I ordered our meat chickens, a white cornish cross, from a Central Hatchery in Nebraska and they shipped them evening before last via USPS. The idea that these newly hatched chicks can actually survive a trip from Nebraska to Idaho, alive, is amazing to me. The post office called us at 8:43 this morning to tell us they were there, which we knew would happen any minute, literally. We were ready for them, right down to the proper temperature under the heat lamps (95 degrees). We carefully opened the box, hoping like heck they would all be alive and...... Yeah, we are chicken farmers!
I gently took each chick out and dipped their beaks in water so they knew it was available to them and unloaded all 50 of the little cuties. They all arrived safe and sound. Chicks hatch out fed and watered for the first 3 days of life. They absorb the yolk during the hatching phase and can ship immediately as long as they are kept warm. Some hatcheries even ship extras as "packing peanuts" but I ordered the right amount for safe shipping and only got the ones I ordered.
They all found the water and food in short order and should double in size by the beginning of next week. These birds are a super fast growing hybrid bird that are bred specifically for eating. They should be ready to process in 6-10 weeks depending on your method of feeding and whether they are male or female. Your size preference also plays into the time frame. I am letting my husband take most care of these little guys as I don't want to become attached to the fuzzy little things. I am still struggling with raising my own chickens for eating so as little contact with them as possible is necessary for me. I do realize their life will be so much better than at Foster Farms but it still bothers me. We are doing this to raise as much healthy and unmedicated food for our family as possible. I know I cannot name them but just a few came to mind as I unpacked them. Darn it!