The foreboding mystery-thing in the garage turns out to be full of cute: 27 chicks.
They come in the mail from Murray McMurray hatchery in Iowa*. We got a phone call from the PO at 5 AM, telling us to come and get them because they sound hungry. So, after our own breakfast, we tooled over to the PO and picked up a small box full of chirp. One never really got adjusted to being out of the egg, and died in a day. It's been a couple of weeks now, so they're much bigger. In a week or two they will enter their spectacularly ugly teenage years.
*Hence the saying "the chick is in the mail."