Farm-ish · Poultry · Rabbits

Chicks, Buns, and more Chicks

It has been a week of new additions here.

First, the Saga of the USPS Shipment.

Some painfully expensive chicks were purchased because the breeder had a substantial hatch occur, and there were enough to justify the acquisition (plus shipping costs). Same breeder as the Black Copper Marans hatching eggs that are currently in the incubator.

Last Sunday, just before she was due to ship them on Monday, she posted that she had several of another breed I really adore hatch. She was kind enough to combine the shipment and give me a discount for the large purchase.

So this was a rather expensive set of chicks. I get the Priority Express Overnight tracking number, and confirmation that the chicks have been dropped off at the Post Office.

From there, they went to the nearest airport hub.

… Where, despite the tracking number’s guaranteed delivery date/time of 10:30am Tuesday morning, the chicks did not actually arrive in state until 10 PM Tuesday evening. I spent all of Tuesday on the phone with the PO trying to verify my chicks were okay and safe and actually in a known location. The local hub finally called at 7pm, and was initially confused as to my concerns. Then I explained they were 12 hours late, and still sitting in Virginia.

“Do you want me to call you when they arrive?”

“My $extremelyExpensive chicks? Yes.”

I got the call at 11pm that they had arrived alive and intact.

The next morning, the PO manager called to ask if I was driving to pick them up or did I need them delivered? Migraine — I asked for them to be delivered. Driver needed directions, called me about the “very spirited” chicks. I gave the directions, explained why they were yelling, and she said, “Oh, no, poor babies. Let me get them to you right now. I’m just down the street.”

So. Got my chicks. Naturally, before anything else, the chicks were checked over, and given food/water as fast as I could. Two casualties, but she had sent extra. I’m hoping she was able to get at least a partial claim on them, and certainly on the shipping for the abject failure to meet deadline.

Small Person insisted she needed to have a picture with the babies.

One pretty girl and several pretty chicks. πŸ™‚

I spent most of the week before with a stupid migraine, and I do mean STUPID. Severely hampered my ability to get anything done, but I finally beat it back enough to finish the grow out pen. I mean, my $extremelyExpensive chicks NEEDED the brooder — as you can see, that box is too small, really.

The older chicks — a mix of a couple of weeks old on up to several weeks — were ecstatic to get out of the tiny chick brooder. But it took … hours. Hours and hours. So I pulled together a larger temporary inside brooder for the evening, and got that going.

The temporary inside brooder meant that the Awkwardly Placed Tower of Fodder is now outside on the back porch. I needed that space. The eviction process did not go smoothly or terribly orderly.

Next day, I went to work on fixing the brooder. I realized (in my sleep) what some of the issues have been with that brooder. I designed it during winter… to sit in the protected but unheated garage. No rain. Minimal water. So I had waterproofed the bottom.

This meant I had to drill holes through the bottom to act as drainage holes, lift the brooder up out of the muck (somehow, that’s a low spot, and prone to be muddy), and generally add some weather proofing without turning it into something completely enclosed.

The upgrades … took a while. Among them, a waterer that sits outside, bolted to the side, to keep the chicks from knocking the water over and on themselves. I also used the last scrap of clear corrugated siding I had, to cover the wire mesh half of the brooder as a roof, and a feed sack to act as a tarp/wind/rain break.

But I finally got that completed, and my $extremelyExpensive chicks placed into it.

Then we traveled for the weekend, business trip. So I had to give stepdaughter a rundown on how to check everyone over/out, and try to ensure that everyone was extra-fed/watered. (She was paid in a rabbit to roast and all the eggs she could collect for her trouble.) At 11pm last night, the Palomino had not yet kitted.

Get home from the event today, in daylight even, yay!

Which meant I had to go fix the rabbits’ waterer pump (full replacement), and work on the pipes, which were pretty crudded up.

The Palomino did in fact kit today. Easter bunnies. πŸ™‚ It’s a small litter, smaller than I expected, only four. But they’re pretty hefty kits, too.

I dealt with all of that, did some stuff in the house, and decided that, with my first batch of hatching eggs due to hatch in the next 24-72 hours, I should definitely get the incubator I bought to be the hatcher up and going. I take it downstairs …

To hear cheeping.

One chick is hatched so far, four others are in progress. I did move them into the second incubator once I got that up to temperature because of the automatic egg turner.

Fittingly enough, the chicks hatched/hatching right now will technically be Easter Eggers hatched on Easter. πŸ˜‰ (They’re not purebreds, barnyard mix from blue/green eggs.)

Some of the BCM eggs are definitely not going to hatch. They’re about two weeks along, and 3-4 are clear. Others are unknown. I saw for sure two have blood vessels today though. I hope there’s more than just two, but that may be the case. Guess we’ll see.

Two customers (friends πŸ™‚ ) had the rabbit they purchased from me for roasting today. Both reported it turned out well and was a successful attempt. I am quite pleased by that!