Thursday, June 11, 2009

Where to pick up chicks:

The Post Office!
In fact the Post Office is the only place to pick up chicks; they can't be sent FedEx or UPS. Last week, the new chicks arrived at the post office, and were duly picked up in the wee hours of the morning. They looked like they had been out all night at a punk show.
The first order of business was to get everyone a drink of water. Chicks don't need to eat or drink for a day or two after they hatch, because they are still absorbing the rest of their yolk nutrients. It's a smart setup, because it might be 48 hours or so from the time the first chick in a nest hatches until the last emerges. Early hatchers can just wait around under Mama for their brothers and sisters to be ready to go. At the end of that time though--BOY are they thirsty.As each chicken was placed in to the brooder, we'd dip its little beak in sugar water to make sure it got right down to business. "Oh, wow!" thought the chicks. They'd glug some water down, toddle off, and hurry back for more. An hour or so later, the post office dropped off a whole nother box of chicks that some negligent person failed to pick up for more than 24 hours--and we did the whole routine again. Now we have a million* teeny chickens.

Once everyone was in the brooder, toddling and scurrying around, pecking and drinking, some chicks started to get tired. They had a tough time deciding what to do then: on the one hand, this eating and drinking was so exciting! "We've never done this before!" they enthused. On the other hand. . . so . . . so . . . tired . . . . Not yet knowing what else to do, they fell asleep right where they stood. Some of them managed to sleep standing up, or drooped gradually into a naptime squat; others slowly tipped over, startling themselves awake when they hit the floor. It was enthralling. A box full of baby chickens is better than a TV.

* a million = 52

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