Before any more time goes by, I'll tell you all about my adventures with my daughter's 4th grade class. It started on the 6th, when I went in to give the kids a presentation about hatching chicks. I had put it together in PowerPoint (in my former life I taught how to use computer software for a living) and presented it to them to give them the idea of what happens in the egg while it is incubating, what hatching looks like, and what types of chickens might come out.
Fat Black brooded for us hatched. I had a lot of material to work with. The kids really enjoyed the presentation-they got very into it and asked a lot of good questions. The adults seemed to enjoy it, too. The principle and vice principle stopped by a few times and took some pictures. Geez, I hope I don't wind up in the yearbook.
After the presentation, we set up the incubator and put the eggs in. I gave them a schedule as to when to put in water and a little sheet for them to record the temperature everyday. After the incubator reached temperature, I was on my way and they were on their own.
I heard from my daughter frequently. The class was watching the temperature carefully and were being really good about adding the water. They were also being very quiet, she said, because they did not want to upset the developing chicks. Actually, I had to admire the teacher for that one. Clever way to get them to clam up a little. :)
A week and a day went by, and I went back yesterday to check on the developing chicks. I gave a little presentation about different types of eggs--I brought them two goose eggs, a few different duck eggs, and cracked a chicken egg so they could see the fertilized area. They liked that. Then it was time to check the eggs.
I wish I could say it went better. Right out of the box, the first one I picked up was---wouldn't you know it---dead. Big, fat blood ring shining out for all to see. It didn't go much better after that. The next 5 were yolks. It was discouraging. Two more dead ones followed and then--miracle of miracles--a live one! And a white-ish egg at that! It lit up like a light bulb. Clear as day, the veins and the chick could be seen. It moved while they watched.
The kids went nuts. They were so excited. Me too, actually, and boy was I relieved! The next egg was the same. Beautiful veining, beautiful dark eyespot, wiggly little chick. One more gorgeous live chick and then more yolks. All in all, out of the 24 that were in the incubator, 11 may have made it. Two I am on the fence about; I don't think anyone's home, but I couldn't discard them right away. When I check again this week, I'll decide. As the ultimate in ironic, all of 6 (or 4, depending on next week) of the 18 bought eggs were good, but 5 out of the 6 "mutt" chickens from the backyard were percolating along just fine. Go figure.
I has been a fun project to do. I enjoyed giving the presentation, and I enjoyed letting them see different eggs up close and personal. Next week when I go back for the final candling, I will bring a couple of chickens with me. I'd like to have a lesson on feathers. I think that will be fun, and who doesn't like chickens? If nothing else, the kids will get a kick out of them, I think.
So that's the story to date. I will give my little assistant the camera next time (my daughter) and ask her to take some pictures, so you can see what's going on, too. This last time she couldn't because she was recording results. It's good to have an experienced helper!