First chicks by mail - any advice?

Sour Roses

In the Brooder
Jun 4, 2018
5
23
29
Hi everyone, I'm new!
So, we've hatched & raised chicks and kept chickens in the past, but it's been a few years and it's our first time ordering live chicks shipped to us. They shipped today so should be here any day now, and we are getting super excited & nervous!
My question is mainly if there's anything we might not expect compared to non-shipped chicks.
We did read the hatchery tutorial on offering warm water and so forth. I suppose it's really just nerves I'm dealing with, lol. I also hope we haven't forgotten anything important about raising chicks in general.
We have our brooder set up. It's a 40 gallon (wide not tall) fish tank. This will just be very temporary for the first week, so we can monitor them closely indoors before moving to the bigger patio brooder we are making from dog pens.
We have the medicated chick starter, chick grit, big bag of shavings, feeder/waterer (ugh, how to keep shavings out of it, I do remember that issue!), of course the heat lamp, and electrolytes+probiotics. We also got two ostrich feather dusters for them to snuggle under.

Our chicks are coming from Cackle, we ordered 22, and the breeds are:
Salmon Faverolles, Black Laced Silver Wyandottes, and Speckled Sussex.

Well, thanks for any advice or support as we get all nervous and keep hitting 'refresh' on the tracking info, LOL.
 

LRH97

Songster
6 Years
Jul 29, 2013
1,136
468
231
Southern Illinois
Sounds like you're geared up and ready to go to me! I have nothing but positive things to say about Cackle. They're my hatchery of choice. I order from them every year and my losses have been minimal. Their customer service is great as well if you do have some DOA's.

Really the only different thing about shipped birds is they arrived pretty stressed from shipping. Have your brooder warm and ready to go before the birds arrive. Giving them electrolytes in their water is also a good idea. Dip several bird's beaks in their water before releasing them to get them drinking.

One thing I will stress: be prepared for dead birds. Some may be dead on arrival, some may die later. None may die at all. Like I said, I've had really good luck with Cackle. However, if we saw how the postal service handled some of our packages, especially ones labelled "fragile", we'd probably have a heart attack. Still, it's better to be prepared to lose some and not than be crushed if some die. Casualties are sometimes inevitable. Other than that, it's your standard bird-brooding. Would love to hear how it goes. Enjoy your babies!
 

ChickenCanoe

Crossing the Road
9 Years
Nov 23, 2010
29,060
18,404
867
St. Louis, MO
Cackle should have your phone number on the box with instructions to call you when they arrive. That may or may not happen. You don't want the chicks to end up in a truck to be delivered to your house. You want them in your possession as soon as possible. I would go to your post office tomorrow and talk to the postmaster explaining that chicks are on the way. Get the phone number of the sorting room. The listed phone number for the PO won't be answered till business hours and by then, they will already be loaded on the truck and in transit. Keep checking the tracking number for their location. If you don't get a call by 5 AM on the day they arrive, call them. The chicks are likely to be very noisy so they usually want them gone. Another option is to just show up and knock on the back door well before 6 AM. Bring a camera and check that most are alive. If not, take a picture of the damage.
My POs sorting room number is on the lid of one of my feed bins in the brooder house.
This time of year they shouldn't need heat on in your car.
When you get them home, take the birds one at a time and dip their beaks in water. There is no need to hurry at this point.
I use probiotics in chicks first water. For shipped chicks, I also put poultry Nutri-Drench in their water. That really perks them up.
For the first couple days, I cover the shavings with burlap and paper towels till they know what food is. I sprinkle the food on the paper towels along with some grit. Chicks will eat whatever is at their feet.
http://gro2max.com/
http://www.nutridrench.com/nutridrench_poultry.html
Good luck.
 

ChickenCanoe

Crossing the Road
9 Years
Nov 23, 2010
29,060
18,404
867
St. Louis, MO
Once the chicks know where the food and water is, place the containers on bricks so the rims are at chick back height. That limits the amount of shavings they kick into the water and food.
I prefer a ceramic heat emitter rather than a heat lamp. Firstly, a heat lamp may be too hot for a 40 gallon container and with ceramic, you can provide a dark period each night which I try to do by day 4.
Ceramic, like used for reptiles can be purchased at pet stores but they are cheaper on e-bay and they come in wattages from 50-300. A 75W to 150 W would be sufficient in a small brooder.
 
