Yesterday was a nerve-wracking day. My 15 Muscovy ducklings were due to arrive by U.S. Express Mail at the Post Office by noon. They were hatched in PA on Tuesday, the 15th, and shipped in a special box that afternoon, guaranteed to arrive before noon on the next day (yesterday). I knew the Express Mail truck would arrive about 6:00 a.m., so at about 9:00 in the morning, I called the Post Office to see where they were. I explained to the lady on the other end of the phone that ducklings are more fragile than chicks, which can live 4 days without food or water after hatching (if need be). Ducklings, on the other hand, need food and water within 24 hours or they will die. She assured me they would probably be on the 10:00 truck.
When I hadn't heard anything by 11:00, I got a tracking number from the shipper and called the Post Office again. I was on and off the phone all day, trying to track down my ducklings, which had last been scanned in Harrisburg, PA at 8 p.m. the evening before. That did not bode well for them arriving in GA any time soon. I called the national tracking center, and they opened a case to track the ducklings. Our own postmistress gave her personal phone number to the central Post Office in Chattanooga and told them that if the ducklings arrived that night, she would personally go get them and deliver them to me. She stayed up till 11 p.m., trying in vain to find them.
I didn't sleep well that night, praying for my poor little ducklings every time I woke up. Suddenly at 6 a.m., Herb burst in to the room to tell me that our postmistress had found the ducklings and they were at the P.O. He had to leave for an early breakfast appointment, so I had to go get them. Half asleep, I stumbled out to the truck, turned the heat on blastingly high, and drove into town.
When I arrived at the Post Office, the man there told me that a couple of the ducklings were dead, but his co-worker assured me that some were okay because they kept popping out of the box, and she had to keep putting them in. They were extremely unhappy, raising quite a racket! I hopped into the hot truck and drove home as fast as I could over the pitch-black roads.
Later in the day, I added more electrolyte solution and more feed, happy to see that my babies were noticeably consuming them! As the sun set, I turned the second light back on; after dark fell, I went back and checked the temperature with the thermometer, lowering the lamps until it was warm enough to get the ducklings through the night. I left them tucked up, warm and with plenty of food and electrolytes, my 13 little ducklings. Hopefully 13 will be a lucky number for you, better than for your three poor siblings. Sleep tight, babies, I'll see you tomorrow!