Grit Blogs > Back To Our Roots

Chicken Math

Traci N SmithWe decided to try a new adventure this week. :) My ex-mother-in-law had gotten a rooster a few weeks ago and put him in with my three hens that she was keeping for us. For the last week she had them, she’d been keeping the fertilized eggs for us. When we brought the girls home, we also brought the eggs.

This is where things got interesting. We did some research online and came up with the idea of using a Styrofoam cooler, lamp, some wire and a bowl of water. We picked up a thermometer/hygrometer combo from the local Menards to make sure we could get everything set up and maintain the correct temp and humidity. After we got everything all set up and situated, we moved the incubator inside next to our brooder where our current five chicks have been residing. Put the lid on, left it sit overnight.

We had 13 eggs total to try this experiment with. First day, the temp spiked and humidity dropped. Second day, temp bottomed and humidity spiked. Days 3, 4 and 5 were more of the same. At day 5, I candled the eggs … No progress at all. I checked them again last night, hoping that we had gotten at least one. We’d finally managed to get the temp and humidity to stay mostly stable. But it was too late. All of them had failed to thrive.

Wednesday, we went to get dog food and wound up at the local Rural King ... Who still had chicks!!! Anyone who owns chickens knows that you just can't pass up babies. And these were just a few days old. The last batch that we had gotten were at least a week or two old. They were just too cute to pass up. So we got six new chicks: two Barred Rocks and four Arucaunas.

Of the original three hens that we had, we lost one (my favorite, Lucy) to a predator on Mother’s Day. We have lost two of the first six chicks we got this year to predators and another to it wandering off in the rain. :( We went from having three to having nine to having five, and now we’re at 11. Hopefully all of the remaining 11 will survive at least until next spring, but preferably for a few years. If I lose any more girls, I hope it’s to old age.

Our 6 new baby chicks on their first car ride!

After exploring our own version of Chicken Math, I would like to share with you a short piece that I read today, written by Morghan Rogers, originally posted on The Chicken 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!

See the entire The Chicken Chick blog post HERE.

tbaker
2/1/2015 6:09:18 PM

We have yet to eat any of ours yet, Julie. But from what I've read, it depends on how you want to cook them. Here are a couple links I found that may be helpful! http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/347978/how-old-is-too-old-to-eat http://www.backyardchickens.com/t/9640/how-old-is-too-old-to-butcher/20


julieinmoabutah
2/1/2015 1:41:39 PM

Hi again...found a blog on here all about introducing new chicks to the flock... so just a question of how old is too old to enjoy a decent chix dinner. Thanks!


julieinmoabutah
2/1/2015 1:29:03 PM

Hi all, I have a question re: chicken math. I have 6 Rhode Island Reds entering their second laying season. They are meat/egg hens. I'm thinking of rotating in a new flock of chicks to be ready for laying when the older girls slow down and need to be culled. My question is 1) Guidance on including the new chicks into the flock so they aren't bullied/killed by the older girls and 2) how old is too old for a decent chicken dinner? Feed corn prior to fatten up? Other guidance. Thanks everyone...


tbaker
1/31/2015 4:13:16 PM

NebraskaDave, They are extremely fragile!!! We definitely fell prey to chicken math and ended up with 26 chickens at one point. Of those that were bought the year this was wrote, only 5 survived. :( And of those 5, 3 were killed in the last month. So we have 2 left of our chicks along with 1 that I had from prior to this article and one that my ex-MIL added to my flock. But it's spring time again. And chick fever seems to hit hard in the Spring. So I foresee chicken math striking again this year. Hopefully we have a higher success rate this time around! Have a great day!


nebraskadave
5/15/2014 8:37:38 PM

Traci, baby chicks are the cutest things but they are so fragile. I don't know how any live out in the wild. Life in country with chickens is filled with joy and plagued with sadness. Life and death happen when birds and animals are involved. I hope the new chicks will live long and prosper. Have a great chicken math day.