For the last 6 years for a 4 H project, we have raised chickens. The children have been wanting to hatch some of our own for quite a while, but for one reason or another we have never been able to do it. Last year, we got a new batch of 4 H chickens and ordered a rooster along with the hens so we could hatch some. But, our rooster died. A friend of mine had an extra rooster that was looking for a home, so we took him. He is a beautiful Rhode Island Red that Nick named Bronco.
After pricing incubators for several days, we ordered Farm Innovators Still Air Incubator from Amazon. The incubator has a built in temperature and humidity gauge and came with a second thermometer to help monitor the internal temperature. The incubator is big enough to hold up to 4 dozen eggs.
We had to set it up somewhere where the cat and baby wouldn't be able to get to it, so it ended up on a high dresser in my bedroom. We ran it for 24 hours to make sure it could hold temperature well(99.5 degrees), and added some water to keep at the proper humidity. Then we marked the dozen eggs we had gathered a few days before and were keeping at room temperature with x's on one side and o's on the other so we could keep track of when they had been turned. We put in a dozen hoping for 4-6 to hatch.
For 18 days, we turned the eggs 3 times a day.
We did not candle the eggs at all to check for development. On day 20 we could see a few of the eggs wiggling. Later on that night we started to hear some peeping.
The morning of Day 21, we saw two eggs with cracks in them!
We went to church and came home, but it still wasn't hatched. After lunch and Emelia getting up from her nap, I went back in to check and our first chick had hatched!
She was looking pretty lonely so we were glad the other egg was close to hatching. The chick that had hatched would peep and the chick still in the egg would answer it. The hatched chick was even snuggling up to the cracked egg. It was really cute!
Later on that night, we had a third egg hatch.
We decided to gently move the incubator to the laundry room so Art and I wouldn't have to listen to peeping and scratching all night. We had one more hatch right after we moved them.
All 4 look great this morning! We should see today if any more are going to hatch and move these ones into a box with a heat lamp this evening.
It was so much fun watching these chicks hatch! The kids loved it and it was a great learning experience! We will definitely have to do this again!