We received our shipment of chicks yesterday. Our family has always raised chickens in this way, and when our older breeds died this past fall I thought this spring would be a great time to introduce the idea to the kids. They ship direct to the post office overnight and the phone calls from the post office always make me smile, "Hello, your box is cheeping, please come pick it up!"
Yesterday was a rainy Monday in these parts, so the delivery was the perfect distraction to fill our morning (all six hours of it - my early birds have been rising consistently at 6 am). Cutter was enthralled at first "hear," as he heard the box cheeping away in the front seat, and told them of his immediate affection from his car seat.
We're keeping them in the wood shop until they can handle the temperatures outside in the hen house, so for a few weeks they will be our house guests. In this way at least, they are not a present temptation to the dogs, but a constant distraction for my curious children. Cutter has expressed much interest in their well-being starting with an expressed desire to love them because "they aren't with their mommy and daddy and they must be sad," to wanting to care for them because "they need me to help them eat and sleep so I'll stay with them here so they won't get lonely." He is an expressly concerned caretaker. Scout enjoys crouching down and screaming at them. We're working on her maternal instinct. We now go to check on the baby chickens at least every few hours, if not sooner, and for now it is a welcome opportunity to teach them about animals and how to be responsible in caring for them.
There is one exotic breed in the mix that is quite obviously different than the rest (standard Rhode Island Reds) and I was pleasantly surprised to discover that she has feathers on the sides of her legs.
*The green stuff is a Gel additive from the Hatchery that you add to their food for the first feeding. They'll stay on the newspaper for one more day and then transition to a litter floor - and soon out of the baby pool. They've already started testing their wings.