They peeped all the way home. In fact we could hear them peeping when we walked into the post office. When we got them to the kitchen table and cut the tape off of the lid, it was a huge thrill--like a ribbon-cutting ceremony of the upmost importance. They were here and in our care now (both exciting and intimidating at the same time).
Luckily, my husband is only a few weeks away from finishing our backyard chicken coop. Until then, the chicks need special care that can be provided in their brooder box. It is simply an extra-large metal dog crate that we borrowed from a friend and then lined with cardboard sides about 18 inches up the sides to protect them from drafts (also to prevent the bedding from flying out the sides when they start to kick up things--we've discovered that the kicking up starts early aka Day 2). The bottom is lined with newspapers and then pine bedding. If you just put down newspapers, we read that the chicks can get "splayed foot", which prevents them from ever walking correctly and hence, getting picked on and possibly pecked to death by the others. Basically, newspapers are a giant ice rink for chicks. The pine bedding is much better and it gives them something soft to lay down in for their naps.
|A Baby Chick Feeder|
We purchased a brooder light kit from the local feed store for $18. It has a shield and a guard, and a clip for hanging, but you will need to get a red heating bulb seperately. Again, a "chicken friend" let us borrow hers. (It is so great to get to know people in the chicken community--they are great at lending to newbies!) We zip-tied our lamp to a wood plank that we move around as needed. It will take a day or so to get the right position for your lamp. We live in Florida, so it can easily get to 95 in the brooder box on our back porch without the aid of the heat lamp. You don't want to roast your babies! But at sundown, it becomes necessary to turn on the warmth. Be sure that you don't have any towels or tarps or anything hanging on your brooder near the lamp, for fire safety reasons. A simple outdoor thermometer mounted at chick-level in the box helps you keep an eye on the temperature.
|Happily peeping and exploring the new pad|
Now.....meet the peeps!
|Pierogi is a White Crested Black Polish. She will eventually have one crazy hairdo.|
|Kate is a New Hampshire Red. She is the quietest, most low-maintenance chick in the flock (So far--haha)|
|Chanel ("Nellie") is a beautiful Buff Orpington. She is by far, the largest chick, but don't tell her that.|
|Flo is a Speckled Sussex. She is THE FASTEST CHICK EVER! Zip! Zip!|
|This tiny girl is Gypsy. She is a Silver-Laced Wyandotte.|
|Lois is a Barred Plymouth Rock. She will eventually be one of those "zebra striped" chickens! |