When the little fluffy bits of wiggling, scampering, peeping down arrived in baby form, my phone rang. It was the post office. The babies arrived in the mail!! Yea!
I flew down to the post office in the closest pants I could find. It was 7:00 in the morning! It was exciting! It was terrifying…
I had no clue how this whole thing would turn out. I didn’t know how they would turn out. I knew what breed, yes, but I didn’t know if they would be nice birds or mean birds. Blah, blah, blah… (Insert worried panic-stricken face here). I was freaking out.
After raising other older biddies. I’m well aware of the potential for different personalities. You can end up with chickens from hell, and rue the day you ever embarked on raising any, or you can get some really sweet birds. Still, I had ordered 14 and ended up with 15. I guess that extra chick was for luck. They added her to the order for the extra body heat at no charge. Biddies can get cold traveling and need each other to maintain a constant temperature. Either way, I was in deep and now no matter what transpired I was a surrogate Mother to 15 – 24 hour old baby peeps. God Help Me. God Help my bathroom…
Yeah… Ya see, I didn’t think this out very well. They ended up in the guest bathtub. Unceremoniously deposited on some utility towels and given food and water. Oh Gezz! They need heat! I ran around thinking, thinking, looking, looking… Oh Thank God! A reptile light! – Don’t laugh. I was desperate! Then I positioned an expansion rod over them and hung the light. Whew! They were fine and happily pecking bouncing and drinking. Amazing! That was such a long flight over and I worried about them getting here dehydrated or not making it at all. All worries for nothing. They were bright-eyed and happily being chickens.
I had them warm and happy, and now I was happy. Then, one of the little babies fell face forward into a pile of straw, all stretched out like she’d been shot with a cannon. Just sort of splayed like a dressed bird for dinner. Did she die? I almost panicked. One after another they all started falling over. Just like the light clicked off on their energy field and they fell in a flat faced “chicken down”! position. I didn’t like this… My heart was racing. I’d never had little babies before. Usually the birds are a few weeks old when I bought them. When the first little hen stretched with a big long leg stretch, I realized they were just tired and fell over from exhaustion; like my kids would after a long day playing. Sometimes the kids didn’t even get to the bed, but would land on the floor and pass out. Whatever, I didn’t care as long as they were healthy and just napping. I checked. Yes, all breathing!
I didn’t have any sort of water container for them either. What was I thinking? I don’t know. Flying dumbly? Likely. I did figure out a make-shift one to put their drinking water in though. Here’s my idea. The cup kept them from falling into it.
That’s Georgia standing in the dish. She’s an Australorp.
So, even as ill-prepared I was for biddies, they still did just fine. I didn’t know anything about raising biddies, especially not the tiny ones.
I was in love…
The babies got checked all day long and I woke in the night to look in on them. They saw me and usually roused and were happy to hear me talk to them or to be picked up.
They stayed in the tub until they were 4 weeks old. Now that was fun… (not). If I do this again I will have a proper brooder pen with heat lamps outside (I think). It was really nice getting to know them and learn their personalities. I don’t think if they had been outside, I’d have had nearly the time to know them like I do.
They are now 7 months old and laying. Most of them have names befitting their personality. I think most of them still identify myself as Mom, because they are especially attentive and most are pretty affectionate. I have a couple turd-heads who just don’t want to be mucked with. Fine with me… I have lots of snuggles for the ones who want to be snuggled with!
Here are a few of them at 5 weeks. They have a wonderful outside biddy yard.
Below is Georgia Photo-Bombing the snapshot!
Happily hopping on the little roost in the biddy yard.
I need to post some of their adult photos and will do that another day!
Enjoy your chickens!!
The Chicken Mom