Wednesday March 21, 2007
Today the chicks are starting to come around. Last night when I went out to check on them five chicks seemed well. Three were still listless. The "Mystery Chick" then died, along with two more of the leghorn chicks.
When I spoke with a poultry extension agent from Wyoming and he said that when chicks get badly chilled there is little that can be done. Sadly, he also commented that the surviving chicks often did not thrive, the cold was enough to stunt them permanently. That seems so sad to me.
Today I called the hatchery and they will re-ship the full order -- new chicks will arrive on Sunday or Monday. They tell me that the Post Office care for chicks has become less and less in the last year or so. Hatcheries are having to deal with higher mortality in the chicks they ship and Patty at the order desk shared my dismay at the poor survival rate.
Another aspect of factory farming is at work here. The huge hatcheries are a type of bird mass production system. The hatchery had no choice. If the chicks had not been shipped because the weather was bad they would have been destroyed anyway. So these five sturdy little survivors are lucky in that way.
One side note -- it rained yesterday. Not only the trees and grass and watershed need the rain, so do I.