Sunday, August 14, 2011

51 babies in our front yard! "The Birds" Part 1

This part of our journey started in the middle of July when we placed an order for baby guineas (keets) and baby chickens (chicks). Shortly after we decided we wanted a milk cow we decided we wanted chicken. However, we didn't know about guineas until a freind from here was sharing that they have them around their house for insect control. "Insect conytoll?" We need insect control! So guineas we got.

After searchng through a few different sites I decided on this site because they offered a combinztion of good prices, selection, and quality. Having never owned any birds of anykind in my past I chose our birds based on what the site had to say about them. There wasn't much information on the guineas so I just got 5 each of the four kinds. As for the chickens I choose to get 8 americaunas, because they looked like they are decent layers, get to be a decent size for meat and, the biggest reason, the hens lay blue, green, olive, and turquoise colored eggs, and 20 barred plymouth rock. We chose these to be our main chicken since they are suppose to be a wonderful dual purpose bird, meaning they are great meat chickens and some of the best "backyard" layers. Why so many, because it sounded nice/fun. Is it too many, I have no idea, we have never had chickens before :).

I thought I would share the process of mail ordering chicks (birds). Some people might know how this goes, but some might not (I had no idea until I did it). After you decide what you want and place your order, you wait. You will recieve and e-mail about a week before the chicks hatch (their hatching schedule is fairly predictable once they are fertilized) letting you know to expect them. They are shipped off the day/day after they hatch as this is when they can withstand not having any food or water for 24-48 hours any older and they would die. They get to your post office the day or day after they leave their hatchery. Once there the post office will give you a call letting you know to come pick them up. To be polite you should get there as soon after the phone call as possible.

How did this process work for us. Pretty well. Our guineas came a week before our chicks since that is just how the hatching schedule happened. We only recieved a two day notice that the guineas were coming due to a minor over site. As we knew they would come in this general time we were expecting them and this didn't cause much problem. We knew they were shipping on Wednesday the 20th and would get here either Thursday or Friday. Thursday came, we built our outdoor brooder and fenced it in with chicken wire, and Thursday went. However, early Friday morning our post office gets their mail delivery, and at 8am Sara, from the post office, called to let us know we had some baby birds in the office ready for pick up. Yay!!!!!!!

Josh, Andrew, and little Josh head into town to pick up our newest addition:

I busily finish getting the final touches done for the brooder, i.e. filling the food, and water dishes, turning on the heat light (they are suppose to have a steady 95 degrees for the first week), and I am sure a few other things that I just don't remember right now.

I got an honorary phone call from Josh on the way home so I could hear just how noisey these tiny birds can be, and for Josh to share how cute they are. A short time later they arive home much to Lily and my excitement. We take them, inside their box, to their new enclosure and start unloading them. Much to our surprise these noisey darling little things were small enough and skittish enough they could slip right through the chicken wire! AAH! A quick game of catch the keet(fortunately they weren't nearly as fast then as they are now) and we had them back in their box. Being the (cheap) resourceful couple we are we grabbed a few small pieces of wood that was lying around and some tent stakes and a large cardboard box, and made a very functional temporary wall. This wall ended up being a very good thing as we needed a better wind break and that is exactly what this provided.

Here are some picture to give you an idea of what we started out with.

Now the adventer is only begun so stay tuned to hear about sleepless nights, baby chicks, and 51 near death experiences.

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