Bringing Chicks Home from the Post Office

The phone rang at exactly 6:05 am. The woman on the other end sounded wide-awake and cheerful. She said my package had arrived and I could come pick it up.

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I drove through the dawn and pulled up behind the old brick building. After I knocked on the back door, I was escorted inside and given a small box with holes in it. The contents of the box cheeped in the passenger seat the whole way home as the countryside woke up around me.

Have you guessed what was inside? Yes, chicks! Twenty-five Rhode Island red chicks, to be exact. Straight-run, which means they aren't sexed and that about half will be pullets (young hens) and half will be cockerels (young males).

Back at home, I filled the waterer in my brooder and carefully opened the box. One by one I took out the chicks, dipping their beaks in the water for their very first drink. This way, I know that each one has had a drink and that I haven't overlooked any, as I might if I just put them in the brooder and then tried to give each a drink.

After cracking several of the plastic bases on chick waterers, I've switched to the metal base (affiliate link) - but that was after I took these photos. Evidently I'm a clutz, and metal is harder to break. I like the clean-ability of the plastic waterers and feeders but was tired of having to replace them.

The chicks congregated around the waterer for quite some time. Once their thirst was satisfied, they were ready for a meal. I filled a small dish with chick feed and they dove in. They emptied the dish rather quickly and I refilled it often that day before switching them to a chick feeder.

This is my first experience with Rhode Island reds. They are such a pretty color, not the all-over gold of buff Orpington chicks, but an ombre red that fades to buff or cream under their wings and bellies.

And such tiny little feathers on their wings already. Chicks grow feathers so quickly, there are just a few days of complete fluffiness. Take photos right away or it's too late.

I prefer to raise chicks in the summer time when I don't need a heat lamp to keep them warm, but I fell into a special deal for these chicks that I couldn't pass up. If you use a heat lamp, be sure to hang it securely so it won't cause a fire.

Do you have a favorite breed or are you trying something new this year?

Are you interested in having chickens in your backyard or on your homestead? Check out all of my chicken-keeping posts here.

Related posts:
Incubator 101
How to Order Chicks from a Hatchery
Starting Your Chicks Off Right

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