Friday, February 10, 2012

Hatching Eggs?

I received and email from one of our readers, Heather asking for advice on purchasing an egg incubator.  I have never hatched eggs in my classroom, but thought maybe you could help her.  If you have and know of an incubator, please comment below.

I have to say, that I am not entirely for the process of incubating eggs.  I adore chicks and ducklings.  I have raised an orphaned duckling and rehabilitated it back into the wild.  Yet, I have heard too many horror stories about hatching chicks/ducklings.  For example, this one, where a custodian accidentally knocked the plug out of the incubator and the teacher came back to school in the morning to more than a dozen dead quails!  One of my best friends, also a fellow animal lover, hatched duck eggs with her kindergarten class and had a hard time finding homes for all the healthy Peking ducks.  She did not want to return them to a farm because she did not went them to be killed.  She could not set ducks "free," since wild birds are territorial and will peck at and chase out intruders.  She ended up giving the healthy ducks to a petting zoo.  The ducks that struggled hatching and therefore had birth defects, required tons of vet visits and special care.  These ducks became her pets and guess what, ducks can live 20 plus years!  After 5 years of caring for the two remaining special needs ducks, she finally found a local rescue group that would take them.

As with any class pet, I want you to be informed and realize that these creatures will be your financial and physical responsibility.


  1. Great information. I have had trouble with hatching as well. I also had the custodian unplug the machine and came back to dead chicks.

  2. Every room I our school incUbates each year. We have had chicks, turkeys, quail and ducks. Yes something bad occasionally happens but mostly we have success stories. We have a farmer that donates the eggs and takes them back to the farm to raise them. He also allows people in the school to raise the chickens if they would like. The kids love seeing watching the eggs and would check the eggs every morning to see if there was a crack!

  3. I have hatched through our local 4-H club the past 2 years {since I have been in 2nd which is the grade it is geared towards}. I did chicks the first year and quail last year. Both were success. I would not recommend hatching unless you are going through a club or society like 4H. We return all the animals to them and they are returned to their farms or released at our local state parks. They also provide the incubators. You definitely want a self-adjusting temp one! Those {like pictured above} are way too small!} And I also explain that death is part of life. Birth to death is our life cycle curriculum. 5 of our quail did not hatch. My teammie had 3 chicks die after they hatched. Sometimes they drown. As bad as it seems, kids do understand and we have little funerals in our garden.
    I just cannot think of a better way to study growth and development!


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