What you don't hear from these photos is the little "peep-peep-peep" emanating from the box. It makes you smile.
There are five chicks in this delivery, one is hiding in the back. The white packs in the front are little heat packs. Day-old chicks can be shipped in the mail because for the first day or so they live off their yolk sac that they ingest right before they hatch. These ladies must have hatched out late Sunday and early Monday, checked to make sure they're females (I ordered all females) and popped into the box for overnight delivery. They just need to be kept warm, and the more the merrier in the box. Meyer Hatchery, where we got this order, has a minimum order of 3 chicks, and many hatcheries are catering to backyard flocks by facilitating small orders like this. Murray McMurray Hatchery, where Martha Stewart gets her chicks, has a minimum order of 25. That's a lot of eggs. By the way, you don't need a rooster if you want eggs. If you want chicks, you need a rooster!
All loaded into their new home! When I first put them in, I dip their beaks into the water so they know where it is. We got 5 different varieties this time. It is so hard to choose! From the top going clockwise, the light yellow chick is a Buff Orpington, the reddish tan one is a Rhode Island Red, the next darker tan is a Partridge Rock, the black one is a Barred Rock (like our first batch in 2007), and the tan striped one is a Ameraucana. They all lay brown eggs except the Ameraucana, which lays tinted blue, greenish and brown eggs. They are all supposed to be hardy for our climate and good layers at about 4-6 eggs per week each when they reach egg-laying age at about 5 months.
They found the food pretty quickly and dove in, sometimes literally! I put some chicken vitamins in the water for the first few days, which is why it looks like Mountain Dew in these photos. I had to reintroduce them to the water after they found the food, and they caught on to drinking quickly. Soon the paper towels showed evidence of a working digestive system, a good sign. It's all very cute now but it gets a little messy for a cardboard box in a few weeks.