The other day, the phone rang, and it was the local U.S. Postal Service Processor calling to let us know that our special delivery package had arrived and was ready for pick-up. We had to claim the package as soon as possible and we were very excited that it had arrived safely. It is very common to pick up 2 or 3 of this item at your local feed store. However, we had ordered 50 and this required us to select a shipment date and alert the U.S. Postal Service when to expect the package. The U.S. Postal Service has been transporting packages such as ours for over 100 years. Yet it is unusual and exciting for everyone when the package arrives.
The Jimenez Sisters Ranch has posted pictures of the package. Can you guess what is in the package?
If you said live baby chicks, you are correct! Ordering live baby chicks is very simple, but you need to be aware of a few very important steps and you need to prepare their new home for their arrival:
Identify a reputable chicken hatchery. The Internet is a great resource and can assist you in making an informed decision. We order our chicks from Meyer Hatchery. Also, Meyer Hatchery is a member of the National Poultry Improvement Plan (NPIP), they guarantee 100% gender accuracy, and they have a 48 hour live and well shipping policy.
We ordered the high production layer chickens. This guarantees that all our 50 chicks are hens (females) and will have the ability to lay a lot of eggs.
The chicks are carefully packed and are shipped priority express with the U.S. Postal Service. The chicks arrive in 2 days and the body heat generated by the chicks in the specialized packing container reduces stress. The chicks do not require food or water while being shipped. Once hatched, the chicks’ bodies absorb the last bit of egg, and this will sustain the chicks for 3 to 4 days.
We had our brooder ready when the chicks arrived. A brooder is a heated enclosure used to raise chicks. The temperature in the brooder is maintained at 90 to 93 degrees Fahrenheit, large enough for the chicks’ food and water, and room to walk about. A brooder can be as simple as a large cardboard box, shavings, and a heat lamp. You will know the brooder is too cold if the chicks are huddled up and chirping. The brooder is just right when the chicks are moving around and are quiet.
As our chicks grow, we monitor their ability to independently eat, drink, and maintain their body heat. This is the time when we remove the chicks from the brooder and introduce them to their backyard hen house.
The Jimenez Sisters Ranch is excited to have added laying hens to our flock. Perhaps you will visit the Ranch during one of our events, meet our chickens, and have some eggs.