You’ve Got Mail! 50 Baby Chicks in a Cardboard Box

April 26, 2012

Overnight, we’ve gone from 11 live animals to 61 here at the farmette.  The baby chicks arrived at the West Tisbury post office about 9 am yesterday, and I am so very happy to report that they are all still alive this morning!

Roy took the call from the post office and drove over to collect the amazingly small (ventilated) cardboard box that they come in. (They need to be snuggled together to keep warm, and the newborn chicks live for a couple of days just on the remains of the yolk sac they’ve ingested.) I was waiting outside with the camera when he came, and it didn’t take long for me to hear the lovely Cheep! Cheep! chorus coming from the truck.

We took them out of the box one by one, and dipped their beaks in water so they’d get a little bit of hydration going and they’d know what the water source was. Then we put them into their toasty brooder box (more like a small room) that Roy built in the back of the barn/shop. It’s made of plywood, has a bit of insulation, and is topped with 3 old casement windows. A swinging door lets us move the food and water in and out, and a heat lamp with an infrared bulb keeps the brooder and the chicks warm.

Actually, there are supposed to be two heat lamps, but our second bulb burned out and a replacement is a couple days away. This was the cause of much discussion yesterday, and we did some rearranging to make sure the chicks wouldn’t smother each other last night trying to stay warm.

I, of course, am usually the worrywart in the family, but since these chicks are really Roy’s babies, I slept perfectly fine last night. I noticed, however, that Roy got up at 5:30 and came back to report that the babies were all doing fine. He is a sucker for little things. Me—I can’t wait until Libby gets here this weekend as I know she’s going to be enchanted. And Farmer, well, he’s not allowed in the barn/shop so he hasn’t met his 50 baby sisters. All in good time!

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