It has been overcast and raining off and on for days. K and I have only been able to work on the coop for a few hours here and there between work and rain showers. On Thursday, we were able to attach the hinges and trim to the two main doors on each short side. When we were chased back in the house by a rain shower, I discovered I had a message from Long Horn that my chicks arrived a day early and I could pick them up at my convenience and that the next day would be ok. I glanced at the clock and knew that I could not make it to the store before they closed for the day. I planned on being there the next morning when they opened.
I made my final preparations to the brooder by adding some shallow containers of water, a small feeder, and scattered some feed on the paper towels layered over pine shavings. From my research, it can take a little while for the chicks to figure out the difference between the bedding and food. A layer of paper towels helps prevent them eating pine shavings in the beginning. I have also read about chicks drowning in waterers. It is suggested to add marbles to a regular chick waterer to prevent drowning or use shallow containers. I used shallow jar covers for the first day and have stones to add to the waterer.
When we arrived at Long Horn, we discovered that a few breeds were not delivered in their order. The Dominique and Silver Laced Wyandotte did not arrive. The store is about an hours drive, so instead of making another trip next week when the missing breeds showed up, I replaced them with another Easter Egger and Golden Laced Wyandotte from the extras the store ordered.
On the ride home, my mind went over all my preparations and planning to be sure I didn't forget anything. I have done a lot of research on raising chickens and read a lot of books, forums, and blogs. However, there is only so much learning and planning you can do from reading. Now it was time for real experience.
Once home with the chicks, I removed them carefully from the box and placed them in the brooder. I dipped their beak in the water to be sure they took a drink and knew where the water was. The chicks proceeded to explore their new surroundings and pecked at the feed I had sprinkled on the floor.
I closed the top of the brooder and moved the heat lamp into place. The chicks instantly fell silent and froze in position. Their eyes closed, some rocked back and fourth slightly, then they all fell asleep. A few on their feet and some fell over and splayed out seemingly exhausted. I double checked the temperature in the brooder and left them to their slumber.
I observed them throughout the day to make sure all were moving around, eating, and drinking. I was surprised at how quiet they were. I expected to hear more peeping from the brooder. I guess they are content for now. I have visited farm and feed stores during their "Chick Days" and usually the chicks are so loud. Of course there are hundreds of them and they are probably a bit stressed out in the store.
It is fun to watch their antics as they explore different things in their environment then suddenly flop and take a little nap.