Tuesday, December 31, 2013

Hatching eggs in the classroom

Q. I teach third grade. I want to incubate some eggs for my class this year. I was wondering if you knew when a good time to incubate eggs was for Wisconsin, and if you had an incubator and or an egg turner I could rent. 

Photo courtesy of USDA
A. March or April is best for cold weather states. Keep a couple things in mind:

Lots of little hands and sometimes big ones make it hard to hatch eggs in the classroom. 
Read about how often eggs should be handled in the incubator here.

If it's cold out and the school turns the heat down on weekends the small incubators have a hard time keeping up. This is why waiting until spring is a good bet. Also, be sure to check the temperature of the incubator before using it to make sure it's in working order. 

It seems to work best if you bring the eggs to the classroom in the last three days (Day 18, if you're keeping track that way). Schedule the eggs to hatch on a Wednesday so if they don't hatch you can find some chicks to put in before the students arrive the next morning. They will still learn about the life cycle of chickens, even if they don't see the eggs hatch.

This takes some planning, but should work out all right.

To find an incubator you can borrow, start by calling your local Cooperative Extension Office.  They should be able to refer you to a poultry program or producer in your area that will be able to help.

As always, post further questions in the comment section.

--Dale aka Turkeyman