Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Chicken Math

Last night I was reading a thread over on Backyard Chickens about a "phenomenon" called Chicken Math.  It was a collection of stories from people who started off wanting 3 or 4 chickens and somehow ended up with flocks numbering in the double or TRIPLE!!! digits.  My husband wanted to know what I found so funny as I was staring at my computer screen snorting, cackling giggling my sides off.  I could so relate.  Here is my own Chicken Math story.

When we bought a house in the country, we decided the time had come at long last for some chickens.  Except it would be a month before we actually moved on the property.  Not to worry, the local garden store had a flock of 8 week old Buff Orpingtons.  We figured we would get 2 since our currently tiny backyard would be ample space to keep them happy.  Except they were already sold by the time we arrived.  But they had two Blue Andalusian 3 day old chicks available.  Since chicks have to be under heat lamps around the clock at the start anyway I did some quick calculations and decided we would get chicks and keep them in the kitchen for a few four weeks until we moved.  Besides my girls and my mother were staring at me with sad puppy eyes, hands clasped under their chins, whining peeping, "Please, please, PLEEAASSEEE?"  So 2 came home with us that day.

This got me thinking about how I should tie in some math into this chicken experiment we're conducting.  Here is one of the worksheets I've developed.

If you're wanting to find out how our flock now numbers a baker's dozen keep reading.  If you just want to download our Chicken Math worksheet then click HERE.  It is based on our previous Chick Charts so make sure to check out those posts to get the downloadable chart to go with.

Meanwhile back at the farm...
We set up the two girls in their new cage and my mother decided they looked a little lonely.  Besides if you're going to get a flock of chickens it is better they are all the same age so they have a better chance of getting along.  Off to another feed store where surprise, surprise they had just gotten in a shipment of new chicks.  Fifteen minutes later, my girls are gingerly prancing out of the store carting a box of pine shavings and three new chicks:  an Araucana, a Light Brahma, and a Golden Laced Wyandotte.  Our little flock is up to five.

Coincidentally another local feed store also received their chick shipment the same day.  Since they assured me they only order pullets (we shall see) we pop over for a look and a Rhode Island Red and a Barred Rock somehow manage to hitch a ride home.

Sunflower and Daisy but I have no idea which one is which.

We stayed at seven for about a week until one of our Andalusians met with a sad accident.  To cheer the girls back up we once again headed to the feed store.  This time we got two Welsummers because the lady there said I needed to get two the same age so they wouldn't get picked on by the older ones. Just as we were about to leave, a shipment of bantams shows up.  My absolute favorite chicken I had growing up was a bantam rooster named Pom Pom.  There is a hasty, whispered conference in the hay bale aisle between the girls and me about what to do.  Five minutes later Pom Pom II and Puff Ball, both Bantam Cochins, are added to the group.  Now we're up to 10.

My husband gives me that "look" when he comes home from work that night.  I show him how cute the widdle Bantams are, aren't their poofy feet so adorable?  He looks at me and says, "Did you say there was another shipment coming in?"  Seriously?  We're at the feedstore 5 minutes later picking out a dark pair of Bantam Cochins.  I should have known a man who is into bonsai would be interested in raising half-sized chickens.  The thing is the bantams are straight run so that means the chances of us ended up with a rooster are pretty good.  We will deal with this later but, in the mean time, we resort to waving our hand over the batch of chicks and thinking, "pullet, pullet, pullet" as we make a grab for the new recruits.  It's kinda like playing the lottery.  (Update: we should not play the lottery, Wabi and Sabi are, two weeks into this, by all appearances, roosters).

Chickens are like potato chips, you can't have just one.
So we're at a dozen.  The cage we are keeping the chickens in is really getting a bit cramped, we're expanding it by attaching a cardboard box.  My mother is giving me the I-told-you-so look (she predicted a dozen chickens as the magic number).  But I have to say she was wrong.  A week later we're at another feed store and there is a little Ameraucana looking at me from their cage just begging me (a vegetarian) to take it home.  So a baker's dozen it is....for now.  Chicken Math, that's how it works.  We're totally done now.  I promise.  Unless we happen to find a 3 week old Cuckoo Maran pullet.  Then all bets are off.

Shared with 123Homeschool4Me, Creative Learning on Friday, I Can Teach My Child, Enchanted Homeschooling Mom

1 comment:

  1. Great math tie-in to your chicken experiment! I just found your blog, I’m your newest follower!
    Science for Kids Blog