Wednesday morning on the way to work, Ryan got a call from the post office in our small town. Our chicks had arrived from the hatchery in Missouri. He turned around and decided to take the day off to help get the chicks settled. While at the post office, the man behind the counter told Ryan that one of his mail carriers had recognized our last name on the chick box and had remarked that we just put out a cute, new, chicken mailbox, which she got a kick out of! That was fun to hear. Ryan picked up our chicks, grabbed some coffee to help celebrate the occasion and returned home to a waiting and excited crowd.
I have to say, when I saw Ryan carrying in the box of chicks I thought, “That’s it?” We ordered 75 birds and all he brought in was one measly box. Upon opening the box, we realized the hatchery didn’t ship our 30 broilers. Disappointing! The hatchery apologized for their mistake and sent our broilers out immediately. We’ll pick them up from the post office on Friday morning.
One of our chicks was dead on arrival. Poor little thing. They have quite a rough start in life. As soon as they hatch they get placed into a box and spend the next two days being shipped across a few states. By the time they reach us they are cold, hungry and thirsty. Cackle Hatchery, where we purchased our chicks, threw a handful of extra chicks into our box to cover any losses. We ordered 45 birds (minus the 30 broilers) and we now have 48. Bonus!
Besides the one unfortunate chick, all the others were active, hearty and healthy-looking straight out of the box. We placed them in their brooders and they immediately began eating and drinking. The ducklings were, and remain, especially active and entertaining. They are also the cutest, in my opinion, and most difficult to snuggle!
We were warned turkey poults are fragile and may not do well. We have ours with our ducklings at the moment, which we later read is a no-no, and all seem to be doing very well. The turkeys appear active and thriving to me. I think they copy the ducklings! They enjoy piling into a corner with the ducklings and napping. We notice the ducklings will occasionally sleep right next to the waterer with their bill resting on the rim, and before long, we could see turkeys lying down next to the ducklings, resting their beaks on the waterer, too! The turkeys are especially cuddly and thus, quickly becoming the kids’ favorite. The kids enjoy snuggling the poults in their laps and watching them fall asleep in their hands. They have named each one and somehow are able to tell them apart. When the turkeys sleep in the box, I have to pause and check for signs of breathing because they look as if they have expired! See what I mean?
We’ve only had one small issue with a couple of chicks. It began with our Welsummer rooster. The naughty little bully was pecking at the other chicks’ eyes. We removed him from the chick box and placed him in with the ducklings and turkeys, as they are bigger and, in the case of the ducklings, more boisterous. He would occasionally still peck at the turkeys and even pull them over by pulling on their eyelids. Unacceptable! We quickly located another small box and isolated the little deviant in the “naughty box.” He remained all alone in the naughty box for the rest of the day, until we noticed a Dominque chick (a hen) beginning to go after other chicks’ eyes. She promptly found herself in the naughty box, as well. We watched the two carefully. At first, the Welsummer rooster (the kids have named him Dr. Claw) began to peck at his new roommate. We decided not to intervene and he soon moved on to a different activity, sleeping. After a few more minutes, the Dominique began to peck at Dr. Claw’s eyes. Again, we did not intervene. We figured maybe the two needed to feel the effects of this action for themselves. Apparently, our behavior reform program is a huge success because now the two snuggle together and coexist quite peacefully! I have seen no more pecking from either one. I’m not sure when we’ll allow our rehabilitated chicks to re-enter the fold, but I feel they should be kept separate for a bit longer.
It’s so fun to have baby poultry on the farm! What is cuter than ducklings and chicks? I also love watching the kids interact with and care for the new babies. I couldn’t even pull them away to help with outdoor animal chores this morning. Guess who got stuck doing chores all by herself? Yep, me! Being outdoors and doing chores on a farm is like therapy, though. I’m convinced we’d see much less mental and emotional issues if everyone was outside each day, breathing fresh air, working in the soil and interacting with creation.