hatching natural brood vs. artificial incubation 8th grade science

muddchix

Hatching
9 Years
Sep 11, 2010
2
0
7
my daughter has a science fair project due at the end of January 2011.

An idea for a topic was placing 6 fertilized eggs in our incubator and another 6 under our broody hen and to study all the differences, variables and conditions.

However, only one or our hens are laying now, she will not have enough eggs in time to meet her deadline, so I will have to buy eggs. That's not much of an issue except for the fact that I want to spend a big chunk of change and buy show quality eggs. I'm concerned about hatching in the cold December, Michigan. I haven't invested much in heating my coop, so the temperatures are a concern with the "indepentant variable" group of eggs.

My other option is to buy some cheap eggs somewhere, and not have to worry so much about the finacial investment, but I don't want anymore chickens that my kids cannot show. And why hatch something that I know that we will not want. I don't mean to sound like I do not have any regaurd to the live of the chick, because that is a concern of mine, whether it be a $2 egg or a $30 egg.

Does anyone have any insight, or suggestions? or perhaps a better idea?

I appreciate your comments

Caron
 

Kittymomma

Songster
10 Years
Sep 9, 2009
3,873
31
204
Olympia, WA
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It's an interesting idea, but I think the "broody" is going to be your big problem. A hen goes broody when her body tells her too and it has little to nothing to do with how many eggs are in the nest, also given the time frame (January) it's unlikely that you'll be able to find a broody hen. I wish I could be more encouraging, but I'd hate to see you buy $$ eggs and then not have any of the broody group hatch because your hen won't cooperate.

ETA: What about a project involving an incubator build? There are lots of threads here on homemade incubators and they range from very basic to quite elaborate.
 
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Kittymomma

Songster
10 Years
Sep 9, 2009
3,873
31
204
Olympia, WA
I was thinking about other projects and was wondering if you have enough space to do an extra light vs no extra light and its effects on egg production. If you have several different breeds she could also keep track of which one(s) are better winter layers....? Just some thoughts, hopefully some other folks will chime in soon.
 

silkiechicken

Staff PhD
Premium Feather Member
12 Years
13 Years
Jan 25, 2007
21,494
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Everett WA/Corvallis OR
I also would not rely on having a broody at the right time. Instead, maybe you could do a test of hatchability on turning vs non turning, or washing, not washing eggs prior to incubation? I wouldn't use prize or special eggs for a school project.

Or if you're not set on incubating eggs for a project...

You cold test different materials for incubator construction, a one square foot glass box, a one square foot wood box, a square foot styrofoam box, a square foot metal box and so on... and on the inside of each box put a 15 w light bulb and measure the temperature differential on the inside vs outside of the box to determine which would make a better incubator box material.

Or you could do a little experiment with feathers showing how oils make them water repellet with a washed vs non washed set of feathers and compare soap brands to see which one is the best surfactant

Or you could do a "can a chicken be trained" kind of clicker training to see how many repetitions it takes for a bird to pick up a new trick consistently (about 120-150 for chickens), but this can take some learning to get the technique down.

Or you you can buy meat bird chick eggs and use those to eat. Or just sell the chicks after hatch if you want to incubate eggs.
 

muddchix

Hatching
9 Years
Sep 11, 2010
2
0
7
I am really liking these ideas. I will have my daughter read them and let you know what she thinks. I'm sure we could borrow another incubator because I'm am worried about the "broody" hen situation. I only have 1 hen out of 10 that is broody right now. She will have to decide by tomorrow.

I wish I could do the experiment with the broody breeds as suggested by kittymomma. Perhaps next year, my cochins will be mature enough to compete with my silkies


I think that I'm going to go with the meat bird idea and purchase meat bird eggs. I think it will help "condition" the kids to butcher a batch before they we do the same type project for fair and auction them off. Sorta sounds sad, but atleast the birds will have a good life before they are a good dinner, right? lol
 

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