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How can I count my chickens?

 
Posts: 65
Location: Eddington, Maine
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My question is just what the subject says. How can I count my chickens?

At first glance, this may seem like a stupid question, but I have approximately 30 chickens. I lost 1 for sure (EDIT - lost it to a fox), because it was one of 2 juveniles I had. I think I lost a full grown hen, but I'm not sure. Why, you ask? Because they are all black australorps. When they are in the run they are constantly moving and I can't count that high before they move and mess up my counting. At night they snuggle in so close to each other, I have trouble telling where one chicken ends and the next begins. When I close the coop door to move things, and let them out, there is such a flurry of chickens flying out that I can't count them as they come out either.

Is there a secret I don't know about for counting chickens? Or is it just a manual process of forcing them to come out 1 at a time, or catching them and putting them in a separate pen or something?
 
gardener
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on the roost at night is probably easiest. you should at least be able to feel where one ends and the next begins…also our pop-door is pretty small, so they can come out a maximum of two at a time. so it’s pretty easy to count them as they come out.
 
pollinator
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Take a photo and then count them in the photo.  Just need to make sure you can get an angle that shows all of them.

Or count them at night when they're roosting in the coop, assuming they all go in rather than hiding in the brush.
 
Matt McSpadden
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Unfortunately feeling them at night is not really an option. The door is 2x2 so I don't exactly fit and the coop is 6x6 so I can't reach back as far as they are.

I like the idea of taking a picture and then counting them. That seems like a really easy solution.
 
master steward
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I remember reading a solution where a person would count them in the morning.  It went something like this, let 10 chickens out of the house, then the next 10, etc.  

Maybe this would work for you.
 
pollinator
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It might also be an idea to ring them so you can tell them apart, you can get different colours so you can mark each age so you can see them at a glance.
 
pollinator
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Howdy!
I count my chickens at night, when they've gone to roost. Taking a picture of them at that point should be easy.

My birds roost in the open - kind of. I had brooded the oldest of the flock in a very cheap portable greenhouse that came with a plastic covering, which got immediately switched for hardware cloth and a tarp. I haven't been able to convince them to roost anywhere else, so it's easy to count them.
I'm in the process of trying to find a different solution as the cheap aluminum/really cheap iron/steel has started to rust through quite dramatically.
For the time, at least, they are easy to find and count.

I hope you find a solution that works well for you.
 
gardener
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Do you feed you're birds pellets or treats?  If so, if you organized something easy to pour and dribbled a line of it down your run, they'd all start pecking at it, and there's better odds you could get a decent count.  I'm usually counting less than 20, but sometimes I simply drop handfuls of pellets in several spots, the birds make a ring around each handful and that keeps them still enough and separate enough for several fast counts - or maybe, then take that picture others suggested? (I never trust a single count - I need at least 2 that agree to trust it.)
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