A few weeks ago, we ordered nine baby chicks to arrive the first week in June, via the mail. While their long journey can be a bit stressful for the babies, evidently it is less than you might think as they are shipped right after they hatch and there is a period of two or three days when they need no food or water, still having what they need from being in the egg.
The website we ordered from, mypetchicken.com, is very informative. We chose to order from them rather than to buy our chicks at a feed store in one of the towns near here so we could get the breeds we wanted. I was reassured by their statement that only about one percent of the chicks they ship die in transit. Of course, not everyone bothers to notify the seller so the figure might be a tad higher, but it seemed like an acceptable risk. I also liked them because they have a way of wrapping the package containing the group of chicks that provides enough warmth that you can place smaller orders. A lot of places that sell chickens online seem to have a minimum order of 25. Also I read on one of the chicken forums I was surfing that they are better than many others in the way they dispose of the excess baby male chicks. I didn’t see details at their website, but I had read that some of the methods used are not kind.
We have had chickens before but it has been a long time. I’m planning to be much more hands-on right from the start, and we chose breeds that are said to be placid and/or friendly, and that do well in the cold weather we get here in Colorado. My intention is to hold each baby chick in my hands several times a day at first. Hey, I’ve even got ideas for names! The two Buff Orpingtons will be Buffy and Muffy, or in the likely event that I can’t tell them apart, they will be “the Buffies.” The Wyandottes, Partridge Rocks, and Easter Eggers will get their names later.
I’m also re-reading parts of the excellent book on chickens I reviewed here: Harvey Ussery’s Small Scale Poultry Flock.
Yesterday we went to a feed store in a nearby town and got a waterer and a heat lamp. I chose red over white because it is less glaring supposedly and they will need it on all night at first. Now to get that chicken coop finished in time… If we don’t, we can put them in a shed or even in our greenhouse, but it would be nicest to just make the coop!