In my usual chaotic week's activities, Wednesday was more chaotic than usual. I had scheduled my shearer to come mid-afternoon-ish, so had planned on taking a half-day of vacation. I really should know better by now. Really.
Late morning, I got a call from my post office. My meat chick order had come in and needed to be picked up before 3. I was surprised, as they were supposed to be shipped Tuesday and I usually received them in the early morning of the second day. This is the first time that I have ordered chicks from this hatchery. I chose them for all good reasons: 1) they were closer than the hatchery I usually use (meaning less stress and a shorter transport for the chicks); 2) they hatched their own chicks, as opposed to contracting them out; 3) they were notably cheaper - including vaccinations in the per-chick price and their shipping was less than half of what I had been paying; 4) it was a family-run, small operation; and 5) they had gotten rave reviews.
I hurried through the basics at the office and headed out to the post office. When I walked in, the postmistress and a customer were discussing my chick shipment. Both were shaking their heads sadly. As I stepped up to claim my shipment, I noticed that the box did not make the usual ear-splitting peeping. That was because, out of 20 chicks, only six had survived. And only one of those had a good pair of lungs. I was devastated. As ironic as it sounds - I mean, meat chicks are for, well, meat - it is heartbreaking to see that many tiny yellow bodies. I had gotten the car good and warmed up, so popped the box under the floor heater and headed for home.
At home there awaited and brandy-new brooder, with whizzbang heaters, warm lights and safely snugged in my shed. Blissfully away from the house. The reality was that I could not put six extremely stressed chicks in that big brooder. Le sigh. Into the laundry room they went, with a Jerry-rigged brooder, warm lights, specially treated water with probiotics and electrolytes. They were pretty droopy. They remain stressed, but are alive and I hope that they pull through. I called the hatchery and was informed that, yes, they had had trouble with the shipper. I would say so. They are replacing the order next week. Which means more time off and now I have a LOT of them. Le sigh again. I really should stop trying to plan.
****The shearer did not arrive until almost 5:45 - over two hours after our scheduled appointment. Although I knew there was a high probability that he would be running late, I had almost given up hope. Good thing I didn't. I love my shearer - and he brought along his fiance who I now equally love. All three sheep were in good shape, with the exception of my problem-child, Linden. He has perennial hoof problems. His hoof rot was back, dammit. However, J, my shearer, knows his stuff and is not afraid to cut down drastically to get as much of the damaged foot material off. He draws blood, something I am loathe to do. And, his fiance is a nurse! She doctored his gory foot, drenched it in Coppertox, then Wound Kote, then bandaged him up. They also took charge of all the drenching and vaccinating, so all I did was fetch and carry. We have a long way to go, and I have to paint Coppertox on Lindy's hooves for a few weeks, but I think we have a chance. It was the best $40 I ever spent.
Dexter continues to thrive - he's a handful. Even though his man parts were banded this past Sunday. As my farmer neighbor and his fairly-useless sidekick labored away, he said, "Wow, I'm glad we're not using these on ME - they look like little green Cheerios!" Ouch.