past blog posts:
Apr 20, 2017 - Collecting from the Pond
Apr 23, 2017 - Watching "Baby Frog Water"
May 5, 2017 - Tadpole Photos
May 5, 2017 - FIRST FROG...
This year, we are doing baby chicks. Thank you to Ms. Megan for the loan of the incubator, and Ms. Destinee for providing the fertile chicken eggs!
KEBONNIXS 12 Egg Incubator
with Humidity Display, Egg Candler, Automatic Egg Turner
This will be an ongoing post that I update with notes and photos as we go along. Some classroom resources that I already have on hand:
Learning Resources Chick Life Cycle Exploration Set
A Chick Hatches
by Joanna Cole
this is a MUST BUY!
The Egg (First Discovery Books)
by Pascale De Bourgoing
An Egg Is Quiet
by Dianna Aston
Egg: Nature's Perfect Package
by Steve Jenkins & Robin Page
We incubated eggs every year when I taught at the Montessori school in Maryland, and I have adorable photos of my daughters tenderly holding baby chicks. It is such a lovely event to be a part of. I am really excited!
How to Incubate Chicken Eggs
Egg Anatomy (JPG)
Caring for baby chicks in the brooder, 0 - 8 weeks
UPDATE: I also just realized that setting the humidity on the incubator is a wonderful connection to our topic of Weather in Science Club, and will be useful for the students who are studying Percents as well!
Friday, Apr 7 - get incubator
- pro tip: make a template of the hatching space (I used parchment paper) and cut the piece of shelf liner now, instead of doing it on day 18 while the lid to the incubator is off and the eggs are getting cold!
Chicken egg incubator lockdown: what it is, why it's critical for a successful hatch, and how to do it in 5 simple steps
Tuesday, Apr 11 - get 12 eggs from Dayempur Farm, set up incubator
- upstairs bathroom counter (no direct sunlight, no drafts)
if needed, wipe eggs first with a warm washcloth (no soap)
temperature - 99.5 degrees F
humidity for the first 18 days - 45 to 55%
humidity for the last 3 days - 65 to 75%
mark each egg with an X in pencil to test the egg turner
Thursday, Apr 13 - day 2
- the power went out for 2 1/2 hours and the incubator temp dropped to 87 degrees F
I didn't find out until later that I should have put a cardboard box over it (this preserve heats but maintains healthy air circulation)
Sunday, Apr 16 - day 5
- the power went out for 2 3/4 hours and the incubator temp dropped to 81 degrees F
the cardboad box didn't seem to help, so next time (if it happens again), I'm going to put the incubator inside a Styrofoam cooler
Talib says that as long as it doesn't drop below 72 they won't die, but I'm still worried about them
Wednesday, Apr 19 - day 8
- candle eggs (light candling)
it's still hard to see at this stage, so I don't know why they tell you to do it at one week (compare with this video on day 13)
pro tip: when you place the eggs back in the incubator after candling, put the pencil X facing upwards so you can test the egg turner again before putting on the lid
I'd like to try water candling our eggs at day 15; I particularly like that you do it in 100 degree water so that the chicks stay warm enough! I also think it'll be exciting for the children to see them move
Tuesday, Apr 15 - day 14
- candle eggs (water candling)
candle eggs (light candling)
it is very true that the web is SO easy to see at this point, and what we thought was baby chicks before was just the yolk floating around (we opened two empty eggs to be sure)
today we discovered that we have only one viable egg
the farm where we got the eggs has many hens and only one rooster, so we knew that a low percentage of fertile eggs was a possibility
we did water candle half of our eggs first but were disappointed by the results since they didn't wiggle; after light candling, we realized that it was because these weren't viable eggs! next time I would
- 1 - not candle until day 14
2 - have the bowl of 100 degree water near the incubator so that if an egg did have a web, we could put it in the water and try to see the chick kick!
Saturday, Apr 29 - day 18
- prepare for the arrival of baby chicks!
I put a gold star sticker under the egg for day 18 in our count-down set, so that we would be sure not to miss it
we followed the five steps of Incubator Lockdown:
I put down the shelf liner to create a non-slip surface for the baby chicks, removed the egg turner, added additional water to increase the humidity level (65 - 75%), put back the water pot cover (to prevent the chicks from drowning), laid the eggs in on their sides, closed the lid, fully opened the air vent to ensure enough ventilation
for us, with the air vent being open all the way, it became harder to keep the humidity level in the incubator high
trick #1 - put a paper towel saturated with hot water in the incubator to bring the level up (and then remove it so it doesn't go too high)
trick #2 - if the incubator is in your bathroom, take a hot shower!
we also set up the brooder box so that we'd be all ready for day 21
Making a DIY brooder box for baby chicks
our brooder box setup:
large plastic bin
radiant heat source
non-medicated chick starter food
hanging feeder & hanging waterer
shelf liner & paper towels (for day 1-2)
reptile bedding (for day 3+)
Brinsea Products Ecoglow 20 Safety 600 Brooder
Mile Four | Organic Chick Feed | 100% US Grown Grains, Certified Organic, Certified Non-GMO, Corn-Free, Soy-Free, Non-Medicated Chicken Food | 21% Protein | Mash | 2 lbs.
Your Happy Chicks 1 Qt. Hanging Harness with Plastic Bottle and Feeder Base
Your Happy Chicks 1 Qt. Hanging Harness with Plastic Bottle and Waterer Base
Zoo Med Reptile Bark Fir Bedding
I used this in my old classroom and you couldn't smell the chickens!
Tuesday, May 2 - day 21
- just after midnight, the chick had pipped internally and I heard a few faint cheeps
when we woke up at 7:30 am, there was one external pip
then for the entire day, nothing happened
if you are worried about your chicks not hatching, I recommend this article
Wednesday, May 3 - day 22
- just after midnight, there was a second pip
the chick began unzipping
our chick is born!
We did end up having a second egg in the incubator. When we discovered that we had only one viable egg, Ms. Destinee added an egg from her family's chicken (also laid Apr 11) to our incubator so that our chick wouldn't have to be alone. Sadly, that egg did not hatch. So our little chick, Buttercup, went to stay at Ms. Destinee's house with her other chicks.
On Wednesday, we also began a batch of fermented chick feed. For more on this, check out our Science Club blog post Fungi week 4.
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