As you may know from following us on Instagram or Facebook, we had the incredibly fun and educational experience of hatching chicks in our home. We used the lovely program from Chirpee Chicks and highly recommend them! They provide chicken and duckling egg hatching for educational and promotional purposes in Brisbane, Logan and Ipswich, Queensland.
Our program included 10 fertilized eggs in an incubator and two baby chicks in a brooder box. Much of the work was done for us so we could just enjoy the final days before hatching and observe as the magic unfolded.
Cameron loved spraying the eggs and incubator with water a few times a day to increase the humidity and fed the chicks.
We had many opportunities to practice being gentle and observe the chicks up close. In the short time we had them we were able to watch their wings begin to develop and grow feathers and see them increase so much in size compared to the newest hatchlings!
Cam and Lucy found every element of caring for the chicks fascinating. From watching them keep warm under the heating bulb and watching them poop. We talked about how they usually would have a mother hen on them keeping them warm and about their natural diet and how amazing it is that they begin to eat only a day or two after hatching from their egg!
We tried our luck at egg candling after some Youtube research. We used a smartphone torch and were amazed to see the air sac and we were able to see a couple of the chicks moving inside their eggs!
The first egg pipped was an amazing experience as we were so excited and in awe as we heard the tiny chick chirping from inside the egg! This was a phenomenon that I was unaware of and the kids reactions were priceless.
It took hours before any other action took place and it was a real lesson in patience for all of us! Here Cameron was holding the egg and could see the chicks beak and egg tooth.
I printed out these free chick nomenclature cards when Cam was asking more about the egg tooth and where their ears are.
As the new chick emerged, it seemed as though it triggered a reaction as many of the other eggs started pipping and chirping more.
We left the hatchlings to do their thing in the warm humid environment of the incubator. I had to snap a pic or two of the incredible hatching process. We watched through the incubators clear sides as the chicks slowly pecked their way around and ‘unzipped’ the egg. Cameron said it looked like a whole lot of work!
The membranous eggy aftermath was pretty amazing too. You could see the veins and some tiny remnants of yolk that sustained the chick. Cameron really wanted to understand how the chick could live without breathing and it created many in depth discussions!
7 out of 10 eggs eventually hatched. Unfortunately the final chick to hatch had issues and died the day after hatching. It was so cute to watch the chicks dry out and fluff up before transferring them to the box. They sleep a lot in the first day (understandably!) and the kids were surprisingly understanding of letting them rest after having watched how hard it was for them to hatch and seeing how tired and tiny they were!
Before we knew it we had 6 new hatchlings all fluffy and eating only a day later! They sure peck away and make lots of mess. We loved the noise and all the discussions and learning that the experience brought!
My Little Book of Life Cycles in the background there!