Can you guess which project we’re starting today?
If you guessed attempting to hatch 18 local chicken eggs in an incubator in our livingroom, then go get yourself a cold gelato and a gold star!
Last night after dinner, a fellow homeschooler brought over a small incubator, instructions, a story about the massive bruise on her leg (a cow was responsible for that one!) and 18 fertile chicken eggs. After spending a few hours on the internet earlier in the day, we knew that to begin the project on the right foot we had to:
- find a quiet space large enough for the incubator that wasn’t in direct sunlight or drafts
- regulate the temperature of the incubator to 99.3-100 degrees farenheit
- allow the eggs to reach room temperature
- acheive a level of humidity inside the incubator that ran between 55 and 65% (for the first 18 days, at which point we increase it)
- remind everyone to wash their hands well before and after handling the eggs
- find a timer that would remind us to turn the eggs at least 3 times a day
So far, so good…. we set up the incubator in our dining room corner on a small wooden table
It took a little assembly, but nothing we couldn’t handle. Once it was set up, we plugged in the heat lamp and fans, placed the thermometer inside, closed the lid and waited. At first we over shot, the temp ran right up to 112F, way to hot for baby chickens (but as H pointed out, the perfect temperature if we were looking for omlettes and not live babies). The grown ups tinkered and played with it long after both children were in bed. Finally at around 12:30, we had a consistent temperature of 99.5F for 30 minutes straight and H called it a night (B fell asleep on the couch long before 1).
This morning we woke up at 7 and checked the incubator, still 99.5! We opened the lid and place the guage for humidity inside, got on with our day, dropped D off at school and took H to our local co-operative playgroup. Upon our return, H and mom found that our temp was correct, our humidity was perfect.
The temperature and humidity drops slightly when we open the lid to turn eggs, so please no more comments about not getting the temp right, 3 warnings were absolutely enough 🙂
We took a LOT of notes, H has some project work to do tomorrow morning, then we’ll post more on that!
We have marked an X on one side of the egg, and an O on the other side. This helps us keep track of who has been turned and who hasn’t. We’ve also numbered our eggs for weight charts and to see who hatches. We have made a hypothesis on each egg (if it will hatch/be a dud, what colour the chick might be, fluffy or not) and we have placed them in the incubator.
It’s almost time to turn the eggs again, so that’s enough for tonight! H will start working on the blog, typing her own posts soon.