The fertilized eggs arrived! And they are set. As of 9:30 this morning, 24 white leghorn eggs are warm in the incubator, and may have developing chickens inside. This year, our eggs were shipped to our 4-H office from Sunnyside Hatchery in Wisconsin. We will have to wait to find out whether all 24 eggs were viably fertilized, but we are hopeful that our 21-day project will end with many fluffy yellow birds.
*Check back on day 14 when we "candle" eggs to check for any development of the chick embryos.
So, the simple steps this morning: We washed our hands, carefully placed all 24 eggs point-down into the egg turner, and added a bit more water to create humidity. Then we closed the lid and washed our hands again. (Never handle poultry without washing your hands!) The turner motor hummed and the temperature and humidity inside the incubator slowly made it to desired levels throughout the morning. So far, so good.
An incubator takes the place of a momma hen in the development of our chicks. Were these eggs cared for by the momma, they would be dark and toasty warm under her feathers. Momma would not leave the nest and eggs often, except when necessary to eat and drink. Her body heat would also provide humidity for the eggs, the shell of which is porous to allow air in, and carbon dioxide out of the egg.
Now would be a great time to check back to our first A&P class lessons where we discussed the cell. Check your notebooks for our diagram of a chicken egg, and review the parts of the egg and the parts of a human cell. Here's a bit more info about our chick eggs:
Maybe now you'd like to make some predictions about how many eggs we will see hatch at the end of our ~21 days!
I'm the Anatomy & Physiology instructor at New Castle Homeschool Co-op for the 2017-18 school year. As an extension to our class, my family is participating in a 4-H Embryology Program, and will be hatching up to 24 white leghorn chicks in Mid-March. If you would like to learn and enjoy the project with us, we'd love to have you along!