Grit Blogs > Red Pine Mountain

Day-Old Chicks: While Mountain Man Is Away

Red Pine Mountain logoMountain Man left last week for the Ozarks, and his parting words were “Try not to get into trouble while I'm gone.” I solemnly promised I would try and I was doing fine for a while but . . .

At 6:00 a.m. one morning, I’m barely awake and enjoying my first cup of coffee watching the dogs run around outside. The phone rings and I jump. Mountain Man never calls this early. Something must be wrong. Something was wrong all right but not with Mountain Man.

“This is the Post Office. We have your chicks here.”

“Chicks, what chicks?”

“Chicks you must have ordered. There’s a box here with your name on it, and you can come pick them up now if you’d like.”

Oh, no! Not the chicks! I wasn't supposed to be getting any chicks this year. It all started last winter when Mountain Man finally told me I could have chickens. I went crazy shopping for poultry by mail lured by pictures of adorable chicks in catalogs and placed quite a large order. As time went by and I got busy with my additional horses and greenhouse projects, I decided I had my hands full and called to find out if I could cancel the order. After all, they weren't due to arrive in Vermont for months.

“Not a problem” the woman on the phone said. “I'll do it right now.” I hung up and gave it no further thought.

Now I'd done it. Mountain Man was going to kill me. Panic set in and I jumped in the car and headed to pick up my babies. What was I going to do? I wasn’t ready for chicks. Mountain Man had stopped work on their part of the barn when I decided I wasn't getting them and now here they were.

I could hear them long before I walked in the Post Office. Angry chirps greeted me. “Get me out of here!” they seemed to be saying. I picked up the box and headed to the car. “Ouch, which one of you pecked me?” Seems I wasn’t going fast enough and some little devil had stuck it’s beak out of the hole and expressed its displeasure.

Brrr, it was freezing outside. Of course, the Northeast Kingdom had to pick today to have unseasonably cold weather and the only thing I did know was newly hatched chicks require heat. I cranked up the thermostat and headed home as fast as I could sweating profusely and listening to very loud birds. Who knew babies could make so much noise?

Home, now where to put them? The tack room! Mountain Man had installed a heating system in there last year thank goodness. I cranked up the thermostat to 90 and dragged out a space heater. “Hold on little ones. I have to go get your supplies.”

I was in luck. The local feed store opens early in the summer. “Help, I need supplies for baby chicks,” I said, and help me they did. Who knew such small birds required so many items? I left loaded down with organic chick starter, heat lamps, a feeder, a water pan and electrolytes and a giant horse water trough for the babies to live in until Mountain Man returns.

The hatchery had enclosed instructions to put down paper towels covered with food for the first day of the chicks’ life. That was easy enough. Now I had to hang the heat lamps. That proved more challenging as I remembered my promise to Mountain Man not to burn down the farm. Took me a while but I think Mountain Man would be proud or at least not worried our new barn would go up in flames.

Now it was time to release my tiny brood; guineas, Narragansett turkeys, buff Brahmas, Golden Laced Cochins and Easter Egg chickens (that’s really what they are called). I opened the box and held my breath. Oh, if any one of them were dead, I’d blame myself. But they were fine. So please welcome the newest 35 residents of Red Pine Mountain.

My first look at the new babies.

First look at the new chicks.

Another first look picture

Here are the lilac guineas.

Lilac guinea keets

Checking out their new residence.

Chicks checking out their new residence

And my newest blog star, one of the turkeys who is already learning to play to the camera.

A turkey chick playing to the camera.

I'm happy to say all the babies are doing just fine. But, if you happen to be in the Ozarks and see Mountain Man, well, let's just keep this our little secret until he returns.

george boothe
8/8/2010 7:42:53 PM

mountain woman.. great news... we sat down at a quite little place and finally discussed why she was so afraid to move. All she has ever known is New Jersey. She did move to Georgia for about a year with me but got really home sick and came back to NJ. Anyways to make a long story short We are planning to buy a nice 14.5 acre parcel in New York. it's about 40 minutes from Syracuse and is right along a snowmobile trail. about 9 acres are cleared and bush hogged every year, and they have been using it in previous years for hay production. Looks like a good piece of property. The sellers are really friendly and easy to talk to unlike some of the sells we have come across. Hope everything goes as close to according to plan as possible we even planned a little extra for the unexpected.. Our plan is a conservative, 6 acre garden area, 5 acres for farm animals, cows, pig or two, chickens, and maybe a few goats, and 3.5 acres for the house ( green house) with solar and wind turbines I plan to build to save me money. We will try to keep you updated and stay in touch. Take care and thanks for the help. George


mountain woman
7/20/2010 6:06:55 AM

Hi George, I'm so glad my suggestion helped. Thanks for letting me know. They are egg layers. See you in the country!


