New Mouths to Feed, 35 to be Exact

We received a special delivery last Thursday.

I love the Lord's timing.  Approximately 15 minutes after we finished school for the 2014-2015 school year, we got the call that our 35 chicks were waiting at the post office for us to come pick them up.  

I think I've waited for a week to post about it because I've been afraid that we would just kill them all.

Literally, the first night they were here, I woke up with a start at about 2 a.m. and ran out there to check and make sure the heat lamps hadn't fallen into the brooders and fried them all.  And the first couple of mornings that I came out, I wouldn't go look in the brooders, because I didn't want to see any dead little chicks.  I'm a big chicken that way (no pun intended).

Much to my amazement, not only did they all arrive alive...but we haven't lost any in the last week!

We have two brooders going.  The heat lamp goes during the night and early morning and late evening.  But we turn them off during the day, because the chicks are in the sunroom, which isn't heated/cooled, and it gets pretty hot out there during a sunny day.

We can already tell that they're growing.

We're thinking that we'll move them out to their chicken coop (which Jas has been working on the past couple weekends), mid - late June.

At the rate they're growing, we'll probably need to spread them out from the two brooders they're in to three before all is said and done.

And we'll need to cover their brooders with screen or net soon, because yesterday when I looked out the kitchen window into the sunroom, one of the rascals had already hopped/flown up on top of their little waterer.

The children are so excited about the chicks.  And I am glad they are, because they are getting to do (almost) all the work associated with them:  Feed, water, clean brooders (chick/ens are MESSY!)

This picture was taken the first few minutes they were in their brooder, before they started making big messes!

While it looks to my untrained eye like we only have four different varieties, the paperwork says we have six:

Buff Orpingtons
Silver Laced Wyandottes
Black Australorps
Light Brahmas
White Rock
New Hampshire (I find this hard to believe because none of our chicks look like these pics, but what do I know?  Maybe they'll look different as they grow)

We ordered from Mt. Healthy Hatchery, and have been pleased.

They're all supposed to be laying hens, so hopefully none of them turn out to really be roosters.

The reason their lamp is red is so that if anyone had a drop of blood on them for any reason hopefully the other chicks won't see it, otherwise they would likely peck them to death,   Ugh.  Chickens are harsh that way.

There are all sorts of idioms that have their roots in chicken habits:  Pecking order, Hen-pecked, rule the roost...and many, many more.

We kept the box they arrived in and the children have used it as a sort of ICU.

For instance, they use the box when separating out chicks that may have "pasty butt" (yes, this is really a thing, read here) and need tending to.  (Although my children won't allow the use of the term "pasty butt" here, and instead make us say "pasty bottom".)

The chick in the top right is asleep.  They play hard and then all of a sudden look dead.  

The children have named some of the chicks, and they really do (seem to) know which is which.

Elisabeth:  Glasses

Daniel: Lamborghini, Skylar

Noah: Ferrari

Lily Kay: Nya, Fluffy, Fuzzy

We have taken them out for a field trip.

They took turns.

They had fun...

...and so did the children.

We weren't out there for long at all...

...but apparently it tuckered them out...and they fell asleep wherever they were:

Now, only (ha!) about five more months until we start getting eggs!

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