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Our First Shipped Chicks Experience

On June 7, 2024, we added American Bresse chicks to our flock! I’m excited to show you, but first, we need to finish the outdoor brooder and check the fence for any gaps to keep our little chicks safe.

This post is NOT sponsored by The Recreational Homestead. I’m just sharing our experience with buying and caring for our new American Bresse chicks from Chase Washburn at The Recreational Homestead (youtube, website, store). Our experience with him was excellent. He checked in with us about our chicks regularly in the first few days and had even included extra chicks for us. I will definitely buy from him again, but next time I’ll order earlier in the year, around March or April, instead of June. I enjoy following his YouTube channel and watching his farm and family grow. I plan to document my experience raising these heritage birds for eggs and meat and will buy more chicks from him next year.

The Post Office Waiting Game

As I waited for our chicks to arrive, I checked the tracking often. They were shipped on Wednesday morning (June 5), and arrived in Las Vegas the next morning. I was amazed! But when I saw they left the Vegas distribution center at 8:30 am, I was worried since our Pahrump mail arrives between 6 and 7 am. Sadly, they sat on a truck and got to Pahrump 22.5 hours later. If they were in Vegas that whole time, it was over 106 degrees there.

I got a call from the local Post Office on Friday morning saying my chicks were here and I needed to come pick them up at 8:30 am. Mom drove me, we parked, and I quickly went in to speak to someone at the counter. I said I was here to pick up baby chicks and gave my address. She brought the box from the back. I don’t remember if I had to sign anything, but I didn’t need to show ID or proof of address (I don’t like that!). I peeked into the box at the counter, and one chick was DOA. It was bittersweet. I hurried back to the car and noticed many chicks didn’t look okay.

The First Hurdle

Once home, we quickly put them into the brooder outside, added probiotics and electrolytes to their water, and showed each one how to drink. Most seemed to be eating and drinking fine. About an hour later, we checked on them and found one had died, and several others were very close to passing as well. We thought it might be too hot outside (it was about 104 degrees in our area), but we expected to lose more because while in the car, I noticed that 4 or 5 didn’t look very good.

I dipped their beaks into water again, hoping they would drink. One started to and seemed like it would continue.

Escapees!

I went back out an hour later and saw a very sad and scary event: the chicks found a hole in the chicken wire and most of them got into the adult chicken coop where our adult chickens and ducks roam. I quickly grabbed my phone, called mom, and yelled, “the chicks are in the big coop, help!” Then, I hung up and tried to find a box to gather the chicks to get them to safety.

But I couldn’t get into the chicken run because the gate was blocked by our metal shed that was being taken apart. Thin steel siding had blown against the gate from a wind gust or dust devil. I had to reach through the fence to move the pieces of metal away from the gate, which was awkward. I finally moved enough pieces to open the gate and rushed into the coop. I saw where the chicks were coming through the chicken wire and started gently pushing the chicks back through. However, as I grabbed one chick, another would pop back into the big coop. It was like a nightmare.

After we gathered them all up, we noticed that one chick was dead. Two chicks disappeared and were never found. We think our adult flock might have eaten the missing chicks, but it could have been a hawk or one of my dogs that got them. It’s all just speculation.

Temporary Brooder

We moved the remaining chicks into my RV and set them up in my shower as a temporary home. My mom didn’t want any more chicks in the house since my dad is sick. I wasn’t happy about it, but it’s better than losing them to predators or shock.

After getting them set up with water, I showed them how to eat and drink. Right after I closed the sliding shower door, my dog Sophie stuck her nose in and grabbed one of the chicks. I yelled “NO” and she walked away. I didn’t realize she had bitten one of the chicks.

Doodles be Doodling

When I checked them an hour later I saw one of the chicks lying flat out and gasping, a blood smear on its back, and its wing was broken. It was very close to dying. It was then that I realized Sophie had bit it when she shaved her face into the flimsy plastic shower door. My heart sank even further. It had been such a disturbing day already. I didn’t need THIS too. She killed a chick. It passed a few short minutes later.

Considerations

At one point, we lost another chick. We started with 28 in the box shipped and ended up with 21 as of June 18th. I don’t remember exactly when or how the other one died. It was probably while they were in the outdoor brooder before finding an escape hole in the chicken wire. The only chick I know that died because of my dogs was the one I mentioned. The others died because they were too weak to eat or drink, the heat wave, or being on the USPS truck too long. It’s hard to know exactly why most of them died.

Now, I have 21 chicks pooping constantly in my shower. My RV smells terrible 😂. I just patched the hole in the brooder where it connects to the adult coop. I set up a security camera, but our WiFi is poor out there, so it doesn’t work well. Tomorrow morning, I want to transfer the chicks into the brooder to get my shower back and make my RV smell better. 21 chicks in my shower is too many, and I need to change the disposable underpad more than three times daily.

I purchased those Super Absorbency Disposable Underpads specifically because the size showed that it would be a near-perfect fit for my RV shower pan which is said to be 30″ x 32″. Sponsored link: I may receive a small commission if you click through and buy that linked product from Amazon.

Personal Reflections

During this time my lupus has flared up, I injured my ankle (not from the incident(s) with the chicks, mom’s rheumatoid is flaring as-is her degenerative spine causing more neuropathy in her shoulders and arms. Dad’s struggling to help us while he tries to continue helping himself. It’s been a very stressful week and a half.

I’ll post an update soon that will include photos of our lovely American Bresse chicks in their more appropriate brooder environment.


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