Monday, May 17, 2010

Day 1 of ChickQuest

Welcome to the Douglas Family's blog about the 4-H ChickQuest project. We are incubating 25 chicken eggs in an incubator in our home. This is the first time we have ever done follow along to see what hatches!

The Cast of Characters . . .

The incubator.  This is a forced air Little Giant that we borrowed from our friends, the Hanges.  The eggs will incubate in here for 21 days.  We will turn them by hand 3 times a day and closely monitor the temperature and humidity.  We're finding how hard it is to imitate a hen!

The eggs!  We have 12 white Leghorn eggs that were  donated to our 4-H club by the County Extension office.  We also have 13 Australorp brown eggs.  These eggs came from the Hange family.

Thermometers.  In order to maintain a constant temperature of 99.5 degrees  we have 2 thermometers in the incubator.  The one on the left reads the air temperature.  The one on the right is set up in a "water wiggle" that we made.  The water wiggle is a ziplock bag filled with water and rolled up.  We placed the temperature probe inside so it's very similar to what the temperature is inside the egg.  

This is the hygrometer.  It measure the humidity inside the incubator.  We calibrated the hygrometer and found it runs about 7% high.  So we make sure to subtract 7% when we write in our log book.  We can increase humidity in the incubator by adding small amounts of warm water to the incubator base where there are a number of channels that can hold water.  We usually add about 2 - 4 ounces of water each day.

This is the ChickQuest 4-H project book. Read more about the project here: 4-H Science Alive: ChickQuest

Inside the ChickQuest book. This is where collect the data each day on our incubating eggs.  It tracks the day, how many times we turn the eggs, the temperature and humidity.  It also has cool pictures of what's happening each day as the chick develops.

Day 1:  Tuesday May 11, 2010

The eggs have arrived!  We're ready to start ChickQuest!

With a soft pencil, we carefully numbered each egg and marked an X on one side and an O on the other.  This is so we can keep track of which side we have turned.

We weighed each egg and recorded that on a piece of notebook paper.  The white eggs weighed less on average than the brown eggs.  The smallest eggs weighed 2.0 oz and the largest was a brown egg ( #9) that weighed 2.5 oz.

We loaded the preheated incubator with the 25 chicken eggs on Tuesday May 11, 2010.  We were nervous and excited.  We felt like a surrogate mother to 25 embryos.  The temperature was 99 degrees and the humidity was 65%.  Here we go!

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