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Chicken Math - It all ads up for me!

Updated: Oct 26, 2022

“Come on girls! All I need are two more eggs to fill out another dozen.”


Back in 2016, just six years ago, Tim and I decided to get our first chickens. I did the research and decided that Buff Orpingtons were the breed for me. We set out on the road to Elm Mott, Texas to pick up 36 baby chicks. Half of them turned out to be roosters. The pullets started laying at about 5 months old. Oh the magic of finding that first egg, We loved our chickens and our eggs. We had some for us, and some to share. It was glorious. After a year or so, I decided to add more colors to our egg basket. Which meant I needed more chickens... but just a few more... of each color.


I often joke about chicken math, but it is real.


Not many chickens lay one egg every day all year long. Most chickens lay 180-200 eggs per year. So let’s do some chicken math.



Tim and I each eat 2 eggs per day, and that comes out to 1,460 eggs per year for our family of two, just for breakfast. Sometimes we bake using eggs. We also make noodles and pasta using eggs. And on occasion we make homemade mayonnaise, or deviled eggs, etc. I’m going to add another dozen each month for that, making the total 1604 eggs per year, or 133 dozen.



Most chickens lay 3 to 4 eggs each week. I’ll use 3.5 as an average for my chickens because the pretty egg layers don’t seem to be as prolific. (It’s the price we pay for pretty and tasty). That equates to 15 dozen per chicken per year, or 182 eggs per year, per chicken. So Tim and I need 9 chickens to supply us with all we need to have our eggs and eat them too.


Oh - but then we lose some to predation. So we need just a few more chickens to account for the losses.


When the grandchildren come over they each eat two eggs. We have 5 grandchildren. I can rationalize why I need a few more chickens for those occasions. And they love to gather eggs, especially the pretty colors. So we should get a few of each color. And since half will probably turn out to be roosters, we should get twice as many as we think we will need. Keep reading.



Egg production is feast or famine. Let me explain.



There are seasons of surplus, when every chicken is laying every day. Those are the days when we have more eggs than we need. I suppose noodles and pasta were invented as a result of abundance. It would be safe to say that’s also why we started selling eggs. Once people find out how good pastured eggs are, they become a regular customer. Selling eggs helps pay for the chicken feed bill. We enjoy our relationship with our customers, so having eggs to sell is quite a joy. We should add a few more chickens to keep our customers supplied. And then it happens.




There are so many reasons why egg production slows down. Sometimes chickens go broody and they don’t lay eggs because they want to sit on eggs to hatch them. Chickens are seasonal layers. They don’t lay well in extreme heat or cold. They molt several times each year, and that kicks them out of egg production until their feathers come back. When egg production drops while egg sales rise, we buy a few more chickens to keep up with demand. And since we are buying more chickens, we might as well get a few extra.




As I count my eggs, I count my blessings. Chicken math. It all adds up for me!





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