Two years ago I ordered eggs and placed them in an incubator, three weeks later, three chicks arrived. After many months of waiting, and wondering, too long, they turned out to be three roosters. Last year I searched for some Buckeye hens within driving distance. I just did not have the heart to have one mailed, it's much harder on them at that stage. There were none to be found. I just wasn't sure I could handle 25 baby chicks at one time. That's the magic number when they ship them, at just one day old. They can survive about a day or two after they are hatched without food and water. Twenty five huddled together in a cardboard box maintain the warmth they need to survive.
This spring I took the leap and ordered the 25 baby chicks. They arrived safe and sound, a little tired but just fine. I removed one at a time and introduced them to their brooder tapping on their water dish and each one responding by instinct taking their first drink of water. Once all had a drink and a rest, I sprinkled food onto the floor of their brooder and scratched my fingers on the paper towels that cover the floor for the first few days as they learned how to eat and where to find it.
Drinking they figured out quickly, eating out of a feeder they are still working on...
... they hatched last Wednesday and just look, feathers, they grow right before your eyes! I miss the getting to know each one, like I could with the boys, but I think time will take care of that. I will also be sharing a few of them with friends when they are a little older. The flock should end up just the right size for our farm. Next year I will let one or two raise there own nest of baby chicks, then we will have come full circle. It will just have taken a few years to get there.
I am also in need of help figuring out names for them all, and yes there could be a few roosters mixed in the group but hopefully more hens then roosters. So any suggestions would be gratefully appreciated!
To Spring and eggs!
*Last time in Barn Stories: Dyeing Felt