We should have seen it coming.
You see, we scheduled our first order of chicks (in this case, hen chicks) for this week. The first chicks of Spring mean we have to get a number of things done before they arrive.
First, you need to make sure you have the necessary supplies. We made sure to get ahead of the game and acquire chick feed, bedding and new heat lamp bulbs. We have some new, clean oat straw and we made sure that we did NOT empty the paper recycling bin just prior to the arrival of chicks.
For those who are unfamiliar with raising chicks, we have a brooder room in one of our buildings that is fairly secure from intrusion by predators. The brooder has areas that can be segmented off so we can start more than one flock in the same room. Each chick starting area has a bed of straw and bedding placed over the cement. For the first few days, we have a layer of newspaper placed over that bedding.
We use heat lamps and put poly-carbonate pieces over the top of the brooder area. A couple of small feeder and a waterer are also placed in the area so the birds have all of their needs met.
We just spent time on Tuesday, cleaning the remaining detritus from last year's efforts out of the brooder and moving things that were stored in that room for the Winter out of the way. We are feeling pretty good about how we've prepared.
So, what should we have seen coming?
It happens every year. We schedule the arrival of our first chicks and THAT is the week the temperatures DROP well below normal. Which means we have to take additional measures to make sure we do not lose chicks to the cold.