Have you ever heard of chicken math? It’s an affliction that causes must consternation between the chicken lover and said chicken lover’s spouse. You may remember that we started out with 12 red hens and by the time I came to my senses, we had 12 red hens + an accumulation of other chickens so that we gave away about 45 chickens sitting on about 90 eggs and we only had 7 chickens (5 full size hens, 1 bantam hen and 1 rooster) left. That was a great number for us.
Then, a few months ago, Tractor Supply had Chick Days and we ended up with 14 little Buckeyes. I’m thinking it will be towards the end of July before they start laying. The addition of the buckeyes made 21 but at least six of them will probably be roosters. We’re almost to the point of being sure which ones are, and some of those will have to be butchered. One Buckeye rooster is all we need so I’m guessing we’re going to end up with about 7 hens and one rooster, for a total of 15 chickens. I could live with that number.
Then . . the little black bantam hen wanted to be a mother. I resisted at first but finally gave in. I let her keep 6 eggs, one bantam egg and 5 full sized eggs. There are 3 full sized Dominique hens, one hen that’s a cross between a Dominique and our red hens and one black Australorp hen. The only rooster is the Dominique so I figured any of the full sized chicks would be good ones to have. I marked the eggs with a Sharpie because she has a way of convincing other hens to lay in her nest and before long, there would have been 40 eggs under her. Every day I’d go out there and have a knock down drag out fight with her so I could make sure there were no extra eggs under her. One day Vince got the eggs and he didn’t want to fight with her so he didn’t and the next day, there was a 7th egg under her so I said . . fine . . you keep it. I’m not risking cracking an egg and finding a surprise inside.
Everything was going great. I figured the eggs would begin hatching on May 10. Until . .
Yesterday I went out there and hen that’s a mix of red hen/Dominique had stolen little black bantam’s nest! Little black bantam hen was mad and upset and making all kinds of noise but hey . . what could I do about it. If the red/Dominique hen wanted to be a bully and steal someone else’s almost hatched eggs, there wasn’t much I could do. I could have taken all the eggs and put them in another coop, and put little black bantam hen in there by herself but then I would have to go to all the trouble of getting the new chicks integrated into the old coop and that’s more trouble than I’m willing to do so I just left them alone to work it out.
Yesterday morning when I went out there, little black bantam has started over. She had two eggs – full sized eggs – under her. I thought .. fine . . she can have two eggs and she can start over but then I thought . . that’s not fair. She’s been sitting on those eggs for 2 weeks and it just wasn’t right for the other hen to come in and take those eggs so a little before dark, Vince and I went out there and stole 2 eggs back from the big hen and pout them under the little black bantam. Now she has 4 eggs . . 2 that should hatch in about 5 days, 2 that should hatch in about 20 days but once the other two hatch, she’ll probably give up on the two newest ones. We’ll deal with that when it happens. I think she’ll be happy even if she only gets one baby.
It will be nice having two hens hatching eggs at the same time. If one is a bad mother, I’ll give the babies to the other mother.
It’s a crazy mixed up world when it comes to parenting . . even in the chicken coop.
Chicken math is scarier than calculus!
Nothing worse than a jealous chicken mother-wanna-be… 🙂
lol those chicken adventure are more interesting than any soap 🙂
Thank goodness I live in town and no roos allowed. I may never get chickens because of the drama!! Soap opera is right! LOL
Wow! Chicken Math can get to be a bit mind boggling. You are a true genius and yes, this is much better than any soap opera.
That’s a whole lotta scrambled eggs going on there. Baby chicks are so dang cute, can’t blame her for wanting them all to herself.
Dottie N. says
Oh my goodness – Love reading this – you definitely put a smile on my face ;-).
Judy D in WA says
I have 5 sitters. I told them Monday if I didn’t see babies on Friday, they would be done with their sitting. Guess what I found this morning. Babies! Mommas won’t let me see how many. I’ll leave them be for a while. Chicken math is fun. 🙂
I love you chicken tales! I look forward to more of them
You’ll probably wind up with 77 chickens again. So you won’t keep even one of the buckeye roosters?
Deborah Kuykendall says
Thank you for these posts. You have convinced me that I don’t want chickens and it’s for the same reason I don’t watch soap operas. I can’t deal with the drama. When I had horses, I’d sleep in the barn any time one of them was sick. I’d get upset when the horses were bullying each other and they were really very sweet horses but still needed to have some sort of pecking order. I love hearing about it and I think Vince is a saint. My husband would have said, “This was your bright idea. You’ll have to fix it.” For now, I’m routing for the little bantam.
We all have to make our decisions. If I’d thought about the sleepless nights and parent/teacher conferences, I’d never have had the pleasure of raising Chad or knowing Addie. To me, having chickens and dealing with their pecking order and personalities is all worth it when I have fresh eggs for breakfast but there’s a risk/benefit with everything and at least you know ahead of time how it would affect you. Better to know now than to get them and have to deal with big surprises.
Deborah Kuykendall says
You are so right. None of us would have been in a hurry to grow up if we had the benefit of a look into the future nor have become mothers when we think about all of the sleepless night. Yet, it was all worth it. I suspect the chickens are the same. There is good and bad and we choose which we are going to focus on. I do love hearing about all of the escapades at the wacky Laquidara abode. Thanks for sharing and keep the stories coming.