Monday, May 13, 2013


last week, i popped into the post office to let them know
1.  we were expecting a shipment of bees
2.  we were expecting a box of chicks
and asked if they would ring us when they arrived

early this morning, the call arrived
there was a peeping box at the post office with our name on it

yesterday, we took the time to get the "nursery" together.  no pink paint, or cute crib bumper, but all the things we need for an appropriate brooder
large galvanized tank
pine shavings
brooder light
chick starter food
(organic--not that easy to find)

so we were ready

while mike drove to the post office
i threw on the brooder light to heat up their space
mixed up some sugar water
fixed a bowl of warm water to clean chick bums
and waiting for the arrival

the chicks come in regular mail
in a box
packed the day they were born

the odds of one or two not making the journey alive
are high
particularly since
we have been experiencing extreme heat

i was sort of afraid to open the box

good news
all the chicks made it
some seemed stronger than others
but they all looked pretty good

one by one we took them out of the box and checked them out

we lined the pen with newspaper and scattered some feed on it, as we didn't want the chicks to have to search for food upon arrival.  they were starving and ate voraciously
i also had been advised to dip the beak of each chick in the water, so they get a taste of it, and are able to easily find it again

it took about 1/2 hour to get them all settled in

the thing about chicks is that they like to plop down, fully splayed out to warm up and nap
to me
it looked like they were dead
i stared at them for the first few hours
nudging them as they bedded down
and then we (mike and i) took turns checking on them every 30 minutes

it is important that they
have enough food
have enough water
have enough warmth--but not too much

we tried a number of configurations of the heat lamp
until we had a hot spot, a warm spot and a cool spot
so the chicks could move around freely, finding their perfect temperature

they seem to be content
and we are really enjoying watching them play
racing across the pen at top speed
for no apparent reason

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