a little prologue: My name is Erin. I own a pet boarding facility and a "petting zoo" as my 8 year old neighbor likes to tell people. We have dogs, cats, horses, rabbits, chickens and pheasant. We started off with Black Sex Linked Chickens because we wanted to be sure that we had hens. They have been great egg layers. Last year, I got ambitious and decided I wanted to get some new kinds of poultry. I got 5 ISA Brown Pullets, 4 Aracaunas and 6 Pheasants. All of our chickens (and Pheasants) are free range and have a coop that they sleep in at night (to keep them away from the free range fox and coyotes). During the winter we keep them inside their coop. As the Pheasants got older, they stayed around with the chickens. Slowly, one by one, they started taking off. As far as we know, there is one still sticking around, but we only see it occasionally. Out of all the other 9 chickens, only one ended up being a Rooster (one of the Aracauna's). We put up with him as much as we could until he started waking the kennel dogs up in the middle of the night. He now lives on a farm nearby. So we now have 8 Black Sex Links, 4 Brown Pullets and 3 Aracauna's all hens. We give a lot of our eggs away for free because people love them and we can't eat all of them ourselves. We recently had someone come back and tell us that they had two fertilized eggs in a dozen. One had a red spot, the other had a small embryo. Now, the closest location with chickens is 3 miles away. So we were trying to figure out how these eggs were being fertilized. After doing some research, it turns out that the Rooster Pheasant has been playing house with the hens. Until we catch him (which may be never) we have no way of keeping him away from the ladies. Now to the point: My mom is a 2nd grade teacher and I am a college student who is majoring in Special Ed and Elementary Ed. I think it is really important to kids to have knowledge of nature and to experience it first-hand. When I was in 3rd grade, my teacher brought in a dozen eggs and incubated them in our classroom. I wanted my moms class to have the same experience. Unfortunately, schools are really cutting down on energy use to the point where no excess electricity can be used. So I have decided to set up a blog (Operation: Hatch) to help the students gain some knowledge of the chickens. I have collected some of the various eggs hoping that some are fertile. I have collected 22 in the past two days and have them sitting at room temperature with the points down in an egg carton. I am looking into getting a few from a feed store to increase my chances that I have some fertilized eggs. The questions: I am making a home made incubator that I will be able to strictly control the temperature and humidity. From the different references that I have seen, the best solution I have found is to use a styrofoam cooler with a glass window, 25w light bulb (higher or lower depending on temperature), thermometer/hygrometer, and a wet sponge. Does this sound like it could be successful? i will be setting up the incubator tomorrow for 24 hours with multiple thermometers (I don't know how to tell how accurate they are so any suggestions would be great) to it out. Then this week I plan on starting the incubation process. How long have the incubation period has started can you see if the eggs are fertile or not? Has anyone hatched pheasant x chickens before? Any suggestions on the project will be VERY helpful. I am hoping that this works and that it will be a good experience for the kids.