I received notice Monday that the chicks were picked, boxed and shipped. After may months the chicks were finally on their way. I got the notice late in the afternoon and was not sure how quickly they would arrive. It was too late to talk to my local post office so I decided to contact them the next morning to discuss their arrival. When I got home that night I made sure I had their new abode all ready for them. It was recommended that sugar be added to the water to help with shipping stress so I took an old milk jug and mixed up a gallon and filled the coke bottle nipple waterers I had made. As I drifted off to sleep I wondered how soon they would arrive and was I really ready for them
I contacted my post office the next morning and advised I had ordered chicks and had been informed they had shipped. Told them I was not sure when they would arrive but wanted to give them a heads up. Ms. Wanda told me they had not arrived as they would have come in by now. She told me to expect them Wednesday. I asked if she would call me so I could come get them and she told me they would arrive really early. I told her that was no problem as I was up and around with getting ready for work and taking Spencer out for his morning business and romp.
When Wanda said they come early in the morning she was not kidding. I got a call at about 5:45 am letting me know they were there and I could come up to the back door and ring the bell to get them before the post office opened if I wanted. I told her I would be there shortly. So I threw on some sweat pants and decided Spencer needed a little riding in the car experience so we headed the 10 miles into town to get our new babies.
We got the box home and I poured some of their water into a small plastic container. I had turned on the heat tape before I left and inside their little hut was toasty and warm. When I opened box I found I had more than chicks.. I had a carton of cuteness unlike anything I had ever seen. All those fluffy little balls of fluff were just too adorable. I was surprised to find them all piled to one side.. every one was snuggled up together. After a few quick photos it was time to get them all settled in their new home.
One by one I took them out of the box and dipped their beak into the water and made sure they got a few swallows of water then put them under the hut to get warmed up. The hut is some 2″ x 4″ wire fence cut to about 2 feet in width and enough length to make a curved dome to cover the chicks. Then I took some 4″ wide reptile heating tape I am using under fish tanks to keep the tanks warm, and went over the top and across the bottom. My fish room shelves are 4 foot wide so the tapes are cut to a 4 foot length. This worked out to be pretty much what was needed to go around the hut.
You can see the heat tape to the right in the photo.. it is the striped thing above the light brown chick. The reason I went with the tape is I was not thrilled with using a heat lamp and having to adjust the level above the chicks as they grew. I had found a thread on the Back Yard Chicks forum that talked about using a heating pad and it worked like a broody hen. The theory is the chicks went about their business and when tired, scared or cold popped in under the hut like they would a mamma hen. . A lot of people had success with it and so I decided this would be the way I would do it.
When using the heat pad you had to make sure you got one that did not have an auto off and over time you had to reduce the setting. If I had not had the crazy car repair I would have bought a heat pad just for the chicks. Since I had to make do I pulled the tape out from under some tanks and worked on putting it on so that it would be protected and keep the area nice and warm. The tape is to the back of the wire hut, so the back of the hut us going to be a bit warmer than the front so they can self regulate what they need to be comfortable.
My chicks seem to like it. By the time I got them all out of the box the first few chicks were warmed up and running around exploring the new home. It did not take long for one to hit the water bottles and figure them out. Once one got to pecking at it the rest had to have a piece of the action as well. With in a few minutes all had gotten a good drink and it was time to scatter some feed for them to eat. Over the course of the day they got settled into a rhythm of sleep, get up and get a drink and then hunt around for food.
What surprised me was they all hung together. Either they are all under the hut together warming up or sleeping .. or they were all out running around. It will be very quiet and you will find every one is in the hut. Then one comes out for a drink and they all come flying out to drink then scratch around for a bit. Really is a lot of fun to watch them. A gnat flew in and was crazy to see the little fluff balls chasing it and trying to eat it. They are going to put a serious hurt on the grasshoppers and stink bugs and I can’t wait.
So far the chicks haven’t been much work.. more of a diversions from other things that need done.. lol. But I will be back to work tomorrow and will have to add a lot more feed before I leave for work as will be gone about 10 hours. The water will last fine but I have been throwing out a little feed here and there as I am feeding on the paper they are running around all over it right now. Going to give them a few days then I can add some litter and a feeder. When I get the feeder in there I should be able to add enough food to last all day. In the mean time I think I will add the feed around the outside edges of their enclosure so they are not running through it and pooping in it all day.
I knew I wanted chicks but still was not sure about what all was entailed in raising them. I am so glad I decided to get some and look forward to growing them up and getting that first egg. Until then I will just enjoy my special delivery box of cuteness.