Final Prep for the Chicks

I have visited the downtown post office twice in the last two days. On both occasions, I learned that live chicks arrive first thing in the morning, and that I can arrive as early as 7am to pick them up, assuming I drive around back and ring the bell. It sounds like a secret club that I am not supposed to know about, but now, somehow do. Keep in mind that the downtown post office does not open up for customers until 10am. So yes, this seems like secret information!!

I have alarms set for 6am and 6:15am tomorrow morning. I am hoping beyond hope that they do arrive tomorrow morning. I say that because the chicks were checked into the USPS facility in the late evening of March 1st, around 9pm. They were then on a truck headed out of Des Moines, IA, by 8:30am on March 2nd. They are supposedly en route and expected to arrive “by the scheduled time.” Long held traditions are that day-old chicks are shipped to their destinations within 72 hours. So by my calculations, that is by tomorrow night, Thursday evening, March 4th.

However, here is where it get fuzzy and a bit gnarly. The USPS has said that Priority Mail now takes 3-4 days rather than the former 2-3 days. For decades, day-old chicks have been shipped by Priority Mail and within 72 hours. So I get a PDF from the hatchery assuring me that my chicks will arrive within 72 hours but USPS, as the hatchery told me they would, says my chicks will arrive by Friday at 9pm. That would be 4 days after they were shipped out, which is 72+24 hours, which is way more hours than 72 hours.

So in all honesty, I don’t know if my chicks will arrive tomorrow morning (Thursday, 3/4) or Friday morning (3/5). I am praying it is tomorrow morning, the date that my hatchery assured me would be honored; but if it is Friday morning, so be it, I am ready either way!!

I have the enormous cardboard box with multiple layers of additional cardboard to reinforce the bottom. It is currently covered in puppy pads to make it easy for the chicks to find food (and to soak up spills and messes). I also have the chick-sized feeders and waterers (with the adult-sized ones in a closet ready to go for later). I have the waterers filled with blue stones to prevent any chicks from drowning in the water (though in all honesty, now that I see the waterers, I have a hard time imagining how that might happen, but I am trusting the experts on this!!). There is some feed scattered on the floor of the box for them to find. The branch is there for them to practice perching and as time passes, maybe roosting?? I have two red heat lamps and a radiant heat warmer designed to accomodate up to 35 chicks. The last I checked, the thermometer sensor I placed under the radiant heat warmer was 85 degrees Farenheit. I need it to be 95 degrees, so I may need to lower my heat lamps. Otherwise, I am all ready for the chicks to arrive. I AM SO EXCITED!!!

P.S. I have now moved the one lamp closer to the brooder box. It required me moving a step ladder into the bathroom, but it does seem to be doing the trick. I will leave it alone for an hour or so and see if the temperature reaches the desired 95 degrees Farenheit.

*Many thanks to Darius Cotoi on Unsplash for their wonderful Featured Image photo, located at the beginning of this blog post.

Published by thefemfarmer

Born in Chicago, grew up in Mississippi, and raised a family in Seattle. Coming back home to MS for part of the year to work on our new farm and spend time with my father. These are my voyages.

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