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Sunday, April 22, 2012

DIY Egg Candling: Which came first?

     Our newest endeavor:  egg hatching?  We went on a field trip to a local farm, and the kids were each given a fertile chicken egg to bring home.  We have been incubating ours and turning them regularly.  We have learned that different eggs need to be kept at different temperatures--chicken eggs at 99.5. The hardest part was getting the temperature right at first, but it has stayed pretty steady. (We have an inexpensive styrofoam incubator.) We also learned that humidity is very important, and we are keeping clean water in the little troughs in the bottom of the incubator. It's been a pretty easy process so far, (keeping the cat off the top being our biggest challenge.)

   In our estimation, they should hatch in about 8 more days.  We made a candler out of a juice pouch carton...

I used a pencil cup as a holder for the flashlight since it was so heavy.

I cut a hole in the top of the box.  I couldn't cut a good circle because of the thickness of the cardboard and my inability to use an exacto knife properly, so I used a circle punch to cut through a folded up piece of black paper and taped the paper to the top over the other hole.

I cut a hole in the bottom to fit the pencil holder with the flashlight standing up in it. 

Once the candler was set up, we turned off the room lights and set each egg on top to see what was inside.

All three of our eggs are showing veins and air sacs.

   Here are some resources we're finding helpful:

Let's Read and Find Out Science:  Where Do Chicks Come From? is nice for younger kids.  It's got really good drawings of the "anatomy" of an egg and showing what goes on inside the egg during different stages of development.

This website was recommended to me by the chick supplier from our local farm supply store.  Their Learning Center section has articles on getting started with eggs and hatching chicks, and there are some good pictures of candling eggs and a chick hatching in an incubator.

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