I got a call last week that the chicks I ordered from PA would be born on August 8th (my birthday) and that when ready, a tracking number will be sent to my email and they should arrive the 9th or 10th.
So imagine my surprise when no email comes but I get a phone call from the local Post Office: Uhh, we have 25 chickens for you? Can you come get them?
Luckily I was only at work an hour away. But that’s a pro of living 5 acres away from your fellow-homesteading in-laws. Have I mentioned how amazing my mother and mother-in-law are? Perhaps that is a post for another time. But they swooped in and performed a miracle, while I anxiously waited for the clock to tick to 5 so I could scoot out and run home.
The first time we raised any baby bird it was ducks.
Ducks are adorable. I was smitten with them when my mother and I saw them at a local hardware store. I don’t even remember if I asked R if I could get them. I brought home 7 Khaki Campbells and 5 Pekins. They seemed so hearty. I was all over online forums researching ideal living situations and temperatures to keep them happy. In my head I had constructed an elaborate pool of Eden they could swim in. They would lay golden eggs and grace our table as the main dish on Christmas.
But what I learned is that, animals are kinda…resilient! I would run in and check the temperature of the brooder. Sit outside and guard the duck house. Yell at the dog for even sniffing within a 10 mile radius of them.
You know what, they grew up fine. None of them died. We butchered a few males and eventually, a year later, sold the flock. But that is, yet another post, for another time.
So after all this is said and done, no these are not the first baby birds, or chickens, rather, that I have raised. But this is the first time they have ever been mailed to me in a tiny cardboard box and I wasn’t even there to inspect them!
Last night I went in to check in on them. Most were sleeping, their tiny bodies moving up and down, others were happily drinking water. And I gently leaned in and whispered: You’re so cute, but I’m going to eat you.
I just wanted them to know where we stand.
Obviously, we are not vegans. But we only eat meat that has been raised by small local farms or ourselves because a lot of environmental issues come from large factory farms. I feel a rant coming on…but another time.
For now, these tiny creatures are fine. All watered and fed. Next week, 25 more will join them. And at 10 weeks or so, we will keep a select few to lay and butcher the rest for the winter months.
But I will probably be nervous for a while, making sure the barn cats we found on the side of the road aren’t attempting to eat them…another post, for another time.