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?
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.
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.
"No one has been traumatized by a chicken or tried to lick something they shouldn't or attempted to eat packing peanuts so I consider it a win. Also since starting at this job I've had air conditioning every day, nothing has burned down, and nobody has been bayonetted so I consider it a step up from the last one"
- Catherine Dobbs on describing her day
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.)