The New Arrivals…

The baby chicks arrived safe and sound yesterday morning!  They made their journey from a hatchery in Ohio, to our house in Georgia, in about 40 hours.  (What a way to begin their first day and a half of life!)  The post office called me to pick them up just after 8 a.m.  I could hear my babies chirping in the background, so I knew[at least] some of them had survived the trip!

I quickly filled the chick dispensers with food and water, turned on the heat lamp in the brooder box, then headed for the post office.  The post office had only been open for 10 minutes when I arrived to pick up my new baby ‘girls’.

After filling out and signing a little paperwork, I was soon headed back home with my new babies.  On the way home, I prayed I wouldn’t discover any dead little bodies when I opened the tiny box. The baby chicks chirped during the entire trip, and I marveled at what a sweet sound they make.  I noticed one chick chirped much louder than the rest, who seemed to be chirping in sweet harmony.

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 box of chicks, before I opened it

Upon arriving home, I took a deep breath and prepared to open the box, which turned out to be a somewhat difficult task. Once I removed the four staples holding the end flaps down, I removed the lid, then let out a sigh as I admired what was inside! There in the box were eight precious baby chicks, all living and breathing! God had answered my prayers.

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 chicks immediately after I opened the box

The baby chicks were nestled in a bed of straw-like material, and the inside of the box was surprisingly warm to the touch.  I’d worried that they might be cold during their journey, but they seemed to be okay.

The chicks hadn’t seen the light of day since they were hatched, on Monday, so it took them a few moments to become acclimated to their new surroundings.  I quickly picked each one up, and examined it before gently placing it into the warm brooder.

Before I put each chick down into the brooder, I dipped its beak into the drinking water, to show them what water is.  Some began drinking immediately, while others were a little slower to catch on.  Within thirty minutes, everyone was eating and drinking.  What a miracle, that each chick somehow knew what to do!

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 chicks warming up under the red infrared heat lamp 

Upon opening the box, I noticed one chick appeared to be a little smaller than the others.  This chick was the last one to drink and eat, and was a little unsteady on its feet for part of the day.  This chick will probably be the runt of the flock, and will probably be the last in pecking order, if it survives.

Much of  yesterday was spent going back and forth,  trying to regulate the temperature of the brooder, and trying to keep the chick’s water supply clean. (They’re not choosy where they poop!) By mid-afternoon, after changing to a larger watt bulb, I finally manged to stabilize the temperature around the light to around 95 degrees.  Keeping the water clean will be an ongoing process!

I’ve read that chicks bond with the first thing they see, after hatching, and will consider this thing their mother.  This might be true, because the chicks seem to have no fear of me at all. (The chicks I previously bought at Tractor Supply were afraid of me, at first.)  The book Are You My Mother? comes to mind 🙂

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chicks doing what they do best–eating and drinking

Yesterday, the chicks ate and drank a lot!  In fact, they ate and drank more than they slept.  As they continued to eat, I could almost see them growing, believe it or not.  Wing feathers are already beginning to sprout and grow.  These babies won’t say little and fuzzy for very long!

The new flock consists of three different breeds of chickens.  There are three Australorps (black chickens), three Plymouth Barred Rocks (black/white speckled chickens), and two Delawares (white chickens, with just a touch of black).  All of the chicks are supposed to be females! (there’s a 10% chance of sexing error)

Personalities are already beginning to emerge, and it appears that the two white Delawares are going to be smart and feisty. I’ve read a few reviews about Delawares being a bit aggressive to other chickens, but I read some very good reviews about them, too.  I decided to take a chance.  I sure hope these don’t turn out to be ‘mean girls’!  Worse yet, I hope they don’t turn out to be ‘mean boys’!  There’s nothing meaner than a white rooster!  I’ll keep you posted with future developments 🙂

Morning update:  I’ve discovered who my loud chirper is, and it’s turned out to be one of those feisty Delawares!  (Wouldn’t you know?)  She woke me up at 1:30 this morning.  When I went to see who was making the fuss, there she was–standing among all of her sleeping sisters, while chirping at the top of her lungs!  I’ve decided to call this lively one, ‘Della’. (short for Delaware)  I’ll call her sister, ‘Dixie’. (short for Dixie Chick)

The smallest baby chick is still with me, and I’m hoping she will catch up and begin to thrive.  Any suggestions for a name?  If she makes it, she’ll grow up to look like this:

plymouth_rock_hen_std

That’s about it for today’s news on ‘the new arrivals’.  I’m sure more news will follow…

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Published in: on September 11, 2014 at 9:27 am  Comments (6)  
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6 CommentsLeave a comment

  1. Awwww they are so cute and a lot of work.
    People from Delaware can be a bit fuesty too, we live 10 minutes from the state line.
    I hope they all thrive, especially the little one.

  2. Della and Dixie are cute names. How about Pixie for the little one?

  3. How absolutely exciting!! I am so looking forward to your updates!! Do the chicks learn their names – if you say their name, do they acknowledge you? I know nothing about them.

  4. How stinkin’ cute are those?! I always want chickens when I see posts like this. Until I read posts about them dying and then, not so much. 🙂

  5. Wow! And there I was excited that I received three live plants for my garden in the mail yesterday! I’m wondering if the post offices in your neck of the woods are used to live shipments

  6. How exciting…..they are so cute. What a huge undertaking for you but I know your heart is all in and they will thrive with your care. Have fun!


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