I’ve heard it said dozens of times, “I’m only getting 4 hens”. I said it myself on a poultry forum. Everyone said, “just 4, you’ll want more”. After a few weeks on the forum asking questions and discovering what was available, I ended up as a fully paid-up member of the Chicken Math club.
As I had originally planned, I ordered 4 ready to lay 20-week old hybrid hens from my local feed store. During the wait and many hours spent on the forum, I decided to also order 6 Chantecler Chicks and 6 Ridley Bronze Turkeys from a hatchery.
The 4 hybrid hens were in the coop in early April. A month later I went to Performance Poultry to pick up my day olds and young turkeys. I was in there no more than 5 minutes and walked out with my order plus 6 Dominique day olds. So my initial plan of 4 hens had jumped to 16 chickens and 6 turkeys in just a couple of months.
After 3 years and the purchase of an incubator, it jumped to 60+ chickens, 10 ‘ish turkeys, 4 geese and 12 ducks. I’m OK now, I’ve got everything under control. Now I have just a handful of chickens, well three handfuls, and 8 turkeys.
So this is what you do (I think). Make a plan and try and stick to it. If that doesn’t work, go out and buy everything you like and then some more. After a year of feeding, watering, cleaning in all kinds of weather you’ll realise it’s too much work. So then you’ll sell some birds and settle at the perfect amount for you. Then, and only then can you laugh when someone says “I only want 4 hens”.
Be warned, Chicken Math is real.