Our 15 Rudd Rangers arrived safely this morning!
The post office gave me a call first thing Thursday morning and we picked them up. It’ a good idea to call your local post office as soon as you get your shipping confirmation email from Hoover’s. Give them your name and number and tell them you are expecting chicks to arrive in 1-2 days. Once you get to the post office, immediately peek inside your box and make sure all the chicks are alive. It is rare, but it does occasionally happen that some may be dead on arrival. (this can be due to any numbers of reasons out of your control. If it happens, just call and let the hatchery know.)
As soon as we got home, we immediately put all the fluffy, adorable chicks into the brooder and under the heat lamp. They are usually tired after such a long journey and need to recharge. It is also a good idea to get several of the chicks and gently dip the end of their beaks into the water. They will very soon realize where the food and water is, especially if they see the others eating and drinking; they quickly learn. It was only about 10 minutes after we unloaded them, that many were eating and drinking. They are super cute at this stage, and it is definitely the most fun stage of having any chickens, whether they be for meat or for eggs. This early on, you cannot tell these will be meat chickens. They all are just sweet, little fluff balls of varying shades of orangey-yellow. They all still had their egg tooths, (which are there to help them push through their shells.)
On the day of arrival, one chick weighed 33 grams. On day 2, one of the chicks weighed 44 grams. I plan on weighing one random chick each week to track their progress. These are straight run chicks, so there will be some size difference in the males vs. the females. By day 2, it looked like they had already grown and were definitely much stronger! I did quickly notice one of the chicks seemed weaker than the others and was resting a little too much. I gave her some extra attention, dipping her beak into the water to let her drink. I also tried something new this time-After a little googling, it turns out you can feed a weak chick raw egg yolk. As we have layers, I went out, got a fresh egg, and tried to gently feed her some yolk. Again, gently pressing the tip of her beak into it so she could get a taste. Only time will tell, and sometimes no matter what you do, you will lose chicks. She ate a few drops and I put her back in under the lamp to rest. I offered the rest of the yolk to the other chicks, and surprisingly, they quickly gobbled it all up! An ongoing problem is the chicks spilling feed. They have the instinct to “scratch” their feed, therefore getting it everywhere and wasting it! I had originally used a piece of wood under the feeder, but had a moment of genius, and have a little tray under it now!
Hopefully we will make it through this fragile stage with more to report next week! They grow so quickly at this age, and it is by far the easiest stage for raising meat chickens!