Friday, October 8, 2010

Chicks in the Mail

Where do Chickens come from?  The US Postal Service, of course.

Our chicks arrived in the mail this morning from the hatchery.  The post office is usually anxious to move them along and gladly opens their doors early.  We got a batch of 100 Cornish Cross Cockerels from Purely Poultry, where we've had a lot of luck in the past.  Only one chick died in shipment (which is a really good shipment) and they always throw in a few extras to cover a couple losses, so we're starting off with 103 birds.

They are cute little fuzzballs when they arrive.  That warm feeling only lasts a few days and then it becomes apparent that these birds are simple eating machines.  These guys were hatched & shipped on Wednesday and arrived early Friday morning.  Just before a chick hatches is sucks up the last of the yolk and has about 72 hours of nutrition and fluid in its system, which makes ordering birds through the mail feasible.

Getting the chicks through the first three days is the real trick.  After setting them in the brooder, they get access to fresh water and chick starter feed, but there are usually a few that don't quite figure out the system at first.  We lost a couple birds in the first two hours because the crawled into the waterer and chilled themselves to death.  Did I mention that chickens aren't the brightest of animals?

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