On Monday afternoon I picked up twenty-six day-old chicks from the Chapel Hill Post Office. I had ordered
Rainbow Layers several weeks ago from Murray McMurray Hatchery. In anticipation of their scheduled arrival early this week, I built a brooder on Saturday. They were shipped from central Iowa on Sunday and on Monday afternoon I received a call from the Post Office telling me they were in. I picked up a rather tiny box in which the chicks were packed and peeping away. I brought them home, dipped each of their beaks in the water, then set them in their brooder. They all took off eating and drinking. For the next six weeks I will be keeping them in the garage, after which time they will join the rest of the flock in their new egg mobile.
Rainbow layers are McMurrary’s assortment of hens and so will not only bring up our chicken population but also will bring down the ratio of roosters to hens. Although fertilized eggs are fine with us and the roosters provide some small measure of protection for the hens, we currently have too many roosters and it is stressful for the hens, reducing their egg laying. Given that we intend our chickens primarily as layers, this should help out. We did, unfortunately lose one chick who had arrived in pretty poor shape. Although I confined her in a little box within the brooder, gave her access to her own feed, and worked extra hard to make sure she drank water, she did not make it. Other than that one chick, they all seem to be healthy. Make sure to check out some pictures of the chicks.