Friday, April 7, 2023

Baby Chicks!

Easter is here and it is baby animal time! In the past, Easter Sunday would always be the day that we'd go down to the farm pond, collect water full of tadpoles, set up the aquarium, and watch the baby tadpoles turn into frogs!

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!

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

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)

    In Case of Power Outage

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

    growing chick
    full-looking egg, large web

    empty egg
    lots of empty space with a floating yolk

    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

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

    1:23 am
    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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