When I called our hatchery today to confirm it was ok to drive the 102 miles to fetch our new little friends, they said “come on up!” Also, they mentioned they were out of golden-laced Wyandottes, and that they’d given us 3 extra silver-laced Wyandottes, instead. Ok, groovy.
Upon arrival at the hatchery, I went inside and immediately noticed this place is Serious Chicken Business. There is no formal greeting area – it’s just stacks upon stacks of eggs. Everywhere! I’m not entirely thrilled about doing business with a major-league chicken factory, but I couldn’t find any of the breeds I wanted locally. It is what it is, I suppose.
My first glimpse of these new girls was very brief – the guy who took my payment popped the lid of their cardboard box off, spread them out to count them, and we were off.
The ladies were not happy about being shuffled about. Their loud peeps indicated they were very stressed out, but they soon settled down once inside the nice warm car with the heated seat. I took changed speeds and took turns very very gently; soon their peeps became sleepier, and they dozed off.
Meanwhile, I spent the subsequent 102 miles roasting my tush off with the heater keeping things close to what I guessed was 90 degrees. If I occasionally gave myself a brief respite from the heat, a few moments later, shrill “I’m cold!” peeps emerged from the box and I cranked it back up again, checking them frequently to make sure they weren’t too hot.
Once home, I deposited them into their warm, cozy chicken kennel and began to try to show them the water dish. None of them wanted to dip their beaks without a fight, and I didn’t want to stress them out further. So, I spent the next several hours often dipping my fingertips into the water and tapping to attract their attention – this worked really really well, and I won’t try beak-dipping in the future.
At first, only a few got it, but chicks are wonderful copycats, and over the course of two hours, I was sure everyone had gotten a drink and was also pecking at the food I put on the towel.
They are so stinking cute I can hardly stand it. They’re spending most of their time sleeping, stretching dramatically, trying to eat their own toes, trying to eat their siblings’ toes, trying to eat poop, and sleeping.
The way they pass out mid-stretch, it looks like chick carnage everywhere. They’ll stretch and either fall asleep, or fall over then fall asleep.
Eleven, as astute readers will assuredly notice, is a number larger than five. Learning distinguishing marks between five chicks was no big deal – but eleven? Substantially harder for this aging brain. The three species are easily identified, but individuals amongst those species – way harder.
I’d forgotten a lot in the two years since we’ve had babies – how spastic they are, how luxuriantly they stretch and pass out at the mid-point, how they try to scratch and fall over, how they suddenly start running without realizing they’re doing it. Adorable.
Because this is Homestead Geek, we’re sharing the adorableness with you! Our cute is your cute.
You can view a live video stream & or self-refreshing still images from three different angles of the girls (provided the camera cooperates – we’re still wrangling some issues.)
Here’s what the exterior of the brooder looks like:
Four cameras. Shame on us, peddling our tiny babies as child celebrities! Would we like it if every time we pooped, cameras showed the world, and from four different angles? Let’s not think about that.
To be fair, the chicks are a lot cuter than we are, even when they poop.
At any rate, I’m going to take a cue from my zonked-out girls and go to bed – it’s after midnight, and while it’s still easy to appreciate the adorableness, it’s getting harder to keep my eyes open.