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Homeschooling The Well Prepared Child: Operation: Chicken Hatch

Monday, January 19, 2015

Operation: Chicken Hatch

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     We have hatched chicks at the childcare center I work at for years, but we have never actually hatched chicks ourselves. Definitely not from our own eggs! Are we a bit ambitious? Perhaps, but learning is what we do best around here. Even fails are not looked upon as regrets, just opportunities to learn. 

     The other night, Zoey and I were talking about chickens. We had gone by a local feed store to pick up feed for our chickens and the pig. We were really excited for spring and new spring chicks. No one in town has chicks yet. So I thought, why wait? I have a rooster, my Amazingly Awesome Neighbor, Bree, has a rooster... So why not? I also have some awesome connections at our local Ag Extension office. I gave my friend a call and asked if we could borrow an incubator. 

The very next day... Tadaa! 
Operation: Chick Hatch is underway! 

Funny side story, she told me to fill the bottom reservoir, and we did. BUT, I thought the whole bottom was the reservoir, and filled the whole bottom. Yup, I pretty much flooded the garage floor. 

     One of my nephews, Collin, came to stay the night and he helped us set up the incubator. I explained we were going to hatch our own chicks. I'm not sure he knows what to think of us. I have heard the words 'strange' and 'cool' come out of his mouth on several occasions. He is 10 and pretty much a city type kid. 

     Now to figure out if our eggs were actually fertile. We headed on over to The Chicken Chick to see how to tell if our eggs were going to produce some babies. Lots of great info there. We learned about blastoderms and the difference between an incubated fertile egg and an un-incubated fertile egg. This morning I cracked open one of our eggs laid by Little Red, and guess what we found? A BULLS EYE! 

     We have long suspected our Jersey Giants were laying eggs, but our rotten little stinker pup, Bo, was finding them and eating the eggs as they laid them. Today, we found an egg from one of our Jersey Giants. We marked it with a JG, for Jersey Giant, and the date we put it in the incubator. 

     Bree came over later and put in 4 more eggs, marked with her initials and the date. These are just our tester eggs. According to these instructions sent to me by a friend that swears by the Farmer's Almanac, we need to wait a few days to start incubation. Like I said, we are just testing to see if our eggs are truly fertilized, and what they look like when they have been incubated for a while. We watched a cool video from a Wiki How tutorial about candling eggs. We plan on trying it in about 4 days. If we see signs of fertilization and growth, we will place the eggs we gather between Jan. 22nd and the 29th into the incubator with the others as well. 

Yes, we fixed the upside down eggs very carefully...

Wish us luck and stay tuned for updates! :D 

Have you hatched your own chicks? 

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