I am not going to lie. It was hard to go to sleep last night. Where were our chicks? They couldn’t be in Ohio but the tracking was not updated. The temperatures were dipping to 36 degrees and all I could think about were my poor chicks. Huddled together in a box, bouncing around on some truck or worse yet, sitting inside a drafty warehouse. I think I finally dozed off at 12:30am only to wake to a vibration. My sister was texting me. “Chicks?” It was 4:20am! I then noticed I had a text message from USPS at 1:17am. They were processed at the St. Paul, MN facility at 8:39pm and departed at 11:21pm. The eagle has landed! They are here. Wait a minute…. It is 4:20am – 5 hours from that email. St. Paul is not more than 30 minutes away. My fears were coming true. They are sitting on a truck or in a warehouse. What should I do?! I had not received my 4am phone call yet. Should I risk going down and getting them? It kinda felt like a Criminal Minds episode waiting to happen if I go down there at 4 am alone…. The annex office is located in an industrial area by a storage unit facility (sounds like Season 2 episode 9) Hmm….. Instead I decided to be more like CSI and Googled the USPS annex office’s phone number. I called and asked if my chicks were there. “Is this Deven?” she asked. Yes! It was the gal I spoke to at the post office on Monday. She remembered me. “No, your chicks aren’t here yet”. I could feel my whole body sink. “But, I received tracking information that they left St Paul last night”. She then said, “Wait, we just received another shipment” (pause) They are here! And so are some ducks.” My shrunken body stretched twice its size. “Can I come right now”. I don’t even think I heard her say yes when I hung up because I was not taking no for an answer. As for the ducks, unfortunately, I don’t know who they belonged to. I am not friends with all poultry lovers in my area….yet.
All sense of fear left me as I pulled into the annex driveway. I jumped out of my car, unlocked all the car doors, left it running – unlocked – and rang the doorbell to the building. Hailey, the postal employee, opened the door and invited me to the back. I did not hear peeps. I saw the box on the table and asked if she peeked in on them. She said she had and I asked the fated question, “Are they all alive?” She seemed almost excited as I was and confirmed, yes they were. Whew!!! We also peeked in on the ducks who were packed like sardines in their box. Someone ordered a lot of ducks in a little box. But, they were not my concern. I needed to get the chicks home, feed, and warm.
It is amazing to think of the journey these gals have taken to get to our home. They are hatched and packaged in the same day then shipped in a box with artificial warmth to a new location. Here is an image of their shipping box. Notice the shipping label on the right that says Priority Mail Express 1-Day. More like 37 hour delivery! I digress….
It actually looks very comfy. It is packed like a nest with insulating fibers with a warming pack underneath them. Aren’t they cute peeking out of the box?!
The first thing I did was count them — as any new mom would count fingers and toes —- I made sure that 6 were in there. Then I took each one, dipped their beaks in a sugar-water solution (for energy) and placed them in the brooder. Let me tell you, it is the cutest thing to watch a baby chick drink. They take the water in the beak, then tip their head in the air and literally, throw it back.
I purchased GroGel B – a vitamin powder you mix with water that turns into a jelly like vitamin packed supplement to get them off to the right start. I mixed the powder, let it gel, and put it in the brooder.
Nothing. They wanted nothing to do with it. Instead they attacked the feeder with veracity. The poor babies were starving. I dropped some marbles in their water to stimulate them to peck and discover that there was water in there. They spent the first 2 hours drinking, eating and pecking. Their loud peeps have now changed to almost a low murmur in the brooder. I keep getting up to check and count them. Are they huddled in a corner away from the heat lamp because they are too hot? Are then huddled directly underneath it because they are too cold? Sounds like deleted scenes from Goldilocks and the Three Bears doesn’t it? Neither, they were all mixed around the brooder telling me it was “just right” at 93 degrees.
On the plus side, my prey driven dogs haven’t even blinked at the sound and smell of the chicks. Don’t get me wrong. I don’t plan on a welcoming party for the dogs and chicks. I am just elated they are not barking incessantly at them. In fact, I think they are embracing them. Or at least their heat lamp. The residual rays from the lap seem to strategically shine into one of their dog beds. I would say their temperature is just right as well. Nap time