Our chicks hatched on February 22nd as scheduled and were in the mail system that very afternoon! Newborn chicks are able to be shipped in the mail with a fair amount of ease. This is because when they hatch they come with a reserve tank of nutrients that will keep them healthy without feed for up to three days!
As everyone whose cracked an egged knows, there is the egg yolk and the egg white. The yellow egg yolk is absorbed into the chicks body cavity as it grows in the egg. When it hatches. The chick absorbs the rest of the yolk for proper nutrition! Pretty cool right? Of course this neat little physiology tidbit did not keep me from stressing about them until their arrival two days later.
When I picked them up at the post office they were chirping and ready to get out of there box. The box felt nice and toasty so I think the post office had some sort of warm place for the box to wait until I got there. When I got them home and had a look inside, I noticed they were all active, healthy, and dry. The hatchery expertly packed them with soft bedding and a special moisture absorbing pack of some sort. I made a short video that shows the package material at the initial unboxing of the chicks.
After they were unboxed and inspected, I took each chick out and dipped their beak in the water trough. This is an important step because they need to get hydrated as quickly as possible after being shipped. I also made sure that the water was about 98-100 degrees for the first two days they were home so when they drank, they would not lose body temperature.
While we were taking our initial count we noticed that we were sent three extra Rhode Island Red chicks. Now we have 12 Rhode Island Reds, 5 Plymouth White Rocks, and 1 Black Australorp for a grand total of 18 birds! We only wanted one male Australorp, but who knows what these extra chicks will turn out to be!
The overall health of the chicks has been fair to good. I have noticed the occasional wet stool and vent caking, so to help with this I added an extra water trough that contains special electrolytes along with their regular water. I also periodically remove any stuck fecal matter from their vents by soaking with warm water and gently rubbing with a warm wet cloth. If they continue to have issues I will add a probiotic to their water to ensure proper gut health.
As for the initial reaction from our daughter, she is ecstatic to say the least. She’s learned to call to the chicks and has since woken us up every morning calling, “chick, chick, chick, chick!” We hope she stays this excited as they grow and is able to learn about animals and where our food comes from!
Until next time…
The Ag Wife