Our First Two Weeks with 20 Chicks
Today marks exactly two weeks of owning and caring for 20 chicks (for the first time ever!!). Two Fridays ago (on March 11), our 20 peeps arrived via mail at the post office in a small box with some holes in it.
It is pretty amazing to me that 20 brand new beings (birds or what have you!) could be shipped in that small of a box through who knows what environment and all survive the journey, but they did! Our birds hatched two days before being shipped to us, so they arrived adorably fuzzy and tiny.
We went with White Plymouth Rocks as a breed because they are good for both egg-laying and as meat birds, and we could get the heritage version of them (chickens that are not selectively bread for production-related characteristics). We had originally planned to order Rhode Island Reds, but when we went to place our order, only production versions were available. We ordered our peeps through the Cackle Hatchery (www.cacklehatchery.com). They had good reviews and excellent directions on their website for first-time chick owners.
When the chicks arrive, they are hungry, thirsty, and need to be warmed up. We set their area up the night before to make for a quick transfer into their new home when they arrived the next day. We bought a basic heat lamp, feeder and waterer from Southern States.
The heat lamp is kept in one corner of their area (we used a cardboard box…Logan has been ordering tons of items online lately so we happened to have a huge cardboard box that would work perfectly,) so that the chicks can lay under it to warm up but still escape the warmth if they want to.
Within the last few days, I have noticed many of them are beginning to form ridges on top of their beaks. They have also gotten a lot feistier…some days they will freak out when you go into their room and occasionally try to peck you when you stick your hands in their box. I often wonder if the ones that come forward and do this will be roosters (we don’t know how many of each sex we’ve got as we got a “straight run”). I usually use a glove to handle them for this reason. The pecking does not hurt, but it can still be a little nerve-racking to have anything trying to peck or bite at you, so I personally prefer to use a glove.
Right now, we are keeping them in our spare bedroom in our house, safe from some of the lingering cold days outside and our two dogs inside. They have all but outgrown their box so we will be adding onto it this evening. We are calling it “chick mansion.” Soon, all their feathers will be in and they will be taken out to the coop to enjoy the fast-approaching spring weather! Wow, this hippie homestead is really starting to feel like a real farm!