Last edited:

ChickNanny13

Crossing the Road
6 Years
Jun 23, 2013
8,557
11,947
957
The Big Island/Hawaii
You're prepared :celebrate

I don't use a heat lamp anymore, converted to a heating pad (MHP thread by Blooie), safer and chicks seem alot less skittish plus they learn night & day. Yes, that shavings in the water is the worst ... I converted to the Horizontal Water Nipples (read about it here), says to start at 8wks but I've done some as young as 5wks, depends on the chicks.

Best of Wishes with your chicks and enjoy ;)
 

Sour Roses

In the Brooder
Jun 4, 2018
5
23
29
Thanks so much for the helpful replies! I really appreciate it.
Sorry it took me so long to check in, those babies sure require a lot of attention!
So the great news was that all arrived alive!
The sad news is that two of the Faverolle female chicks must have been weakened by the trip, because while they seemed fine for a while and were drinking & eating, they both gradually got weaker until they weren't getting up anymore. One died the morning of the second day, and the other the day after. The second to pass I had hope she would recover, because every half hour when I would pick her up and hold her in front of the water, she would dutifully drink a sip for me, but then she would immediately fall asleep while I was still holding her over the water.

But anyway, all the others are doing great! Cackle sent two extras of each breed, so 22 chicks turned into 28! and now it's 26. So we should end up with good numbers of each breed :)
Thanks again for the support!
 

3riverschick

Poultry Lit Chaser
10 Years
May 19, 2009
8,454
3,203
512
You chicks died of travel stress. tell you what you do... go to your feed store or Tractor Supply and get a small bottle of Bovidr Labs poultry Nutri drench .okay it's about $8 . Remove any other additions from their water and put one and a half teaspoons of poultry Nutri drench in a quart waterer feed them this Drench water for the first week as they adjust to their new home. In the future when you get shipped chicks give each chick one drop only of poultry Nutri drench when they arrive. if the chick is needy , repeat every 8 to 10 hours until perky. Nutridrench will get them off to a strong start .no need to give them electrolytes if you are giving them Nutri drench.
www.nutridrench.com
Best,
Karen
 

tlodge181

Hatching
Jun 12, 2018
1
4
3
Hi everyone, I'm new!
So, we've hatched & raised chicks and kept chickens in the past, but it's been a few years and it's our first time ordering live chicks shipped to us. They shipped today so should be here any day now, and we are getting super excited & nervous!
My question is mainly if there's anything we might not expect compared to non-shipped chicks.
We did read the hatchery tutorial on offering warm water and so forth. I suppose it's really just nerves I'm dealing with, lol. I also hope we haven't forgotten anything important about raising chicks in general.
We have our brooder set up. It's a 40 gallon (wide not tall) fish tank. This will just be very temporary for the first week, so we can monitor them closely indoors before moving to the bigger patio brooder we are making from dog pens.
We have the medicated chick starter, chick grit, big bag of shavings, feeder/waterer (ugh, how to keep shavings out of it, I do remember that issue!), of course the heat lamp, and electrolytes+probiotics. We also got two ostrich feather dusters for them to snuggle under.

Our chicks are coming from Cackle, we ordered 22, and the breeds are:
Salmon Faverolles, Black Laced Silver Wyandottes, and Speckled Sussex.

Well, thanks for any advice or support as we get all nervous and keep hitting 'refresh' on the tracking info, LOL.
Hi! I am new to this also. I ordered 18 female chicks from Backyard Chickens and they arrived last Wednesday. I could not be happier. All were in great health and are so much fun. I have had plenty of adult hens over the years, but these are my first chicks. I purchased and built a small coop for them, put large shavings from my horse stalls, got the water and heat lamp and watch them peep and race around everytime I can take to sit outside with them. After one week I am keeping a daily diary and notice they are not spending nearly the time they did by the lamp. Of course I live in Florida and it seems like it's 100 degrees at 7 in the morning right now. I got 15 of mixed brown popular egg layers and 3 light brahmas which I am partial too! My chick feed is medicated and I put a little grit for them to play with in the coop. Have fun!!
 

LightningBug

Chirping
Jun 2, 2018
15
30
56
Caution: feather dusters look really cute, but can entangle chicks. (Sorry to be all "The Internet sez: everything will kill you!!!", but...)

As others have noted elsewhere , there are numerous tearful posts by new chicken owners who have woken up to find their chicks strangled in the long, rope-like ostrich feathers. Chicken feathers are more wide and flat, and of course, attached to an attentive mama hen.

The underside of a hen isn't very fluffy anyway, since she's plucked out lots of feathers to expose more bare skin for maximum heat transfer to her chicks.
Chicks in a broader will be fine if they are warm enough-- they can always snuggle up to each other if they want something fuzzy. :)

I hope your little peeps are doing well! Keep us posted!
 

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