george boothe
7/19/2010 9:08:59 PM

thanks that helped a lot. she is starting on her list and we'll move on from there. Thanks a bunch.. love the chicks by the way. Did you get them for laying eggs or for pets or for meat?


mountain woman
7/19/2010 6:32:27 AM

Hi George, Thanks for dropping by. I think my advice to you would be to focus on what your wife enjoys as far as hobbies and interests and try to have her make a list of what she loves to do and also what worries her about moving to the country. Is she worried she won't have an active social life with lots of friends? Then maybe a rural place like Vermont with active town life would appeal to her. Is she worried about shopping? Schools? Money? Then have her write what she loves doing. Once she has it all written down then maybe it will be easier for you two to move towards an agreement. Just because you live in the country doesn't mean all her interests would have to change. Also, could you try renting a place for a year and that way if it's not for you, you could return? I hope that helps somewhat and I hope you get to follow your dreams.


george boothe
7/18/2010 9:41:01 AM

Hello mountain man and mountain woman. Love your place. looks really pretty there. I have one big question. How did you guys decide to give up city life for the country. See right now I want to move out like you folks and live off the land. I used to farm every summer with my grandparents on their farms. I loved it, and would love to share that experience with my kids and maybe teach them so skills for their life. My wife... not so thrilled... and very hesitant. some times she's like yeah lets go.. and other times she's like ... I'm not sure what i want to do. Any ideas on how to convince her it's the right thing to do? thanks, Big G


mountain woman
7/15/2010 6:14:00 AM

Thanks Shannon. They are growing by leaps and bounds and have moved to their new quarters. You are so right about getting stuck with something. I can't believe how much fun I'm having. Thanks for visiting me.


s.m.r. saia
7/14/2010 10:16:47 AM

Oh my gosh, that story is so funny, and so cool!!! They're adorable! I've also had to postpone chicken plans this year due to having so much else going on. Sometimes getting stuck with something isn't such a bad thing. It pushes us forward whether we're ready or not! Good luck! I look forward to hearing more about them and seeing them grow!


mountain woman
7/13/2010 3:19:18 PM

Hi Nebraska Dave, It's so good to see you here and on my RPM blog! Yes, the bear has gone thank goodness. I've always wanted a large number of animals and MM made me wait until he was sure I really knew what I was getting into. He's done such a great job with my beautiful chicken room and he's got the excavator out working on their new yard. He even nursed one of the guineas back from the edge of death. He's lived on the farm for so many years and he told me he keeps forgetting that all this is new to me and he really enjoys seeing me wide eyed at all the new experiences I'm having from giant pumpkins to turkeys and my very own horse. It's been fantastic. Yes, I do enjoy the old television shows and I think no show has ever compared to Lucy. I sure manage to get myself into those kinds of predicaments but I'm still searching for my Ethel. I love my life. It's how I've dreamed of living since I was a small child and it's a fantasy to have my dream come true. I thank God every day for my good fortune. Thanks so much for visiting me.


nebraska dave
7/13/2010 2:08:47 PM

@Mountain Woman, I’m kind of privy to the inside story from your personal blog and know that Mountain Man may not have really liked the chicken addition too much but, being the kind hearted man that he is, finished up the barn chicken area for your surprise chicks. Hopefully they are now out of the water tank and into their new home. You have such exciting adventures to write about way out in the woods. How could anyone not be envious of your way of life? If you keep adding to your animals, you will need a bigger place before long. I thought it quite amusing that you would remember the Lucy show about the chickens. All of her shows over the years were so funny and family friendly. Don’t you wish that those kind of shows would come back? Guineas are an interesting bird and mix well with chickens. They will be the watch dog of the place for anything out of ordinary. They will cause a ruckus that can not be missed. Your menagerie is growing by leaps and bounds. I bet as you indicate that Mountain Man will think twice about leaving again. I haven’t heard any more about the bear so I expect that part of the mountain adventure is over. Once again Mountain Man wins in the wilderness of Vermont. Mountain Man 1 bears 0.


mountain woman
7/13/2010 5:39:32 AM

Robyn, Thanks for visiting me. They are cute and sometimes I just sit there and watch them play. I'm really glad none arrived dead. Cindy, I learned a lot fast and luckily they are all thriving and growing. Mountain Man did get home and wasn't pleased but he got busy working on their coop and they are now in a roomy area. I never knew how much I'd enjoy chickens but the turkeys are my favorite. Thanks for visiting me.


cindy murphy
7/12/2010 9:03:57 PM

You know, Mountain Woman, I have no inkling what-so-ever to raise chickens, but I have to admit those little guys are sure danged cute. And you did it by yourself! Both you and the chicks survived! I bet Mountain will be proud when he returns.


robyn dolan
7/12/2010 6:25:32 PM

Oh, so cute! I love baby chicks. Incidentally, if any had arrived dead, the hatchery will usually replace them...