Monday, April 8, 2013

Spring Time and Chicken Math

There are crocuses blooming outside! I don't think there is anything that says 'Spring' to me quite like crocuses. Seeing those tiny little flowers gets me in the mood to clean all the things and plan my garden.

You know what else says 'Spring?' Chicks. Which brings me to Chicken Math. What is Chicken Math, you ask? Allow me to share an example.

So initially Ben and I were going to get six to eight laying hens and a few meat birds. We looked up some mail order hatcheries and discovered Minimums. You see, in order for your mail order chicks to stay alive, they need to be shipped with at least 25 in the box. After reconfiguring our desired number of birds, we decided to order 15 laying hens and 10 meat birds. Easy, right? Nope. I then realized that the meat birds would be ready for harvesting around 6-8 weeks old which would have been... well, now actually. We decided that we didn't really want to be harvesting birds right away in March, so we scratched the meat birds off the list and decided to just get 25 layers. After all, what are ten more going to hurt?

We found a hatchery locally where we could purchase less than 25 for a pick up order, but due to quantity discounts the Hatchery Choice assortment with 25 chicks was the same price as choosing 15 individual chicks. So we got our assortment of 25 adorable chicks and I was hooked! I got all our breeds figured out from our mystery assortment and it turned out that they were all brown egg layers. That's good, right? Not when I was hoping for Easter Eggers, the breed that lays blue or green eggs.

I decided I needed some Easter Eggers, and then I found out about Marans. French Copper Marans, to be precise. They lay a gorgeous dark chocolate brown egg. It literally looks like a real chocolate egg. I decided to get two Easter Eggers and two Marans. But.... TSC has a six chick minimum! So I got six Easter Eggers. Then I found out that the Marans were straight run, meaning they are not sexed. So obviously if I want two hens I need to buy more chicks to help my odds. So I have four Marans now.

Have you kept up with the math here? So via chicken math we have:
8 chicks + 7 meats = 25 chicks
2 EE chicks + 2 Maran chicks = 10 chicks
Total chicks in my basement brooder = 35

The really great part about Chicken Math though, is that certain types of chickens don't really count toward the total. Roosters, for instance. Three of my Marans are roosters and probably two of the Easter Eggers are as well.

35 chicks - 5 roosters = 30 chicks

Also, any hens that aren't laying don't count, and young chicks don't count.

30 chicks - 30 chicks not yet laying = 0

So really, I don't have any chickens. Hmmm, maybe I need to go to TSC now.

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