It was a typical Tuesday morning at 1840 Farm. I was 90 minutes into a tomato soup canning session when the phone rang. When I picked it up, I could immediately hear the “cheep, cheep, cheep” in the background as a not very impressed postal employee informed me that I needed to come pick up my chicks. I could tell from the tone of his voice that he wanted me there yesterday.
So, hot water bath canner bubbling on the stove, I calmly told him, “I’ll be there in thirty minutes!” I raced to the garage to set up their new home. I wasn’t expecting for them to arrive until later this week, but luckily we had already gathered the necessary supplies. I ran back into the house, turned the heat off under the canning pot, set the timer for five minutes and watched the time tick down. There was nothing that I could do but wait and hope that they would still be “peeping” when I got there.
They were. As soon as I entered the post office, I could hear them from the back room. I waited my turn and told them that I was there for the baby chicks. They never asked my name. They didn’t ask to see any form of identification. They quickly handed over the baby chicks. They were happy to see my pick up my package and head for the door. I can tell you that I got a lot of interesting glances as I was walking out to my car. People tend to stare when you are carrying a package the size of a child’s shoe box that is peeping.
We ordered our heritage breed chicks from My Pet Chicken. They were great about offering resources for first time chicken keepers. They kept recommending not to open the box in front of children as a few of them might not have made the journey and lived to peep about it. So, I knew what I needed to do. I carefully cut the strapping tape away from three of the sides. I gently lifted the lid and tried to count the little fluff balls inside.
One, two, three, four, five, six, seven, eight! They had all made it. Now to get them home and settled in. My daughter couldn’t wait to get them out of the box and into their little warm brooder. We opened the box and two hopped right out into the pine shavings. The rest of them quickly decided that living in their little shipping box forever seemed like a good idea. Finally, with a little encouragement, they gently set foot into their new space.
We watched them with bated breath. Would they drink? Would they eat? Were they warm enough? Too warm? Who knew that chicken keeping was this difficult? I carefully picked each chick up and dipped its beak into the waterer. Some happily drank water while others immediately pulled their beaks out of the water as if they were being waterboarded. Those chicks ran away from the water to the safety of the opposite corner of the brooder. They were definitely keeping an eye on me. I was not to be trusted.
That was, until I brought more food. Then I was back in their good graces as they all investigated their surroundings, had a snack, and settled in under the heat lamp for a well deserved nap. They were exhausted from their journey. I was certainly exhausted from mine.