Chicken math, the struggle is real! Chicken math happens when one gets out of control and cannot stop adding new flock members.
How Many Chickens for A Family of 6?
It will depend on many factors about your yard, finances, your coop, current family members, your egg consumption, your available time, your love for chickens, and more!
The answer will vary from family to family. That’s why we wanted to look at all the factors individually. Once you know what to consider, you’ll be able to make a wise decision on what’s right for your family.
Before we get too far into detail, we first have to discuss chicken math.
So What Exactly is Chicken Math?
Chicken math doesn’t make much sense, and it’s not intended to. It’s essentially a way for obsessed chicken people to cover up their impulsive new additions to the flock.
It is an unexplained phenomenon of chicken addition and multiplication. In essence, it says that a group of five or ten chickens is one chicken. So if someone asks you how many chickens you have, and you have somewhere in the thirties, your response would be about twelve.
Once you catch the chicken math fever, there is no turning back.
Why is it Tough to Give an Exact Number Fit for Any Family Size?
When asking for an estimation of how many chickens would be perfect for your family, answering this is tough. Many factors come into play. Every person, family, living quarters, and the location is different. Are eggs for everyone your main concern?
Eggs for 6
Eggs are one of the most significant parts of owning chickens. So, for a family of 6, you need to decide how many eggs per week you need or want.
Does your family eat eggs for breakfast every day? Do you want to save money and not have to purchase them at the grocery store?
Maybe you share them with your extended family members?
Things change daily, and some will have eggs religiously every day. Some only eat eggs on the weekend, and some tend to switch it out. A week’s time allows for plenty of time for you to figure out an average of how many eggs weekly your family consumes.
Do you cook meals with eggs included? If you aren’t digging into scrambled eggs and omelets every morning, are you whipping up pancake batter with eggs? Do you or anyone else in the house bake with eggs?
Once you have some idea of how many eggs you need, then you can look into chickens. If you determine that your family of 6 uses about two dozen eggs per week, you must look at how many eggs one chicken lays per week.
Among breeds of chickens, the number of eggs they lay vary. Some breeds are better layers than others. Breeds like White Leghorns, Buff Orpingtons, and Rhode Island Reds lay anywhere from two hundred and fifty to three hundred eggs per year!
If you opt for chickens from these breeds, you can expect to get an egg 200 days out of 365 days in a year. This equates to 1/2 egg a day per chicken.
However, then you must factor in that chickens may not lay in times of molting, stress, weather changes, and other factors. As hens age, they also lay less.
Going off of the 1/2 an egg per day, you would need about seven hens to meet your goal of two dozen eggs weekly for your family.
How Much Space Do You Have?
Are you planning on free-ranging your chickens? If so, do you have the right yard setup? Do you have enough space and shaded areas with hiding areas from aerial predators such as hawks and owls?
Are you able to put up a fence to keep your chickens in your yard and out of your neighbors?
Do you live in the city limits? If so, then you’ll want to find out what the ordinances are for owning chickens. Every city and state will have its own rules and regulations.
How Big is Your Coop?
If you plan on sticking firm to the number of chickens you have, then having a coop that fits just your current or planned on the number of chickens is excellent.
Inside the coop, chickens each need about 3 square feet. This would mean that your coop needs to have at least 21 square feet of space for seven hens.
If you go with the minimum size required, chicken math cannot come into play here, and you cannot add any more without risking overcrowding.
Will All Your Family Members Help Care for The Chickens?
Will your family members be okay with having new flock members in the yard? Are they up for the challenge of raising chickens? Find out whether raising chickens is a lot of work and what’s expected of you.
Some people love the fresh taste of farm-fresh eggs, and others tend not to be able to eat eggs from their chickens. It is essential to have these conversations with your family before choosing to have chickens. Some people aren’t chicken people.
How Much Time Do All of You Have Available?
Chickens, while they are to be low-maintenance, do require some work. They have water containers that need to be refilled, food containers that need refilled, coop bedding that needs changing, eggs need to be collected daily, the chicken run must be sanitized, and the coops need thorough cleanings from time to time, and the list goes on.
It can be overwhelming for one person. If your kids are older, you need to agree that everyone will do their part and help out with the chores. Not only will this make raising backyard chickens easier, but it’s a great way to pass on some responsibility to your children.
Chickens are very social animals. They love and seek attention. Do you and your family members have the time available to dedicate to tending to your chickens?
How Much Do You Love Chickens?
Do you enjoy chickens enough to have them running around your yard all the time? If you plan on having roosters to protect your hens, are you prepared for the crowing?
It is essential to check your zoning restrictions where you live to determine whether or not you are allowed to have chickens because your rooster’s crow will surely give it away!
Let your neighbors know that you plan on getting some backyard chickens. The decision is yours on whether you get them. But letting your neighbors know what to expect can help keep the complaints to a minimum when they hear them crowing early in the mornings.
If you are a chicken lover, then get ready to fight the urge to get more continually!
What is Your Plan for Chickens?
If eggs for the family are your goal, then, as discussed previously, choosing an excellent laying breed is essential. Nothing beats fresh eggs on the breakfast table every morning!
If you are looking into owning chickens more for the companion aspect and having them as pets, you can look into the Bantam or smaller sized breeds to save on space if chicken math does come into play.
Chickens Cost Money
Taking into account your finances is also very important when deciding how many chickens to get.
While chicken feed, bedding, and the occasional chicken medicine are not outrageous in price, chicken coops and runs can be a pretty hefty start-up cost for a larger chicken coop. It’s essential to take into account any unexpected veterinary expenses from owning a flock of chickens.
You must make sure that you can budget for it. (You can always ask for it for a birthday present!)
While chickens do pay you back in “rent” via eggs, sometimes, when they are too young to lay or aren’t currently laying eggs, they are “free-loaders.”
You may want to consider getting some older chickens as well as young chicks to start. It will ensure you’re getting fresh eggs every morning from the beginning.
Keep in mind that any eggs you do not eat, you can sell or give away to family and friends in exchange for something else.
Will Chicken Math Strike?
For many, it is hard to have a few chickens. If you get those seven hens, you are bound to fall in love with the farm-fresh eggs, their quirky behavior, and how they fall in love with you. Chicken math is sure to ensue.
Chickens can learn to recognize and like you. This part of chicken keeping is addictive. Be prepared to fall in love and want more, if, of course, you are able.
A lot comes into play when determining what number of chickens will work best for your family of 6.
Factoring in time, money, how many eggs are needed and wanted, coop sizes, and more is essential. Chickens are fabulous, but you’ve been warned: they can be addictive. Be sure to sit down and plan, budget, and talk with your family before making any decisions!
Pro Tip: Do your research on chicken breeds! Different breeds have different things to offer. Some lay more eggs, some are more friendly, and some are more lively. Happy picking!