Peep, Peep, Peep, Peeps!

They are here!  Those cute, little, fuzzy, chirping birds were shipped from McMurray Hatchery yesterday morning and in approximately 24 hours arrived at the Staunton post office. ( I had requested a phone call to alert me that the chicks were leaving Iowa and bound for Virginia.  McMurray efficiently called me at 5 am on Sunday morning to let me know my birds were in the mail! )

You would think that I would have my act together, knowing that the birds were on their way.  I mostly had my act together but needed the increased pressure of having chirping peeps in a cardboard box sitting in the sun in my milk kitchen waiting for me to get their "homes" ready for them, to encourage me to finish the final details.

I had two small tubs but decided I would go all out and buy two more (larger) tubs.  After spending as much money as I did on chicks, it only made sense to make sure they had plenty of room and safely housed in various large tubs rather than trying to come up with cardboard boxes or other means to make a temporary brooder for them.  Besides, I can wash the tubs, sterilize them and use them for watering troughs (their intended purpose) later and/or I can use them to start future batches of poultry.  I also opted to buy a couple of bags of the commercial wood shavings to use in the bottom of the tubs (thanks Tractor Supply for making  your birds always look so appealing.  I have given in to peer pressure and want my birds to look just as clean and nice, much to my husband's chagrin.)  This meant I had to make a mad dash to Tractor Supply when they opened this morning.  (Note to self:  One can get more help and personal attention when one is the only individual in the store early morning.)

Having not started any chicks in about three years (maybe longer), I needed various and sundry supplies such as feeders, waterers, and additional lights.  (Have I ever started this many birds at one time before?)  My husband is just happy that I am not starting them off in the bathtub in the house like I have done in years past! 

Notice:  Little, brown wagon again!

We ended up with a total of 105 live birds:  103 designated as pullets (three of them being the freebies), 26 roosters (one being a freebie) and one mystery sex and breed (rare breeds freebie).  I was hoping that the roosters would be in a separate section so that I would know them from the hens and could keep them apart, but they were not designated.  We will have to figure that out later.  The plan is to keep a few to mate with the hens and fatten the rest up and butcher them.  Raising the roosters for meat will be an experiment and I will document the process here on my blog.  I am hoping that with lots of clabbered milk along with their free range lifestyle, we can come up with a nice size bird for butchering.

We started the peeps out on newspaper so that they can find their food the first day.  Will use the paper for a couple of days and then switch over to wood shavings so that their legs will grow properly.  Newspaper can be too slick and cause leg problems if used too long. 

Red lights were used in the heat lamps to discourage the chicks from picking and pecking each other.

Information from McMurray on starting peeps can be found at this link

Wish us luck!


Deb said...

ahhhh...enjoy them! :)

WeldrBrat said...

Oh, my goodness! When you bite off a chunk... you bite off the size to make two!! Good luck! I'm gonna just... sit over ... here... and watch.. if you don't mind!?