How To Hatch Chicken Eggs In Your Classroom
Hatching Chicks In The Classroom
Hatching chicken eggs in the classroom can be a really educational and memorable experience for children. Before you decide to go ahead with an egg hatching project you really need to learn all you can about hatching chicken eggs. I have done this project with kindergarteners and preschoolers. The first year that I decided to incubate chicken eggs I had no idea what I was doing. I am really lucky that any eggs hatched at all! I learned a lot about hatching, but information was hard to find. This article will help you become familiar with the hatching process and help you gather all of the tools you will need in order to make your classroom incubation project a success.
Image courtesy of Salvatore Vuono / FreeDigitalPhotos.net
Chicken Eggs - Where can you get them? How do you hatch them?
Finding chicken eggs is pretty easy. You can get them from local farms, or order them online. If you order them online you can find package deals that include everything you'll need for incubation. Make sure you are comfortable with all of the the items that come in the kit because without a good incubator, you may end up disappointed.
Before you order your eggs you should keep in mind that it takes 21 days for chicken eggs to hatch. Day one starts on the day you place them in the incubator. You will need to make sure that your eggs will hatch on a day that you are at work. You also want to make sure that you have a plan for weekend care or school breaks. The chicks cannot be left alone over the weekends. They need a lot of attention.
This is an all in one kit. You'll still need to pick up some chick feed!
Incubating Chicken Eggs - This is the most important part!
You will need an incubator to keep your chicken eggs at the ideal temerature and humidity for hatching. You need to set up your incubator ahead of time to make sure that you are maintaining a constant temperature of 99.5 degrees with 50% humidity. In order to control humidity you will poor warm water in the bottom of the incubator. If it gets too humid you will have to use your incubators instructions to lower humidity. Many incubators have a little window or plug that can be adjusted to control humidity. After day 18 you should increase humidity to 70-80%.
Additional Incubators - If you want to look for different models, here are a few to choose from
This incubator is nice because it holds a lot of eggs and it has circulated air. The circulated air helps keep the temperature even throughout the incubator. The window is a little small and may make it difficult for students to see the hatching process.
This incubator hold a lot of eggs and has a still air heating system. That means that the air does not blow. The first incubator I used was still air, and I had a good hatch. I just needed to keep a closer eye on the temperature in various areas of the incubator.
Automatic Egg Turner - This makes hatching so much easier
You will definately want to invest in an automatic egg turner. Eggs need to be turned regularly in order for the chicks to develop properly. If you do not have an automatic turner, you will have to do it manually several times a day. Make sure that before you put the eggs into the turner you have tested to turner to make sure it works properly.
Make sure you stop turning eggs and remove the egg turner three days prior to hatching! If you leave the eggs in the turner it could harm the chicks during and after they hatch.
More Automatic Egg Turners To Choose From
This egg turner fits well in the incubator and will match the color.
This turner is yellow and also fits well in the incubators featured.
Here is one final egg turner model. Its design is a little different from the other two, but it also turns very evenly.
Here's a combo kit. I like it because it comes with an incubator and egg turner. The fit well together.
When you are ready to place the fertilized eggs into the incubator it is important to make sure they are placed correctly. You need to make sure that you place the eggs with the large end up. This is where the head is going to develop. If you place the eggs with the small end up, the chicks will not develop correctly, and if they do, they may have a hard time hatching.
Helping Struggling Chicks
Remember that if a chick is having a hard time hatching, you should leave it alone. Some chicks will not survive the hatch and there is usually a reason for that. I learned that the hard way. When I hatched my first batch of chicks I helped a struggling chick and it ended up struggling to survive for almost a week before it died.
Brooders - Where will your chicks live?
After your chicks have hatched they will need to be transferred to a brooder box. The brooder should be heated and chicks should have food and water available at all times. You can purchase a brooder or you can use a rubbermaid container. I prefer the brooder because it is easier to clean and it comes with a heat source.
This is a nice brooder because it comes with a heat source. It also has an easy to clean pan to clean droppings. Chicks can get really messy. I also like the water and food troughs.