Fifth Grade Classroom 21 days of questions

Discussion in 'Hatch-A-Longs' started by Mammachix, Oct 9, 2013.

  1. Mammachix

    Mammachix Out Of The Brooder

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    Hi everyone,

    We are a classroom in Slingerlands, NY, near Albany. There are 23 of us in the class. We are going to hatch chicks! We thought we would post a question for each day of the hatch. We are putting the eggs in the incubator on Tuesday, Oct. 15th. We hope you will answer our questions and write back.

    Here is a warm-up question:

    What advice would you have for raising a baby chick?

    Thanks from all 23 of us and our teachers and the crazy mom who loves chickens.

    Mrs. Ward's class
     
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  2. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Chicks are a lot of fun, sounds like a nice class project. First thing I would recommend is going to the Learning Center forum on BYC and reading all the chick rearing articles. It's fun, not homework.

    Raising baby chicks, how about brooders, temperature, and food/water.

    Brooder. This is where you will keep the chicks to start with, how big it needs to be depends on how many chicks you will have and how long you will need to keep them in it, bigger is better. For small numbers of chicks, you can use cardboard boxes, glass aquariums or dog crates, just as a few examples. You need some sort of litter in the bottom of the brooder, I use pine shavings, other people use sand or straw. For the first few days put paper towels over the shavings so they don't eat them at first, don't use newspaper since it is too slippery and they can develop leg problems. The litter should be changed every couple of days, and never let it stay damp.

    Temperature. Most people heat the brooder with a heat lamp or red light bulb, red light helps keep them from pecking on each other. The lamp should be at least a foot above the litter, preferably more, adjust the height of the lamp or switch bulb sizes to adjust the temperature. The temperature under the lamp or warmest side of the brooder should be 90-95 degrees for the first week and you can drop it 5* every week until room temperature. Depending on how the chicks do you may be able to drop it faster and sooner. You can tell if you have the temperature right by how the chicks act. If they are panting and far away from the light, they are too hot. If they stick together in a clump under the light and are doing a lot of peeping, they are too cold. Be sure you don't over heat the whole brooder, the chicks should have cooler spots to go to.

    Food and water
    Commercial chicken feed formulations made just for chicks are the easiest thing to feed, you can get it at any feed store, they are usually about 20% protein, is called something like Chick Starter, and it is in crumble form. Chicks should always have water available. Most people use plastic food and waterers made especially for poultry, there are a lot of choices. You can use small shallow bowls, if you use bowls be sure to put some marbles or rocks in the water bowls so the chicks don't fall in and drown.
     
  3. chippysmom327

    chippysmom327 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    A word of advice for raising baby chicks:

    For the first day or two after they hatch, just leave them alone. They just hatched out of an egg, and are adjusting to their new life. Let them do their things!
     
  4. Mammachix

    Mammachix Out Of The Brooder

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    Thank you for your great replies! Our class put the eggs in the incubator yesterday. We are so excited to watch them develop. We have been reading information about chickens and eggs from the Learning Center. That was a great suggestion, thank you.

    Here is our DAY ONE question:

    We have our incubator set to 100 degrees. How important is it to keep it at that temperature? Why is it so important?

    Thank you in advance for your replies!

    --23 fifth graders
     
  5. chickydee64

    chickydee64 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Hi, Just wanted to say.Welcome.............[​IMG]
    It will be such fun to follow along with your incubation.

    I really do not know all the technical reasons about temperature.
    I do know that if you have a still air like mine ( means no fan)
    The recommended temp is 102...................
    Also that temperature changes during incubation can cause deformities..........

