Chick Arrival!

Saturday, June 23, 2012

baby chicks

Actually they arrived early yesterday morning. My friend and fellow poultry raiser, Angela, was kind enough to let me tack on my 15 to her order. So, yesterday morning more than 50 peeping, fluffy chicks were delivered by the US Postal Service to the Post Office in our area. After they arrived, Angela and her kids set about the task of removing each chick from the shipping box and making sure they got a good drink of water and something to eat. They were then nestled in the warmth of their brooder box until each new owner picked them up. Angela left me a message that our future dinner entrees had arrived, but work and meetings and errands and dinner with my daughter prevented me from picking them up until late in the evening.

I finally arrived at Angela’s house about 8:00pm. The chicks were warm and snuggled in for the night. I almost hated to disturb them, but we did. We grabbed a small box and one-by-one lifted 15 drowsy chicks out of the brooder and into the box that would carry them the 6 miles to their new (and final) home. By then it was almost 9:00 and Angela had kids to put to bed. So, with a round of thank yous and a bit of chit chat as we walked back to my truck we said good-bye.

The drive home was quiet, the chicks barely made a noise. I’m not sure if it was the unfamiliar surroundings, the darkness of their transport box or their own exhaustion from a busy day.

Once home, Brianne and I quickly transferred the chicks from the transport box into the brooder box that would be their home for the next few weeks. When we set in the water font and the feed trough filled to the brim with Chick Starter the chicks became more active, running from water to food and back again. When the heat lamb went on and the box warmed up the chicks began to settle down and within a few minutes they were piling on top of each other and settling in for a good nights sleep.

When it comes to brooding chicks or ducklings or even goslings my preference is function over fashion. There are plenty of fancy set-ups on the market, but I tend to make things pretty simple; a good sized cardboard box that gives them plenty of room to move around and grow, a heat lamp or two for warmth, a one-gallon water font to provide plenty of clean fresh water and a long chick feeder that allows them to get at the feed easily, but keeps them from playing in it is all one needs to brood any of our feathered friends. The box sits high on a work bench in the garage making it easy to access, but is off the cold floor and away from drafts that can chill the young chicks.

That’s it…all function, no fashion. And, when the chicks are moved out to the barn, the bedding is dumped into the compost bin and the box is either used as a weed barrier in garden paths or cut up and put in the recycle bin. I like this method because I don’t have a cumbersome brooder that is hard to store.

I have always had good experiences raising our own meat chickens. They are easy to care for and don’t require a lot of time. Best of all I’ll have a freezer full of homegrown meat by the beginning of August. Time and energy well spent, I think.

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