Friday, April 3, 2015

Chick Files #2, They Are Here

The new chicks have arrived...

Can you handle the cuteness???

Here is our experience with having chicks shipped to Ruby Lane Farm. 

We got notification that our 15 Light Brahma Chicks had been shipped out on Thursday March 26th.  Great!  I was given a tracking number for the USPS, which I was not (ever) able to track via the USPS website.  No problem, I assumed that the package number was not entered into the system yet.  I was instructed to call the Post Office to let them know that I would be receiving an order of chicks and to hold the box so that I could pick them up directly.

Since my shipping notification came after the Post Office had closed for the day I decided to call them first thing Friday morning.  On Friday, I spoke with Postmaster who stated that they had not received any chicks in that morning.  At this point, I was a little worried but being unsure of the shipping schedules I just assumed that they would come in later in the day, which according to the post office could happen, although it's not typical.  

Later, that day, I did notify the hatchery that I was not able to track the USPS number thinking that maybe I had gotten it wrong.  Well the number was correct but it still was not logged into the system. So, I was getting a bit worried.  Friday came and went with no news from the Post Office.  

The phone rang at 7:00 Saturday morning, our chicks were waiting for us and off I went.  Having a discussion with the Postmaster she seemed concerned for the health of the chicks.  She had obviously seen packages like these come through and, to her, there wasn't too much noise coming from the box although, there certainly was noise coming from the box.  The box seemed, from the outside, in good condition overall.

The chick box before opening
The chick box, emptied
You can see the warmer and food.
I think there should have been two warmers.

Unfortunately, as soon as I opened the box when I got home, there was obvious loss.  At second (third, fourth, fifth) glance I realized there were actually 7, SEVEN, dead chicks!  Ugh!  I had expected one or two, but SEVEN, no.  I immediately began transferring the live ones to our brooder box already set up and warmed up for them.  Trying to assure them that they would never have to go through that kind of stress ever again!  Amazingly, the remaining eight chicks seemed healthy and no worse for wear.  They were VERY quick to find the food and water and have been eating machines ever since.  Now, cross your fingers that they are NOT all Roosters!!!

Yes, we did call the Hatchery and they have a policy of replacing any dead chicks from shipping. So we are expecting to get our 7 chicks as soon as they hatch, whenever that will be.  Unfortunately, they feel the loss was due to the actual shipping and will make us pay the postage of the next shipment.

Anyway, if and when you order chicks through the mail, especially during winter months, they should be packed with heating pads, similar to hand warmers for your gloves, and, of course, food packets as above.  I now realize, that shipping live chicks is (or should be) typically done at the beginning of the week.  Monday, Tuesday or Wednesday shipments, I gather, have a better chance of a true, overnight shipping time.

Finding food

Very hungry!
Now to explain our chicks' new living arrangements...

This is our brooder box, a large plastic tub from Home Depot covered with a left over piece of lattice.  Farm Dad, ever mindful of potential fire hazards, has never been a fan of heating bulbs. Enter the ceramic heat lamp.  Significantly less likely to break when a chick is testing it's wings and flies straight into it!

Brooder box
Ceramic Heat Lamp
   We will provide the chicks with heat until they have all of their feathers.  We will raise the heat lamp up a bit each week to provide more space for growing chicks as well as decrease the overall temperature a bit so they don't get too hot as their feathers are growing in.

They are also fed an organic chick starter, which is a much finer feed for little beaks.  When they are old enough to be able to handle grain crumbles and then pellets we will switch them over to our barley fodder that we sprout with a supplement of organic chicken pellets.

Chicks today, getting more feathers.
They were not day old chicks when we got them.
Whatcha doin'?

Happy Friday, stay tuned for another chick update. Enjoy your weekend!

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