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Honestly, this is probably hands down the most exciting lesson we’ve done. We did this last year while our daughter was in Kindergarten. She enjoyed it almost as much as I did!
Last September, we studied a lesson on how a chick develops within an egg. This wasn’t my first batch but it was the first time our daughter got to be involved. (She was adopted, therefore she didn’t get to see the past hatches.)
Here’s 8 Things You Need To Do This Lesson:
1. Incubator– First and foremost, you’ll have to purchase an incubator. You can get these at any farm store like Tractor Supply. The incubator I have used several times is the Little Giant Incubator with Egg Turner. Believe me, buy one with an egg turner! If you don’t, you’ll have to turn your eggs by hand daily and it’s not worth remembering to do that and risking the lives of your chicks!
This incubator has been great for me! I recommend it to anyone wanting a good incubator!
The Little Giant incubator we have can hold many eggs. If you just want a few chicks, I would recommend this one by Brinsea. I’ve heard great things about it.
2. Eggs– Once you get an incubator, you’ll need to find some hatching eggs. You can’t just buy eggs from the grocery store because those aren’t fertile. I’ve bought hatching eggs from EBay several times and had great experiences. Shipping eggs isn’t ideal because of post carriers shaking them too much. So if you are lucky enough to know a crazy chicken person, ask them if they can give or sell you some hatching eggs. Depending on the breed, you can buy eggs fairly cheap. Sometimes people even sell them on Craigslist.
3. Hygrometer– A hygrometer is a device that measures the humidity in a room. Don’t try to hatch eggs without one! I know this sounds optional but seriously, don’t risk it! This is the hygrometer that we used and I felt it did a great job. It tells the temperature and humidity in the incubator. To raise the humidity, you just add water to the bottom of the incubator. It’s essential to the chicks lives that the temperature and humidity stay consistent. Having one gives peace of mind without having to guess all the time.
4. Calendar– I printed off this cute hatching calendar by RazzleDazzleFarms.com every time I’ve hatched eggs. It helps me keep up with how many days are left and when lockdown should happen (when to take out the egg turner to prepare for hatch day).
5. Lapbook & Timeline– I found this neat lapbook on Teachers Pay Teachers by Julie Davis. In it, our daughter was able to learn about oviparous animals and the life cycle of a chicken. She enjoyed it and it was a great part of the lesson.
I also found this timeline on Teachers Pay Teachers by Undercover Classroom that we put on the wall. It gave a great visual for her learning process.
Both of these sets were very cheap, costing only $4 each.
6. Warmer– Chicks will need some place to go after hatching in the incubator. This warmer is the best! I didn’t know about it the first time I hatched chicks and had to use a heat lamp. Sadly, that heat lamp killed some of my chicks by getting them too warm. That was a mistake I regret even today. But this warming plate doesn’t get too hot. The chicks go right under it and they stay warm. The legs on it make it raise higher as they grow taller. Best investment for my chicken hobby ever!
They make the same warmer but with a shield on top to keep the chicks from getting on it like this one. I didn’t purchase that one but I wish i would have. Instead, I just clean it occasionally.
7. Waterer/Feed– Of course the chicks will need feed and water. I’ve always used this waterer for my baby chicks since it small. When they are real young, I put marbles in the water to keep them from falling in and drowning.
I always buy the medicated chick feed. I wouldn’t suggest getting non-medicated feed.
8. Safe Brooder Box– Once the chicks hatch, they will need a safe and warm place to grow after the incubator. I’ve always used a big Rubbermaid tote or a HUGE box. But they do have some made especially for this. I’ve heard this dog playpen was a good idea and I considered purchasing it the last time we hatched. I foresee me doing it next time!
Just make sure it’s safe and away from other pets or wildlife. Keep your own cats and dogs away from it and make sure they wouldn’t be able to break into it. We’ve had to be cautious of this each time.
Obviously, you’ll need a home for the chicks when they are grown such as a coop and nesting boxes. But this short list will get you started!
All this talk about incubating is giving me the itch to hatch some more!