Eggs & Chicks

One of  the beautiful aspects of homeschooling is that it never ends.  When we walk we are schooling, when we sit and read we are schooling.  Well, today we experienced some living science!!

We built an incubator about 3 weeks ago.  We were saving eggs for many days, not sure how  many were fertilized (and I assure you they are not all fertilized since many stink).  Then we put them in the incubator and started the clock.  21 days.  That is how long a momma hen sits on her eggs.  So 21 days in the incubator and we should have a chick or two.  Estimated Date : August 9

I expected failure.  Not sure, exactly why.  I forgot to flip them one day and read that was disastrous, so I expected nothing.  I still felt panic at 5 am when I realized that they were not flipped.  But they seem to have survived despite me (there is hope for my kids yet!).


So when we got home from supper later night, and I was quite sure my son did not roll them while I was out, I went over and started rolling.  While rolling one egg, in particular, it squeaked.  I thought it was the egg against the towel squeaking.  Then I took my hand off and it squeaked again!!!

I called in Robert!!  Then we noticed a slight crack in the egg.  Oh my!!  So we went to bed, hoping something might happen over night.  (I expected the worst, still.)

first crack with arrow

When I woke up I went to check on the eggs, and low and behold a baby was out and laying there.  My fears were realized.  it died, because of something I did wrong ( I assumed).  So, again, I got Robert.  When he got there, I opened the incubator it to move the chicken out and it stood up!!  Oh my again!!

We were so excited, called the kids!  They were shocked (this is 3 days early, mind you!!).  So I grabbed the book, because  I had no plan if they actually hatched; like I said before, I expected failure.  I did not know what you do once they hatch.

I do now!

first baby hatched

You leave them.  Until they dry and fluff up.  Then you move them to the brooder.  Then, I know the rest, we have raised 3 batched of chicks.  Whew.  I think I can do this.

So we noticed, 2 other eggs cracking.  We hoped to come home and find 2 more chicks.  Instead, we came home and watched this:

Really.  Does it get any better than this?  For a couple of kids who love animals, to watch a baby being hatched? 

We can all hardly wait to get our hands around these adorable (okay ugly) little things!!

The best part?  They are all talking to each other.  The egg that will hatch today, chirping to the 2 that are out.  And the 2 babies are usually snuggling up next to each other.  This is amazing!

What I learned today:

chicks “pip” before they come out – once they “pip” they are out in 24 hours

they have to dry before we move them

they do not need any help, and are just fine when their friends try to help, or simply walk on them

you can do things imperfectly and still get chicks (the best one!)

Here is what we did for our incubator:

1 styrofoam cooler (10$)

1 shop light ($7)

2 wash cloths (free)

2 bowls with water (free)

1 thermometer that registers temp & humidity ($12)

1 (15 watt) light bulb

Total : $31

25 eggs inside.

If we ordered 25 eggs it would cost about $85.  If we bought them at the feed store about $75

Next time the costs will be nothing to incubate another bunch!

So cool!!

So we cut a hole in the side of the cooler, inserted the light in and

taped all the way around.

for the light


cutting the light hole

We found an unused frame (bigger than an 8×10) and cut a hole in the lid of the cooler and put the glass on top and taped all the way around.

incubator cooler 1


That way we can see the eggs, the thermometer and so on.

We did poke LOTS of holes while we were regulating humidity and temp.  But, if you poke too many you can cover with duct tape.  and if you need to, which I did, we covered them up for part of the day and then uncovered the other part.

We marked our eggs with an X and O on opposite sides.  So we know which eggs were rolled while rolling.  We also put the date we collected just so we have an idea.

marked eggs

The kids have loved this experiment.  It has been so fun!!

We are totally doing this again!!

everything set


Here it is in the corner of our living room.  Easy to keep an eye on!

ready to go

It has been lots of fun!  We are hoping out of 25 to have at least 12 viable chicks once all is said and done.  Pretty fun here on our “farm”!!

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