 chickens are all that I’ll ever have. I might not be able to add as well anymore but I can still count how many chickens that I have. I can even rationalize how I’m not slowly succumbing to chicken math. My Seramas don’t live in the same place as the hens so maybe I could say that I only have 7 chickens. Seramas are different so I don’t think that they should count.
I could say that I will definitely never have 27 chickens but the reality is that breeding Seramas has crossed my mind a lot lately. I won’t say that it can’t happen that next year it’s possible for me to have 27 chickens. After the last year I’ve learned that when it comes to chickens the information on chicken math is real. The people I talked to had warned me. I was crazy to think that I was somehow immune to this bizarre phenomenon.
Right now, I think that I’ve only been slightly afflicted with chicken math but I have heard that its incurable, that it spreads rapidly, and that symptoms can develop quite quickly after the initial exposure to chickens. I haven’t met anyone who is immune to it yet. I don’t know much about the medical aspect of it but I’m thinking that maybe the only way to alleviate symptoms is to get more chickens.
I now also have an incubator. The only reason that I can possibly think of as to why I got one of those is that I may be getting more symptoms. If I start breeding or hatching, I may soon lose my ability to count completely. I may need more coops and I may completely lose my ability to count my chickens. If this continues to progress it’ll be ok. It’ll leave me more time to enjoy the chickens and they don’t care if I can count.