These Young Chicks…

They’re here!  After years of hoping and months of anticipation, chicks are in the house!  I am actually writing this while sitting next to the little peepers on a folding chair in the garage.  I cannot pull myself away from them.

I actually thought we missed the shipment yesterday since I didn’t get a shipping confirmation and the order acknowledgement said they could arrive Tuesday through Thursday so I sent the kids off to school and moved on with my day.

At 10:30, the phone rang and a post office employee barely identified herself before the realization hit me.  “Do you have chicks?”  I asked.  “Yes,” she replied.  “We’d like you to come as soon as possible because they are quite loud.”  This has been almost ten years in the making so when I recognized that this was actually going down, I’m slightly embarrassed to admit that I cried.

I raced to the garage to reassess my setup.  Yesterday, after tinkering with the heat lamp and monitoring the temperature, I decided that the box I had inside of the orange crate was too small, not allowing enough room for them to move away from the heat lamp if it got too warm. My husband kindly taped a big section of cardboard into place to section off the crate until they’re a little older and need more space.

IMG_8965
New set up:  the large orange crate is partitioned off allowing more room to move away from the heat lamp if needed but still restricting their space.  The box I initially placed in here just wasn’t large enough after further thought..  The water pail has three nipples on the bottom and the feeder contains starter feed.

 

I added water to the two gallon water pail and hung it in place.  Then I filled the chick feeder with starter food.  I placed newspaper on the bottom of the orange crate we’re using for their temporary housing and added paper towels on top of that to help them grip and get their bearings.

With the heat lamp heating up, I made the short drive to the post office where the sound of peeps was all you could hear when the sliding doors opened.  Of course, this close to tax day, there was a line.  Everyone in line seemed to need to mention the sound of the chicks and when I finally got my turn and announced the reason for my visit, the kind clerk turned around to where they were keeping the box safely at hand, away from any danger, and presented me with my eight little peepers.  I had tears in my eyes and it seemed everyone there was laughing.

I gingerly drove home to find the heat lamp at a balmy 95 degrees- perfect.  I carefully removed the lid from the peeping box and found my eight little gems huddled together in a corner looking at me wearily.  I lifted each chick from the box, checked her vent for pasty butt and then tapped her beak onto the nipple of the watering pail.  I wasn’t convinced that they understood the concept so I placed a shallow bowl with marbles in the box and added water but I ended up removing it shortly thereafter because the chicks made their way back to the water pail and began pecking at the nipples, releasing water droplets.   Smart girls!

IMG_8967
Moving in day

 

IMG_9008.JPG
My packing slip, although I wouldn’t know if there were an error since they will look quite differently than they look now once their feathers come in.

 

Since that went so well, I took each chick over to the feeder and before I knew it, eating and drinking ensued in the manner you’d expect of a hungry newborn after a day of travel and the stress associated with that.  I’ve taken too many pictures of essentially the same view:  chicks being chicks but that’s just part of the fun.

IMG_9016
They love the nipples on the water pail, pecking and drinking at will, having figured it out within minutes of introduction.

 

IMG_8989
Once the food was discovered, they realized that they were hungry.  The little one in the foreground actually only made it a few steps from the feeding trough before passing out.

 

It is so endearing to hear their little peeps and watch their interactions with one another.  When one finds something of interest, a kernel of feed mind you, not unlike the thousands of others in the feeder, they all race over to investigate.  The water pail has three nipples on the bottom to disperse water on demand yet once a chick pecks at one and releases water, that’s the only one of interest and they gather around like kids in a line, pushing each other out of the way to access that very nipple when two others are available.  Just like a toddler, they happily wander around, then suddenly drop and fall asleep.   That is, until someone steps on their head, bumps them or disturbs them in some other abrupt manner.  They are demonstrating the epitome of cat napping, with less than one minute intervals of shut eye.  So stinking cute!

IMG_9004
After an exhausting day of travel and new home acquisition, just walking around exploring can be tiring.  These girls literally dropped and fell asleep, for all of 30 seconds.

 

I really need to tear myself away from here, specifically to check on my bees since it’s sunny and 60 degrees here today, and to begin spreading the five yards of mulch I had delivered, but I think I can spare a few more minutes after such a long wait.  Besides, they are in need of a mother hen and I think I’m up for the challenge!

IMG_9012
My son has already named this girl Bumble because her coloring reminds him of a bumble bee and the Buff Orpington has earned the name Honey since her coloring resembles honey. 

 

 

IMG_9014
My daughter has identified about twenty names so far, but this girl is Smores

 

 

 

2 thoughts on “These Young Chicks…

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s