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Failure to Launch

 
Valerie Acquard
Posts: 22
Location: North Woods MN
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This is my first post here. My first problem with poultry, and I don't even have a single bird on my farm yet.

My name is Valerie. I live in the northern reaches of MN.

About a week ago I ordered 25 Straight Run Buckeye chicks from Strombergs hatchery, a hatchery that I thought was in MN. I got confirmation that the chicks would ship on 06/12 and arrive within 48 hours. I expected them the same day as the hatchery is less then a days drive. I wanted low stressed shipping. I also wanted Urich Line Buckeyes, they are a heritage breed, and Strombergs actually has their own line for the breed. So I was confident in my purchase.

It's now late in the evening on the 14th. No birds. I've been bugging the post office they keep sending me to their "tracker" which tracks nothing. I found out through this tracker that the chicks left Portales, New Mexico on the evening of the 12th. NEW MEXICO?!?! I was pissed at this point. I start digging online and find there is a Privette Hatchery in NM. They have a HORRIBLE reputation! Terrible reviews online. Really LOW quality birds. I'm really worried now.

I am not looking forward to going to the post office tomorrow and finding a box of dead chickens. My farm hasn't even gotten started and it's DOA. Everything I've read says chicks only last 48 hours without food or water. I'm so mad. I feel like I was lied to by Strombergs, and mad at myself for trusting a hatchery. I'm just so sad that there is a warm brooder in my house with no chicks to fill it.
 
Adam Klaus
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Posts: 946
Location: 6200' westen slope of colorado, zone 6
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I know it seems impossible, but there is a good chance your chicks will be mostly fine tomorrow at 6am at your post office. It always amazes me how well hatchlings do getting shipped cross country. I am in Colorado and typically order my chicks from Ohio, and it almost always works out great. Dont stress.

FWIW, my experience is that Strombergs is a less than scrupulous hatchery, hence them shipping your order from another hatchery in a far off state. Shady business for sure.
Privette, I have only ordered turkeys from them, and have always been pleased with my poults. So dont stress there either.

Buckeyes are a great breed, good choice. Make sure to give them a good start tomorrow AM. Dip all their beaks in water with raw apple cider vinegar. Feed them some hard boiled egg, crushed up, with a bunch of greens minced in, and a pinch of sand for grit. Have fun, the advenure begins...
 
Valerie Acquard
Posts: 22
Location: North Woods MN
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They made it! I got a call at midnight, got them home by 1am, and had them warm, watered, and fed by 3am. I got no sleep, and I'm still worried. Some of them really don't look like the others. Some of them are almost entirely white. And some of them are so brown. We will have to wait and see if they are truly buckeyes. They sure are cute for the mean time. And some of them look much older then the others, like they hatched days apart. At least they are all alive. The chicks seemed so light in my hand as I dipped beaks. But this morning after a few hours with food they already seem heavier. So they have eaten at least one meal. I'm thinking about grit now. I've heard some people say no grit for the first week. I've heard some say get them grit right away. I've also heard throw a chunk of sod from the yard in there. They will tear it up get grit, greens, bugs, and bacteria from were they will live right away. I like that idea it seems legit to me, but I still feel like I should wait a solid 24 hours so they can de-stress from the shipment. Also, they were very comfortable with me last night when I put them in the brooder. This morning when I checked on them they all fled from me and my hands. Just shy at first? Yes, I'm more then likely paying too much attention to their behavior, but this is my first flock!
 
John Polk
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Posts: 8018
Location: Currently in Lake Stevens, WA. Home in Spokane
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Yes, it is a good idea to put some sod in there with them when they are young.
It gets them into the habit of foraging.
If all they ever see is a feeder full of grain, that's all they'll ever look for.

Foraging will produce healthier birds, control pests, and save you a lot of $$.

 
Julia Winter
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Posts: 1685
Location: Moved from south central WI to Portland, OR
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I would venture to guess that they were all too exhausted to care about you when you first put them in the brooder. Hopefully the skittishness will go away, but for right now I'd take it as a good sign. Spending time with them/near them will help them to acclimate to you.
 
Jay Green
Posts: 587
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Hopefully, if you plan to free range, that skittishness will remain! You'll want a flighty, wary breed to survive life on free range...docile, easy to catch birds aren't suited for that kind of life. Buckeyes should be a good breed for free range if that is what you choose.
 
a wee bit from the empire
The stocking stuffer game for all your Permaculture companions
http://www.FoodForestCardGame.com
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