Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Thinking Outside the Box

I was pumping gas when the inspiration struck.


Yes, a kiddie pool would be perfect!

Yikes, did I just say that out loud? (I do that sometimes) I looked around the gas station…no one was looking at me oddly.  Phew…I guess I didn’t actually express my weird and random thoughts to any total strangers. (for a change)

But, a kiddie pool…yeah.  

Great idea!

However, it would have to wait.  I was on my way to the feed store and I couldn’t have a pool in the back of the truck when I pulled up to the mill. (I’m pretty sure they have their doubts about me at the feed store, anyway.  No need to confirm any suspicions.)  Besides, I should really check with the Boss…

My town trip being…well, a trip to town…I got focused on other things and completely forgot about the kiddie pool… (and the somewhat unusual use I had in mind)

…until the next day…when I was doing something else completely unrelated.  And this time I did say out loud, “A KIDDIE POOL! I meant to get a kiddie pool!”

By now you're probably wondering about me, too, so I guess I better back this story up just a little bit.

Back in the winter, I sat down with a calendar and very carefully calculated the dates for chick deliveries.  I made the orders, marked the calendar and received confirmations from the hatchery.  All was right with the world.


We always get the first batch from the farm store.  Read about that adventure here.  This method has worked for years as the farm store got fairly large quantities at one time and they stayed warmer in transit, so we would suffer no travel related fatalities.  (this is a very real problem, chicks must be kept WARM, WARM in the early days of their life---winter time is a hard time to ship)

Since the farm store didn’t have chicks as early as they had in the past, it threw all my calculations off.  But, this didn’t occur to us until we were in the midst of batch #2.  It was too late to re-schedule delivery…we would just “wing it”.  (and that always goes so well…)

We ended up with a backlog of chickens. The broilers in the field pen had to be processed before the broilers in the brooder could move out…and the broilers in the brooder had to move because the Post Office lady would be calling soon to tell me that the cheeping chicks were driving her mad.  Yikes!

We scrambled around, processed broilers a few days early, did a somewhat haphazard cleaning job on the brooder, and got the chicks out of the box in the shop and into the brooder with fairly little difficulty.

All was right once more.

Until I got an email from the hatchery and realized that (OH CRAP) it was going to happen again!  We were going to have another backlog of chicks.  The whole scenario was playing out again, except this time we didn’t have the option of early processing.

Ordinarily, when we have some unexpected scheduling or weather issues, we just plop the babies in a big box in the shop.  A couple of days in the big Rubbermaid hopper and we can get back on track.  But, over a week?  Ugh.  That would be seriously gross.  Chicks don’t have a great range of activity.  They eat. They sleep. They poop. (a lot)  Believe me, that box would just be nasty after seven or more days.  It had to be something other than the box.

I had been racking my brain for a week trying to come up with a solution.  The Boss really didn’t want the chicks in the shop that long (they make a lot of dust, too).  He needed to do some repair jobs and needed the space. …and there’s always the concern about the errant barn kittie visiting the shop…and I’m pretty sure the introductions between kitties and chicks would be quite short…and tasty (for the cat).  I felt like this was a problem of my own making…So, what WAS I going to do?

Enter the pile of kiddie pools at the grocery store.

That would definitely do it! (I'm sure other folks have used this idea, so don't think that I think that I'm brilliant or anything like that.  I really don't know why we haven't done it before.)

As I was sweltering away picking broccoli, I suddenly remembered the kiddie pools. Maybe it was the heat that reminded me, I’m not sure.  At that point, all I could think about was getting to town and getting a pool.  As it got hotter I could just envision a mass migration to the store to buy kiddie pools. Surely all of Augusta County was thinking of cooling off on this hot, humid day. Hold on there, masses! I need one for my chicks!  I finally got to a stopping point, told the Boss my plan, hopped in the farm truck and I was off…to get my “chickie pool”. 

I was surprised to find a whole pile of pools.  No great line of hot and weary customers eager to buy them.  Except for the rather bewildered looking little old man who nearly collided with me and my pool, I didn’t even see any other customers in the store.  It was 87* with 50% humidity…I would have thought EVERYONE would have been buying pools!

tethered down and headed home

Back at the farm, we put the pool in  the greenhouse that is currently standing idle.  By putting it underneath the propagation table, I had a place to hang the heatlamp (not needing THAT today, let me tell you!).  After I dumped some shavings, got the feed and water set up…we were just waiting for that call from the Post Office.
ready for chicks

The Post Office lady always seems so relieved when I walk into the post office to relieve her of her tiny charges. Today was no exception.

Despite one transit fatality, the “pool chickies” seem to have adapted well and are cheeping and scratching around inside their little pool. It’s kind of cute and looks like it is going to work. In a little over a week, they’ll move to the brooder and the “greenhouse-brooder” can go back to being just a greenhouse...and the kiddie pool will find a new use or need a place to be stored.

the "pool chickies"

  I have checked the calendar (again)---we’re back on track for the season!  Woohoo!
No worries that they'll stay WARM today!

…and once they finally move to the brooder…we can just add a lawn chair to our pool and we’ll be set for the next hot spell.


  1. Our local feed store does the same-we also use smaller kiddie pools, half way filled with ice, to put summer salads in during a party! Lots of uses besides plopping the kids in!

    1. What a COOL idea! (pun intended) Thanks for sharing.

  2. The pic of those fat little yellow balls eating in the Chickie Pool is so darn CUTE! If we eat cute things, does it make us cute too? Just wondering.

    1. "If we eat cute things, does that make us cute, too?" hmmm
      Unfortunately, broilers are no longer cute by the time they are, WHERE does that leave us? LOL

  3. As somebody said Barbara (can't remember who) 'Fortune favours the prepared mind.'

  4. I really enjoy reading all of your blogs. Keep it up!