It seemed hard for me to believe that 15 barely hours-old chicks could be shipped from McMurray Hatchery’s in Iowa to my little post office in Upstate New York – intact and alive to boot. Amazing really! But I placed my trust in the process and with the hatch date for my chicks fast approaching each night after work I would head out to the garage to continue my coop construction. Some nights I would work out there beyond midnight never tiring. So unlike me really. The truth is that I didn’t realize I had that kind of energy or commitment anymore. Pulling all-nighters is for the young – or so I thought. What I discovered is that when one gets committed the energy reserves arrive somehow. Don’t misunderstand me, I was tired much of the time during coop construction, but I was excited about the prospect of raising a little flock of chickens. I was excited about the insect control they would provide, excited about the prospect of home-grown fertilizer for the gardens and on top of all that EGGS! My hens would provide eggs! No kidding! Seemed like a WIN/WIN! Who wouldn’t want chickens with all those benefits?
Long before I placed my order online with the hatchery I’d done my due diligence or so I thought. I thoughtfully browsed all the available chicken breeds, chose the Black Australorps and Buff Orpingtons for their gentle disposition and winter hardiness. I ordered a rooster for the flock on purpose! (Oh my what a mistake that would prove to be.) Now in hind sight I can see that I had barely scratched the surface of what there is to know about raising chickens.
But onward in my ignorance I went sawing and drilling until the coop began to take shape. I would need to call in my brother-in-law, Conrad, to use his Ramset hammer to affix the bottom boards to the concrete, but other than that I built the coop myself. The whole process that started out as overwhelming at once became empowering. I learned to use power tools in a careful and conscious way. I learned to build something big and not to be a quitter. I learned that when you press that “buy now” button you’d better be prepared for the consequences of your actions.
Thankfully, the coop was finish with a little time to spare and as I filled the space with wood shavings, waterer, feeder and heat lamp my excitement at their arrival began to escalate. Most nights after work I would go out into the empty coop and stand there in amazement and anticipation.
When I got my email notification they my chicks were on the way I was very excited and then when I got the early a.m. call two days later from our local post office I was beside myself with excitement. As I drove to the post office that morning I had no idea how my daily routine would change…