This morning I received the email I had been waiting for…. The chicks have shipped!
All I could think was that I HAD to get to our post office and let them know I was expecting….. my baby chicks. As I was en route, I realized I was showing up with nothing. No copy of the invoice, no written down cell phone number. Nothing. Thankfully, the post office wasn’t busy so I walked straight to the counter. “I just received notification that my order of baby chicks was shipped today Priority Express and wanted to let you know to expect a box of chicks in the next few days”. The postal worker said, “I am sure they will be here tomorrow”. I felt weak kneed. Tomorrow!! She said I would need to pick them up at the other location. I didn’t even know there was another USPS location in our city! I was immediately grateful for going down there today to avoid confusion tomorrow. I made sure to let them know that they can call me immediately when they come through the door and I will be there in 5 minutes, no matter what time. “They will more than likely unload at 4am”. 4am?! “Call me. I will come at 4am”. I couldn’t bear the idea of them coming in and sitting, waiting for me to wake up and pick them up. Plus, it is colder than normal in our area, rainy and just plain dreary. The ground is so saturated that we have lots of standing water – except in our run. Yeah! God Bless higher ground!
The chicks are shipping with temperatures under 50 degrees. That is very cold for babies that need to be kept at 95 degrees the first week of their life. They do ship together in a small box with a heating pad but I still worry about fatalities. They are newborn baby animals.
After squaring away the pick up instructions, I went home to set up the brooder – the place where they will stay until they move to the coop. Kind of like a baby nursery. The weekend was very busy with a dance recital and family in town so I planned on spending Sunday getting everything together and ready for our new additions. Little did I know that a stomach bug would affect 5 of the 6 family members thwarting my plans. My Sunday and Monday morning to late afternoon were spent caring for my family and disinfecting the house. I just love the smell of Lysol. Pete, on the other hand, hates it.
We are planning on brooding the chicks in a rabbit hutch I received from my dad’s best friend in our house for the first week. I am especially worried about the chicks well being for the first week because of the colder temperatures so for my peace of mind we will deal with it for a week until they transition to our garage. The hutch has an open wire front which I covered with a cardboard shield to keep the drafts out.
The inside is lined with a cardboard bottom, then newspaper and I will place paper towels on top until they eat and acclimate to their new home. I will then replace the towels with pine shavings.
It was tricky finding the right balance between where the heat lamp is placed and getting a 95 degree reading. I found the right place on the side where it is 95 degrees on the left side and about 90 degrees on the right. Since they are inside the first week, I can watch to make sure they aren’t too hot or too cold and adjust accordingly. I also made one last trip to Tractor Supply. I needed to buy Chick Grit to help them digest their food (later in the week) and picked up a magazine about planting herbs and plants for your chickens.
I plan on using some space in my garden for “my girls” so felt this would help me plan. I purchased medicated chick feed for my peace of mind as well. I don’t want to worry excessively that they will pick up an intestinal illness that will wipe them all out, leaving me chick-less. I plan on being diligent with their brooder cleaning but if this feed gives me one less thing to worry about, it is worth it. Now I can head to bed for my 4am wake up call. The chicks are coming! The chicks are coming!