    I have chicks hatching right now. Will send you a picture when they get settled................[​IMG]
     
  6. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    Think of your incubator as a funny looking chicken. In the incubator you are trying to duplicate the conditions underneath a broody hen. Underneath a broody hen the temperature will vary a few degrees depending on various things, including for example...where the egg is in the nest and what the outside temperature is. But it generally will stay pretty steady and average out at around 99..0-100.0* which is what you are aiming at in an incubator.
    There are two main types of incubators, still air and forced air. In still air there is no fan and the air temperature varies from the top of the incubator to the bottom, the thermometer is usually on top of the eggs and should read around 102*, so the entire egg will average around the 99.5-100* you want since the bottom of the egg will be colder. In a forced air incubator, there is a fan that moves the air around so the entire incubator should be close to one temperature, in those you want the temperature at the 99.5-100*
    The hen will stay on the nest consistently through the 21 or so days, only taking a short break once a day or so to eat, drink and poop. The eggs will drop some in temperature during that short time, but it does not hurt them, studies have shown that giving eggs a "cooling off" period actually will increase hatch rate slightly. That is one reason why you can take the eggs out of the incubator for a little while to check and candle them to see how they are doing. But eggs are not made to endure a large temperature variation, and too wide of swings in either direction will injure or kill them. A few hours at 105* or even a short period at 110* or so will probably kill eggs. They can tolerate lower temperatures better for short periods of time, the cold range and time really varies with the age of the embryo. For instance people have had power failures and had incubating eggs get down to room temperature of a day or so, and some of the eggs will still hatch.
    Temperature in the average incubator will usually vary from around 98* to 102* or so, if the temperature varies between those limits, and averages the 99.5-100* you want, and doesn't stay at an extreme, these minor fluctuations should not affect hatching. If it averages either too cold or hot hatch rates will be lower. Over heating eggs will lead to earlier hatching, eggs that are too cold will hatch later, both will lead weak and possibly deformed chicks.
     
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  7. Mammachix

    Mammachix Out Of The Brooder

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    Wow! We are already on day seven of our hatch. We are learning so much about eggs and the life cycle of a chicken.

    We have figured out that we have a still-air incubator. There is no water in it right now, as we are starting out with a dry hatch. This is because with the last hatch (of mammachix) the air cells were not big enough and most of the chicks pipped out of the side.

    We are planning to candle the eggs tomorrow morning. Can you give us an idea of what we should be looking for? Could someone explain about the air cell for us?

    Thank you! We'll share the results of the candling too. :p
     
  8. chickydee64

    chickydee64 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    So happy to hear from you again.
    Go to the thread just above this on, incubation and hatching.
    At the very top there is a link for learning.....go in, then there is a link for candeling.
    It has pictures for each of the 21 days............
    Do not be disappointed if you cannot see any thing on day 6 or 7......I wait for day 11.
    Good Luck.................
     
  9. Kelsie2290

    Kelsie2290 True BYC Addict Premium Member

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    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/hatching-eggs-101
    https://www.backyardchickens.com/a/candling-pics-progression-through-incubation-of-chicken-eggs
    Two good articles, with pictures, from the BYC Learning Center on candling eggs. There are drawings there of what the egg's air cell should look like at various days of incubation.
    Depending on what color your eggs are, you might want to give the eggs a couple more days, I prefer to candle around day 10 also as chickydee64 does. White eggs are the easiest to see into, the darker the egg the harder it is.
    You should see a dark spot with veining coming out from it and the dark spot maybe bobbing around. The combination of veining and spot / chick I always think that it looks like a Daddylonglegs Spider in there at 7-10 days old. The veining/chick should be near the top of the egg or by/on the edge of the air cell and the veining will be growing away from the spot.
    The chalazae, are two rope like things which keep the yolk centered in the egg, when you break open an egg you can sometimes see them as stringy things. The chalazae work as an axis for the yolk to rotate around and so help keep the chick/embryo up side in the egg.
    A fresh egg fills the shell, as it gets older the inside part of the egg contracts and that forms an air cell between the two shell membranes. The air cell is usually located in the big end of the egg where the shell is most porous. When incubating you want the egg to lose around 13-14% of its fresh weight before it hatches. By checking the egg weight and air cell size periodically you can adjust humidity levels up or down depending on if the egg is losing weight too fast or too slow.
     
  10. chickydee64

    chickydee64 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Oh good , you received the information you needed....................[​IMG]
     

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