Gonig to hatch in the classroom...have questions

Discussion in 'Incubating & Hatching Eggs' started by Suess hens, Jan 24, 2009.

  1. Suess hens

    Suess hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2008
    Altadena, CA
    This is a spring project for my kids taking my Humanities course. They are seniors in high school, but amazingly excited to be taking this on. The babies already have a home to go to after we have hatched and done some raising of the little ones (my neighbor has caught the bug...was raised on a chicken farm and is excited to have his own).

    Now, should I buy an incubator or make one?
    Is there 1 brand that is better than others?
    Is there one design for self made better than others?

    Egg turner?
    I am thinking I should get one so that I can leave the incubator in the classroom over the weekends. I do have keys, and would have access in and out to check on them.

    Do I do this daily, weekly? Do I have to do it?
    I know there would be an education aspect to it, but I don't want to be pulling one egg out every hour (meaning 5 eggs so I can rotate the candling exercise). I do have worksheets that show the progress of the growth inside the egg.

    I think these are all my questions for now. But I am thinking about starting in 1 month, and want to start gathering everything I will need. And still have to pass it by the principal. I was told I don't have to, but live animals in a classroom seems like that might need some administrative alerting.
  2. LadyShred

    LadyShred Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 24, 2009
    I would definately recommend the egg turner since this is a school project - it would cut down on opening and closing the incubator door (which is something that needs to be kept as minimal as possible) and you wouldn't have to worry about weekends, like you mentioned. As for the candling, you don't HAVE to do it, but it gives you a good idea of what will hatch and what won't. It would also help point out infertile eggs that need to be removed to prevent them from exploding and ruining the entire clutch. You can usually detect an infertile eggs before the first 5-6 days, but I've kept infertile ones in for about a week and a half before I removed them, just in case. I've only candled once a week - that way you can tell who's growing and who's not. Keep a watch on their air sacs when you candle, as it tells if you need to add or subtract humidity.

    Also, I prefer to keep 2 thermometers in the bator to get the most accurate reading possible since the temp either makes or breaks the hatch. And lay the thermometer flat in the bator, but don't sit them on a wire floor or grate, as it gives an inaccurate reading. The temp for some breeds varies, but an average of 99.5-100.5 F. is acceptable.

    I haven't had much experience with different incubators and I've never made my own, but I have a Hova-bator incubator (still-air) and it's given me a decent hatch before. Forced air bators seem to produce a better hatch because they circulate the air and thus prevent cold or hot patches, but I have no experience using one. If I wasn't such newbie, I could offer better advice!

    Hope this helps and good luck!
  3. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Will the room have a semi-constant temperature?
  4. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    I would have the class build one. You remember things you see happen for a while, you remember things you made happen a lifetime. Just make sure you have a big enough double pane window so they can see inside.

    I would also put an egg or two in every little while over two days to try to make the eggs hatch over a two day period. No point in doing it if everyone don't get to see the hatch. an if you put them in all at once there's a chance of them hatching at night an no one getting to see them.
  5. Mahonri

    Mahonri Urban Desert Chicken Enthusiast Premium Member

    May 14, 2008
    North Phoenix
    My Coop
    Search for how to build a Miss Prissy bator on here... there are step by step instructions.

    Great idea.
  6. blasto

    blasto Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jan 7, 2009
    Quote:If you have the budget, I would recommend the R-com mini with scope from brinsea.com. Sounds like you don*t need a large-volume incubator for the classroom so the mini 3 egg might be perfect. To candle the egg you just remove the clear dome cover and snap on the scope. There is very little heat loss and it regulates itself quickly. Since the egg is still in the bator the students can line up to each get a close-up look without fear of shaking/dropping the egg. The humidity and temp are automatically controlled and there is an auto turner that rolls the eggs every 3 hours.

    I am all for having students build an incubator, but I know the time/logistical limitations that a teacher faces, so if embryo development is the focus of your lesson, you can*t go wrong with the R-com. Good luck!
    Last edited: Jan 25, 2009
  7. The Chicken Lady

    The Chicken Lady Moderator Staff Member

    Apr 21, 2008
    West Michigan
    Does your school turn down the heat on weekends? That might be something to consider depending on how cold your building is by Monday morning.
  8. Suess hens

    Suess hens Chillin' With My Peeps

    May 4, 2008
    Altadena, CA
    Thank you for the information so far.
    My room is an old portable made permanent, so I have complete control over the temperature of my classroom when I'm there. Now, the control for it is as old as the room it seems sometimes, and it has stuck on over night before. But it isn't something I have ever tried to make happen. I am in Southern California, and my school is in the Valley so it is possible that by March it might not get cooler in the room that 55 or 60...possibly.
    I'm going to start pricing incubators. I have 3 classes that this is a project for and could possibly build the incubator over the process of a day, but none of the classes will have the whole experience. I could print out directions to do it for them to have. I know many will become trash but some may hold onto it. These are seniors, not little ones who would forget about it by Friday...although they are seniors, sometimes they can't remember "I have homework tonight."

    Any other advice would be well appreciated!
  9. MissPrissy

    MissPrissy Overrun With Chickens Premium Member

    May 7, 2007
    Forks, Virginia
    You need to keep your room at a constant temp with little changes. The perfect temperture is 72 with little swing. If your room dips down to 55 or 60 your incubator won't be able to keep up with it. Over the 3 weeks to hatch it will compromise the growing chicks and most likely the outcome will be less than good.

    The link to my homemade one that lots of people have built in and out of school is in my siganture line.

    I would suggest if you build one, in order to compensate for your low room temps, try to find a plastic or metal insualted cooler and do not even think about using a styrofoam cooler.
  10. rebelcowboysnb

    rebelcowboysnb Confederate Money Farm

    Something like a dorm room fridge would be great.

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