The post office called at 7:30 am to say the chicks are in! When I arrived I could hear such a chick racket I thought there must be a number of people whose chick delivery had arrived. But, no. The racket was caused by 43 chicks alone. Chicks can travel through the mail because they do not need food or water for 48 hours after they hatch.
We expected the chicks this week so we prepared over the weekend. We use this square meter crate as our brooder box. When we left Beijing in 1990 my work unit paid for the delivery of a half cubic meter box that I could fill with all my souvenirs and purchases. Packing the box had to be done in the presence of a customs official, but when he saw that we only bought the painted tinware I loved, children’s books, a gong, and typical winter coats, he left in disgust. We packed no Ming Dynasty furniture or ceramics. Ever since then the crate itself has served nobly as the brooding box. Chicks needs to be kept at 95 degrees their first week of life.
The hatchery will not send fewer than 25 chicks at a time through the mail. The chicks act as their own packing material, buffering each other from the vicissitudes of travel. The chicks do not need to be all the same variety. Since three friends joined me in this order – to make up more than 25 chicks – the box holds Buff Orpingtons, Silver Laced Wyandottes, Americaunas, Barred Rocks, Dominiques and New Hampshire Reds.
At 8 pm we went out to tuck the chicks in for the night. They are all spread out, which means they are warm enough. The heat lamp, and regular incandescent light bulb supply sufficient warmth when the box is partially covered with an old bedspread. We could see that they are eating and drinking well. Not a single fatality on their journey to Heath, and they have gotten through their first day here in good form.