Next Time I'll "Chick" With My Husband
Last week, a not-quite-7A.M. phone call came from Drew (who was in Nebraska).
“Annie, the post office just called to say that the chicks are here.”
“What????” (now fully awake)
“Annie, did we order chicks?”
“Well, yeah, but they weren’t supposed to come for another WEEK!”
“Did I know that we ordered chicks?”
“I’m pretty sure I told ….didn’t we have a conversa….you said….. anyway, I guess I better go get them. Oh my gosh! They are a week early! I don’t have anything ready!!!!!”
“How many did we get?”
“Gotta go, babe. Love you!”
Anyone who knows me would not be surprised to find out that I ordered 40 chicks:
1. Without checking one more time that Drew and I were on the same page about this plan.
2. Before I checked to make sure that we had the equipment and setup for starting backyard chickens.
3. Not worried a bit about my lack of preparation!
So, at 7 o’clock, I picked up 40 very loud chicks from our local post office, much to the relief of those sorting the mail. So, the chicks and I drove all over our town… and the next town furiously trying to gather the supplies.
– peat moss (for bedding) ……..check
– medicated chick feed ………..check
– heat lamps (2)…………..bought one and Drew’s folks had another…….check (note on that, though. I found out AFTER I had bought a $16 red heat bulb, that white is just as good and about half the price!)
– OH! feeders and waterers!………… once again, Drew’s folks, thank goodness………….check
– medication to put in the water…………… nope
So, finally, back at home, now at 9:30, I unload the lamps and peat moss into the chicken coop that I spent most of a day cleaning out. “Alright, now where’s the outlet for the lamps?”
NO ELECTRICITY IN THE CHICKEN COOP! WHAT????????
Ok, plan B. By this time, I was appologizing to the chicks and begging them not to die, that I was trying really hard to get them a home.
So, I rigged up a pen in the big shed.
Not much to look at, but it works! I was really impressed with myself. Screen doors over the top keep animals out, and a towel stuffed into the little slots between the screen doors takes care of snakes.
I also called Drew’s farming buddies and made them come out and make sure that I wasn’t going to burn Drew’s shed down somehow. (I figured that would make the whole not-checking-before-ordering-40-chicks thing worse.)
The medication that you’re supposed to put into the chicks water to keep them from getting Coccidiosis was not available at our coop, so I called Debbie and made her look up other options. And, as it turns out, vinegar is a great, and cheap substitute. (I put 1 Tablespoon per quart in of raw apple cider vinegar and 1 Tablespoon per gallon of molassas, to offset the traveling shock).
So……. at 12 o’clock, I had soaked the feeders and waterers in bleach, rinsed and filled them, spread the peat moss down, and opened my tiny mail-order box with 40 peeping babies.
THEY WERE ALIVE!
After dipping each beak in water, I just sat back and watched for about ten minutes, admiring my ability to totally roll with the punches and making mental notes to NEVER be unprepared again!
Jack was so confused. He didn’t know if he was supposed to protect them or eat them, so I got one out. He looked at me, then at the chick, and gently placed his mouth over it. I, of course, told him “no.” After that, he was content just to watch over them.
Here is a comparison-picture of the chicks.
They grow so fast! They already have adult feathers coming in. We lost 2, but that is normal. They actually sent us 2 extra, so, to date, we have 40 (FORTY!) healthy chicks.