We went into Bemidji today to get chicks. We got six Barred Rock pullets, six Buff Orpington pullets, and twelve Cornish Cross for meat.
We took the three littlest girls with us and it was so fun to see them looking at all the babies. Fleet Supply keeps a constant supply of babies at this time of year in metal watering tanks under warming lights. Two of the tanks were duck varieties, and I think they had four or five tanks with the various chicken varieties. They also order a few turkeys in, but these sell out very quickly. We reserved two Standard Bronze turkeys that will arrive in Bemidji on May 3rd.
With the birds displayed in the metal tanks, they are at just the right height for the girls to peer over the edge. They oohed and aahed and told everyone who passed that we were buying chickens. They also pointed out to all the passers-by the two tanks that contained ducks instead of chickens.
The fun thing about buying chicks is visiting with everyone who walks by. Everywhere you look people are smiling. Everyone loves baby chicks. Many people came past just to see all the fluffy babies. People stop to see the chicks and ducklings, but they stay to visit about how many they raised each year as kids, or how hard it was to come home from school that one fall day and find that the chickens were no longer afoot. But everyone is happy while looking at the babies.
After Amber L. (an Oklee girl) put our 24 chicks into their box with a little sawdust and criss-crossed the box flaps to keep everyone safely within, we put the box into the cart and continued our shopping. We needed two bales of sawdust and two bags of chick feed and a few other miscellaneous fleet items.
At one point, Inge was looking around somewhat confusedly. She could hear the chicks peeping quite aggressively, but we were no longer near the tanks where the girls had looked at the chicks. She looked around and up and down and said, "Mama, where the chickies go?"
I held her up to the cart and opened the box a crack for her to peek in. Then I tipped it a bit so Stella and Donna could see, too. Inge stayed in the cart, sitting next to the box. She kept sticking her hand through the box lid until she got nipped a bit. "Chickie bite me."
I said, "See what happens? Just leave the chickies alone."
A few minutes later, I was perusing the adjacent shelves when I heard all three girls give a little squeal. I looked up and Stella was trying to catch a chick that had escaped. I quickly grabbed the chick and reprimanded Stella gently, but she said, "Mom, it was Inge."
I looked over at Inge and sure enough, Inge had little yellow baby chick feathers stuck all over her hand. Poor chickie.
By the time we got home, the three next older kids were home from school, so they had to have a turn at handling the babies. Eventually the novelty wore off, a little sooner for the older ones. But Inge sat up on the table next to the box, just looking at them and touching them and holding them gently.
Joe dragged out the plastic swimming pool we use when they are fresh and new and I grabbed the duct tape to repair the crack that developed in it last year. Joe got the rest of the set-up going, the feeder and waterer and heat lamp while I've been writing. He came in a few minutes ago and got the chicks to transplant into their new home.
The final report, just in, "They seem happy enough."
That was followed by, "When do you have supper planned?"
I looked at the clock and said, "Oops! not again." I must have the world's worst sense of time.
On that note...