The newest batch of peeps has arrived from Cackle Hatchery!
One of my very favorite days of the year on this farm, right up there with hatching turkeys, new lambs and new crias.
Hard to believe these tiny little fluffs traveled for two days inside this cardboard box.
Mother Nature has given them the gift of being able to absorb nutrition from their yolk right before they hatch, giving them 2-3 days worth of sustenance before they need to eat and drink.
In nature, mama hen would stay on her nest with her hatched and unhatched babies for a couple of days, waiting for the rest to hatch, before bringing the chicks out of the nest for food and water. Absorbing the yolk allowed the babies who hatched first to wait around with mama until her siblings hatched out and they could all go out for a bite.
Hatcheries have learned to take advantage of this little window of time in order to mail the birds to new homes.
At about 8:00am this morning I got the call from the local post office saying they had my chickens, and off I ran to pick them up and bring them home.
And then the fun begins.
After opening up the box and making sure they look OK, I take them out one-by-one, say a little "welcome to our farm" and dip their beaks in the water and food dishes.
And then I sit and watch and sit and watch and occasionally think about all the other things I should be doing,... then sit and watch some more.
All of these little cuties "should" be pullets, a term for a young female chicken before she starts to lay eggs. Occasionally we do get a rooster in the mix. The sorting method is not 100% accurate.
I purchase new pullets every spring, because in the fall, all of my chickens will molt their feathers, a process that takes a lot of energy from the hens, during which they stop laying eggs for up to 3 months as they focus on regrowing their feathers again.
If I can time things correctly, these new babies will be laying eggs by then, filling in the gap while my older hens molt.
At least that's the plan. I'm still tweaking the number of birds I need to buy each spring to get the right number of eggs for what we need and what people would like to get from us.
I think we got it right this time with twenty new chicks.
Then again, can you ever have too many peeps?