Three of the six chickens arrived and I went to Machias to pick them up. It's a cold, rainy day, so I turned the heat up in the car as high as it would go. I read last night in my desperate attempt to read everything I could about raising chicks that they need to be kept warm. Until two days ago I thought I was going to get half-grown chickens. What a surprise when I realized they were babies. I had to educate myself fast, so turned to the internet. On the way to get them I went to the local (sort of) feed store and bought what I had learned I needed. So I set up the "brooder," aka a cardboard box, on the bureau in my studio because the slanting ceiling offered a good place to hang the heat lamp. I read several suggestions for flooring, and chose newspaper with paper towels over it. The newspaper is too slippery to walk on, but provides padding.
The chicks are only four days old, and the cutest little things in the world. These are the Rhode Island Reds. The Barred Rocks will come next week. I've got names for them, but I'm trying not to let myself think of them that way in case they die. Some do, I've learned. Two of mine are very robust, with great appetites. The third one is smaller and looks under the weather. She hangs back and doesn't eat or drink as much as the others. She is always being bullied by them. I am fervently hoping that dealing with chicken death again is not in my immediate future. So far I have gone upstairs to check on them every five minutes. So far, so good.
I am a nervous wreck.