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For a school project i would like to hatch and rear some chickens. I have a small batch of fertilized eggs and would like to know if there are any simple and cheap methods of incubating(eg puting them inside our hot water cupboard) also how long it takes and what sort of tempratures and any simple house hold food that can be fed to the chicks.
-- Katie Douthett (Katie_luvbug@hotmail.com), October 15, 2001
When I was in grade six we hatched eggs in an incubator our amazing teacher made from a styrofoam cooler (Mr. Hasiuk ROCKED!!) and it worked great.(not expensive and you could view everything through a thin piece of plexiglas or something he used on the side for a window). You should be able to find instructions for this on the 'net. As for home made chick feed, there have been alot of great ideas in previous threads. Usually they include chopped hard boiled egg.
-- Alison in N.S. (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 15, 2001.
I have an incubator my father-in-law made when he was a child. It uses a simple bulb to produce the heat. I have used it to brood chicks, but not to hatch. I use a styrofoam incubator that cost $45. I've used it for several years, soit was worth the initial investment.
You need to incubate at 99.5 degrees. Keep that temp constant. You will need to monitor them, too, because os the develope, the temp will rise from the gases produced fromthe devloping chicks. They take 21 days to hatch. You need to make sure you put them in the right position, or they may not hatch. Pointy end goes down, when you stand them up.
I owuldn't recommend giving them any house hold food. They will need medicated chick starter for the first 6-8 weeks, then can be put on a grower. You can suplement them with greens, though.
-- Wendy Antes (email@example.com), October 15, 2001.
Katie, some humidity is necessary for a healthy hatch. My old brower just had a space under a grid that supported the eggs for a shallow dish of water.
Don't forget to turn the eggs at least twice a day for proper development. I know the jury is still out on this issue but....
-- marilyn (firstname.lastname@example.org), October 15, 2001.
I have HEARD (but never tried, being a guy) that it is possible to hatch eggs by keeping them in your bra. I assume that it means you must be wearing it, although I have no direct experience. If you are a little hotter than the average gal, I guess 99.5 is attainable. If you find this approach to be inconvenient, I have 2 suggestions. First, an ad in one of the "free" newspapers asking for the donation of a used incubator, and they are ubiquitious in most areas. 2ndly, McMurray and others offer a simple little incubator for 4(?) eggs that is only about 10 bucks. Still... I'd like to hear of your experimentation with the first mentioned possibility! GL!
-- Brad (homefixer@SacoRiver.net), October 15, 2001.
A couple of ideas:
You will jeopardize the health of your birds if they're not fed the feed formulated for them. It costs a lot less to feed for health than it does to attempt to medicate for sickness.
-- ~Rogo (email@example.com), October 16, 2001.