in the Classroom
20 Classroom Pack - Frequently
do I do with the chicks once they have hatched?
specific plan for disposing of the chicks should be
worked out before undertaking an embryology project.
Never give the chicks to the children for pets.
You should try to find them homes within a few days
of hatching. You should give the chicks to someone who
has proper brooding facilities, experience and the interest
to raise the chicks. Try to buy eggs locally as local
breeders will often be willing to take back the chicks
that have hatched. The next suggestion is to get in
touch with the Extension service of the nearest University
Animal or Poultry Science department. They usually have
contacts with local farmers who might be willing to
supply eggs and/or take chicks back. Finally the local
Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals might
also be able to either locate someone who will take
proper care of the chicks or dispose of them humanely
as a last resort.
there a risk of Salmonella or E. coli infections?
risks of becoming infected by E. coli and Salmonella
are minimal. Although both bacteria can be found in
young fowl, transmission from chicks to humans can be
essentially eliminated through careful hand washing
with soap and water following contact with the eggs,
chicks or litter. For more information, consult “Classroom
embryology projects: Health risk myths and facts” by
Pennsylvania State University doctors. http://pa4h.cas.psu.edu/embryology.htm
can I obtain fertile eggs?
eggs purchased from your local grocery store are not
fertile and will not hatch. Fertile eggs can be
ordered from a hatchery or breeding farm. If possible
go to a local farm and bring the eggs yourself rather
than having them shipped. Local breeders will often
be willing to take the chicks back once they have hatched.
Feed & Seed stores should be able to give you a few
sources of eggs. The Extension service of the nearest
University Animal or Poultry Science Department also
usually have contacts with local farmers and may be
able to assist. If you are unable to identify a local
supplier, especially if you live in an urban area, please
contact one of the reputable sources listed on the form
supplied with the Classroom Pack.
long can eggs be stored?
species may be safely stored for up to 10 days before
serious reductions in hatch rates are likely but it
is always best to set fertile eggs in an incubator within
24-48 hours of obtaining them. Daily turning of stored
eggs also helps maintain hatchability. Store eggs in
cool, damp conditions. The best storage conditions are
near 55°F (12°C) with 75% humidity. The vegetable area
of your refrigerator is a suitable area provided the
temperature does not drop below 40°F (5°C).
long will the embryology project take?
25 days if using chicken eggs. Incubation periods vary
according to species: on average 21 days for chickens,
28 days for ducks and 16-18 days for quails. To avoid
week-end hatches you should set the eggs on a Tuesday
or Wednesday. Unless you are intending to rear the chicks
you should plan on finding them a home within a few
days of hatching.
When scheduling the project, ensure equipment availability
and egg availability. Bear in mind that most suppliers
of eggs have specific weekly shipping dates and will
require ordering 5 to 10 days prior to shipping. You
should also run the incubator for 24 hours before setting
Planning is crucial to the success of the project and
you should start planning several months in advance.
I help chicks hatch?
should not help the chicks from the shell. There is
usually a good reason if a chick doesn’t hatch. Also
prematurely helping the chick hatch could cripple or
infect it. Remember that after it has made a hole in
the shell the chick stops piping for a few hours and
rests while its lungs are getting used to the outside
atmosphere. Humidity is critical at hatching time and
you shouldn’t open the incubator until most chicks have
hatched. Don’t allow your curiosity to damage your hatch.
long can the chicks stay in the incubator before transferring
to the brooder?
turning will have been stopped and dividers removed
for hatching, the chicks will be perfectly happy in
the incubator for a few hours until they are dry and
fluffy. Don’t open the incubator until most chicks have
hatched. Opening the incubator allows moisture to escape
and makes it more difficult for later chicks to hatch.
Once all viable chicks have hatched you should transfer
them to the brooder and place the incubator top onto
the brooder base. The brooder & enclosure should have
textured, absorbent litter on the floor. If the floor
is slippery the chicks can damage their legs. Paper
towel works best in the classroom and should be replaced
soon will the chicks need feeding?
before hatching chicks absorb the yolk sac which will
provide nutrition for the first couple of days after
hatching but they will need water straight away. You
should fill the drinker up with fresh water as soon
as you transfer the chicks to the brooder and start
providing feed within a couple of days of hatching.
Chick starter is available from any feed and garden
store. Ensure that they do not run out of water and
provide fresh feed and water twice every day. www.Brinsea.com