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Hatching Chicks in the Classroom

I absolutely love hatching chicks with my class each spring! It is probably the most memorable thing we do all year and it's such an amazing learning experience! I get tons of questions about the how-to's of chick hatching, so I decided to dedicate an entire post to it! I hope this helps convince you to try this with your class. 




Q: What supplies do you need to hatch chicks?
A: Supplies for chick hatching can be found at most feed stores or using the affiliate links below. Here is the complete list of supplies needed:

  • An incubator, I have had the best luck with this one!
  • An egg candler (this isn't really a necessity, but it's so cool to see inside the eggs)
  • A large bucket for the chicks to stay in after hatching, The first few years I just used a large plastic bucket, but then I invested in a large feeding bucket so the chicks had more room and more kids could crowd around. 
  • Chick Food
  • Chick Feeder and Waterer
  • Brooder to keep the chicks warm, this can be tricky with fire codes, etc. This was the best option for me!
  • Pine Wood Shavings for the bedding
(A chick hat is also necessary!)


Q: Where do you get the supplies for the hatch? 
A: If you have never hatched chicks before I HIGHLY recommend reaching out to your local 4-H. Often times they have the supplies that they can let you use! You could also write a grant using a website like Donors Choose. Learn more about getting projects funded through Donors Choose HERE. Don't forget to reach out to your district science department to see what materials they might have available for you too! 

Q: Where do you get the fertilized eggs?
A: I have gotten the eggs from a few different places. Usually I reach out to the local 4-H office and they take care of finding the fertilized eggs for me. I have also joined local Facebook Backyard Chicken groups and connected with people who have fertilized eggs that way! One year I also found fertilized chicken and duck eggs on Craigslist! 



Sidenote: I didn't have very good luck hatching duck eggs. I had to *fake* that hatch, but it was SO much fun! Baby ducklings are the cutest and we had SO much fun comparing ducks and chicks. 




Q: How long does it take for the eggs to hatch?
A: 21 Days from incubation! We help time pass by opening these everyday! 

Q: What do you have to do during the incubation?
A: Just keep an eye on the levels! I watch the temperature and humidity levels closely. Both of these levels will be increased closer to that hatch date! If you don't get an incubator with an automatic turner, you would have to turn the eggs a few times a day which can be a pain. Your incubator will come with very specific directions about all of this. I candle the eggs every few days and keep the incubator in a really safe place to make sure it isn't knocked over or touched. 

Q: How long does it take the chicks to ?

A: Just keep an eye on the levels! I watch the temperature and humidity levels closely. Both of these levels will be increased closer to that hatch date! If you don't get an incubator with an automatic turner, you would have to turn the eggs a few times a day which can be a pain. 

Q: How long do you keep the chicks after they hatch?
A: No more than two weeks! You will be AMAZED at how quickly they grow. 

Q: How do you learn about the chicken life cycle?
We read TONS of books about the chicken life cycle and my class actually ran a website last year to update the school and share all of our information. Here are a few of my favorite books:

Q: What do you do on the weekends?

A: Honestly, I run by my school on both Saturday and Sunday to make sure everything is good! It usually only ends up being one to two weekends that I have them, so it's not too bad! You could totally take them home too. I think my dogs might try to have a snack though! : O

Q: What do you do with the chicks after they have hatched?
A: This is the hardest part of the whole hatch. Chicks quickly turn into chickens! ALWAYS secure a home for the chicks BEFORE hatching them! Ask around, email parents, contact your 4-H local 4H, local farmers...I always ask the person who gave me the eggs too. Even if they aren't interested in taking them back, they often have connections!


Still have questions? Leave a comment below or use the contact form to email me! 

3 comments

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