As most of you know, I raise chickens, which lay delicious farm-fresh eggs. But chickens, just like everything else, eventually grow old and become less productive. Therefore, it's important to keep regenerating the chicken population by ordering new baby chicks. Because I prefer rare breeds, I get my chicks from Murray McMurray, the world's largest rare breed hatchery. And if you visit their Web site, you can get a virtual tour of the hatchery. It's quite interesting.
This time, I ordered 20 Araucanas, 10 Buff Orpingtons, 6 Silver Laced Wyandotte's, 6 Buff Minorca's, 10 Single Comb Brown Leghorns, 10 Pearl-white Leghorns, and 6 Black Star. The invoice says that they're all female - let's hope so. The chicks are just one day old when they are packaged and shipped. Because they are so young and fragile, it's important to be well-prepared for their arrival. The coop must be ready and waiting for the little peepers. Come and have a look.
1 This is how the chicks arrive at the post office - in a well-ventilated cardboard box. Chhiring went early in the morning to pick up the peeping parcel. This postal worker took good care of the special delivery.
2 The chicken coop was prepared in advance. The floor was lined with newspapers, the feeders readied with chick starter, the waterers filled, and the heat lamps on. The temperature should be 90 to 95 degrees for the first week.
3 The heat lamps cast a very warm glow.
4 The box is opened and the chicks are placed beneath the lamps to get nice and toasty.
5 If you could only hear how much noise these little chirpers make!
6 They look just like little fluffy Easter decorations.
7 Such beautiful markings on these little creatures.
8 The chicks are very thirsty when they arrive and giving them a taste of water right away helps them to find more water soon. Most baby bird loss is caused because the bird doesn't start to eat or drink.
9 In essence, Chhiring is the mother hen, teaching the chicks how to drink.
10 Once he is satisfied that the chicks can drink, Chhiring places them near the food.
11 The chicks are lined up on the feeders.
12 One by one - slowly, but surely
13 Each and every chick is given water and shown the food.
14 Unfortunately, not every chick will survive the journey and the few that perish are replaced by Murray McMurray.
15 It's amazing how fast the chicks adapt to their home as they dart about so quickly.
16 One week later, the chicks are doing beautifully.
17 This is a replacement chick for one that perished.
18 Their plumage is getting thicker and their markings, more pronounced.