Part 2: A farm boy's birthday request…the chicks and ducks arrive

The days of anticipation leading up to the arrival of baby chicks and ducklings are almost unbearable for a 7 year old and those who have to listen to his almost hourly updates of how many hours left until his package arrives. 
The day finally arrived.  My husband and older boys had just left the house about 5 minutes before the knock at the door.  It was the postal lady handing over a long awaited package to a very excited 7 year old boy. 
We brought the box inside and he promptly whipped out his pocket knife to cut the plastic ties and open the lid.  The rest of the younger children were gathered around.  Their faces quickly went from overly excited to twisted brow as he pulled off the lid revealing 27 stiff like, feet up in the air, non-thriving chicks and ducklings and one lone live chick standing amongst the dead chirping. 
My first thoughts were, “Why did the guys have to leave before the mail arrived!”
The optimistic 7 year old looked at the “this-is-not-what-I-expected” site and said, “Maybe the rest of them are just tired and laid down to take a nap!”
I took a closer look and said that they weren’t napping…they were dead and that we would put the one chick under a light and give it warmth and put the other ones outside on the porch until the boys arrived home to deal with the situation.  He obviously was very upset and decided to just sit and stare at the box a moment while I gathered the supplies to warm the lone chirping chick. 
A minute later, he announced he saw one of them breathing.  “See, I told you guys…they are alive!” 
We decided to put the entire box under the heat and light and see if we could get water into the one that was breathing.  I found an eye dropper and Patrick began to give the chick water.  An hour later, one chicken I would have left for dead, popped up it’s head and started chirping.  By that time, he had given water to several others  and  we soon had about 11 chicks that were weakly alive and drinking water from the eye dropper. 
That day was consumed with caring for those weak chickens which may sound like a waste of time, but in reality, the children learned many valuable lessons over the course of this last week that I am sure will soon not be forgotten. 
Over the next 4 days, Patrick lost most of the chicks that he had nursed.  He handled it well and I knew he was going to be ok when he announced, “Another chick died…mom…” and then proceeded to open the back door and yell, “Here, kitty-kitty-kitty.”
In the end, he was left with two strong chicks….the original lone chick and the first one he spotted breathing.  Today, he announced proudly, “My 2 chicks are finally 1 week old!” 
His replacement shipment is due to be shipped out next week.  Hopefully, this time it won’t be 19 degrees and the mail will be on time. 


  • mamatrina says:

    Been lurking off and on for a few months (maybe as long as a year?), but had to comment due to the combination of the hilarious “Here, kitty-kitty-kitty” comment and chicks being shipped via USPS. You did a great job of portraying the learning curve of a young boy on a farm. Very funny! I mainly wanted to point out that in our area (northeast nebraska), the day our chicks are due to arrive we get a call apx 7-7:30am from the post office telling us (with lots of cheeping in the background) that “your chicks are here; do you want us to hold your mail here with them for you to pick up?” If we order chicks by mail, I guess our local post office doesn’t want to be responsible for transporting them to our place in the country, so we drive into town to get them. I assumed that all post offices did that, so it was interesting to hear that yours doesn’t!

  • BethTN says:

    His replacement shipment is a day late again…. Should be another interesting story —
    Yes…some post offices call you at the crack of dawn to come get your live package—our previous one did…. These people will deliver or you can pick up…. They are suppose to call us this time….

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