Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Chick and Duckling Power

Our new chicks and ducklings are set to arrive within the next 72 hours.  Like most other babies, we are expecting a call in the dark of the night announcing their arrival, but this time it will be the US Postal Service asking us to take the little peepers off their hands.  According to the postal worker I spoke to, the sorting room is rather echo-y and it doesn't take long for the peeping to be rather distracting and slightly annoying.  I also have the feeling that they don't want any dying from a chill on their watch.  So, we'll relieve the USPS as soon as we can.  We will all have a set of clothes next to the bed ready for the 4:30 AM call, the camera battery will be charged and the feeders and waterers filled.  We'll click on the heat lamps before we head out so the brooder will be nice and warm for when we return with our box filled will fluffy beings.

My daughter has begun to invite every other child she knows over to the house to cuddle the chicks and duckies, by the time they arrive we will have an entire elementary school and soccer league camping on the lawn.  This brings me back to my last post about lack of community in the suburbs, this will be a "building" experience.  I'll invite parents in, provide snacks and generally be the hostess.  We found pet chickens to have the magnetic power, years ago when our last batch of chickens were little. We often came home to find neighborhood kids in our backyard looking at the pullets, so much so that we had to put a lock on the coop, because they would take them out to play, but forget to put them back and leave them vulnerable to predators.  There was also the issue of flying.  I repeatedly told the kids that the chickens didn't fly, but it seemed that every little boy in the neighborhood had to test that by throwing the chickens high in the air only to see the the panicky  chickies struggle, flap furiously, and plunk back down on the ground, so the coop had to be locked to prevent the girls from suffering from these indignities.

One challenge this time will be  that the company that is sending them will put in extra cockerels to help keep the chicks we ordered warm for their journey, heat packs won't last for three days, but body heat does.  The issue of what to do with the cockerels afterwards has been something I have pondered in my red chair.  What the family has decided is that they will be called broilers and we will do what our grand parents used to do, learn how to eat our own home raised chickens.  These boys will be farm animals, the girls will be pets.  Since we would rather not have cock fights in the back yard and know that our land is abutting other properties whose owners might not appreciate an early wake up call from a rooster, this is the way it has to be.  From my experience living in a community that had roosters years ago, is that after a few weeks, you don't really hear them--they become part of the background, but then never annoyed me in the first place.  I'm afraid that someone in the HOA-type neighborhood that abuts the back of our property with their professionally landscaped lawns, etc. might not take too kindly to farm sounds.

Ducks are new for us.  We've done our reading, spoken to folks with ducks, prepped as best we can, now it is up to trial, error and further research.    A new adventure!!

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