Thank God for my patient and loving husband who is almost always willing to go along with whatever crazy ideas come my way. He is a saint indeed. This winter I got an idea in my head that we should have some chickens in our backyard (we do now live on 2.5 acres of land - yes, I know it's not a ton, but it is WAYYYY more than we had in our old house). This winter my husband and I (really, mostly my husband, but I did help some) built a GORGEOUS chicken coop. I linked the plan to it, so you could see it if you'd like - currently the weather is still too cold for chicks to be outside, so they are living in my kitchen.
The chicks arrived by mail from Meyer Hatchery, we had ordered 3 Golden Buffs and 2 Black Australorps back in January and set them to arrive the second week in April (in hopes that the weather would be warm enough for them to ship). The post office called me EARLY one morning (2:15am - which I let go to voice mail) and told me I could come pick up our new chicks whenever I wanted, so when I got up at 5:30 or so I ran to town to get the box of chicks. The post office people laughed a little because that morning they also had a stack of 350 ROOSTERS come in for someone else, I think they were a little disappointed I wasn't taking all the roosters home because they were WAY loud. Sadly, I was a little nervous all of our chicks were dead because I couldn't hear them while we were standing in the post office, thankfully as soon as I got outside of the room with the ridiculous roosters, I could hear them chirping away.
I managed to wait until I got home to open the box, although I was tempted to open it in my car. Upon arriving home, Marc met me (I think he was equally excited) and we set this box on the counter and opened it up. At first I saw 4 chicks moving around in the box and assumed the one in the corner had died, however, Marc poked it and two black chicks came sprinting out of the corner, we had SIX chicks alive and well. Meyer Hatchery must have included an extra in case of a death of one of the chicks. We had six chicks not five. We immediately set out upon naming four of them - in fear two would die - a couple were a little sluggish from shipping.
So we took the chicks out and placed them in the rubbermaid we had prepared for them the night before (I was crazy checking the shipping status and where these sweet little chicks were at as they were traveling) - we used a rubbermaid we weren't using, a heat lamp with a red bulb, a chick watering dish, a chick feeding dish, and a thermometer. On the bottom of the tub for the first couple of days we put only a piece of paper towel, we have since promoted them to pine shavings.These little birds are fascinating to watch. I am seriously convinced that baby chicks are narcoleptic. They can be walking around and then just as quickly fall to the ground and they are passed out until another chick steps on them and they bounce right back up. A couple of the first mornings that we had them I was convinced I had killed them all off because they were quiet and all laying down, however, as soon as I reached my hand in they all came right up and were chirping away. Dakota is pretty neutral towards them and doesn't seem phased by them in the least. When I take them out of the bin and put them on a towel to run around the living room she pretty much just lays down next to the towel and watches them. I am not sure she knows what to think of them. It is entertaining for sure. We will see what happens when they actually start to grow and get a bit bigger and are a little bit more intimidating to her or when they are running around the backyard and she is running around the back yard.
The chickens are pretty much impossible to get a good picture of - they are constantly on the move and if they are sleeping they slightly look dead which is just weird to post a picture of, so here are some pictures I have managed to catch where the chicks don't look totally dead. They are already growing like crazy which boggles my mind how quickly they have gotten big - I didn't anticipate their growth quite as quickly. They all seem to be living and their key need at the moment is heat - we are currently down to 90 degrees in their box and lowering the temp 5 degrees each week. With any luck the weather will warm up and they will be able to go outside at some point. I think here next week or the following they are going to get the boot to the garage - I think I am going to put Dakota in her travel crate at night/during the day and then but the chicks in Dakota's big wire kennel. Plus the nice part is the wire crate I can just spray down and clean off easily. I was debating going with a cardboard box, but I am afraid that the box will just get nasty and there isn't a great way to clean it. So we'll see what happens. I will keep you all posted and I am sure there will be many a more chicken posts coming. The four names we have so far for our chickens are: Duke, Chester, Winnie, and Madison. I suppose we should name the last two as it appears they are all going to survive.