On the first day of us having the chicks, everyone adopted an egg. Everyone hoped theirs would hatch and be cute. People gave them different names from KFC to Jack. Others were called spring, chick-a-dee, senor chiquito and lab 13.
We started off with 9 eggs but most of us knew that not all of them would live. At breaks we used a torch to do ‘candling’ which is where you shine a torch at the eggs and then you can see the embryos. Everyone found it amazing and really beautiful. By using the torch we could see that one of the eggs was actually never fertilised. Some of the eggs were a light blue and it was hard to see if they did have embryos in or not. Other colours included White & Brown speckles.
The incubator was especially fascinating as most of us had never seen or used one before. The eggs had to be kept at 37.4 degrees and 40% humidity in order for the chicks to fully develop and grow. Our first incubator was slightly broken though as it kept saying we needed to put more water in it to keep the humidity. However the sensor inside of the water tanks was broken. Miss Tyler had to call the farm to get someone to look at it. They gave us a new incubator and this made everyone relaxed again as everyone was very worried about the chicks lives.
Whenever we had primary school children visiting lab 13; they were amazed by the incubator and the eggs. We showed them the embryos and they all thought they were fascinating. The next really exciting step was when they started to hatch. The first one to hatch was KFC. It takes quite a while for them to hatch as hatching is from the first crack to it actually being out of the shell. Miss Tyler saw the first crack in the egg and everyone was so excited. It took hours till it was actually was born. A number of us were there when it actually hatched. We took a video of it and are planning to put it on to you tube. A lot of the shell was off and we could see its beak and fur. It happened quite suddenly actually. It started to buck its head and was pushing the shell up and away from it. Then suddenly it just fell out of the shell. It looked slightly slimy and wet and it had shell stuck to it a bit.
We were all surprised about how big the chick was considering it had been incubating inside an egg for around 21 days. When we noticed the first crack we had to turn the humidity up to 70%. When the chick actually hatched we raised the humidity a little bit more so that the shell would come off. The chick that hatched first was KFC. KFC had to stay in the incubator for 24 hours so that its fur to dry off. The next day when everyone came in another 2 eggs had hatched. KFC and the chick called lab 13 were able to be moved over to the cage but the other chicken had to stay in the incubator to dry off. A few hours later a yr 11 girl’s chemistry class came and whilst they were watching the chick dry another chicken hatched. It took their breath away and a lot of them said it was a beautiful thing to watch. Almost an hour later the final chicken (Spring) hatched. However there were 3 eggs still left in the incubator, but they either had no cracks or had been inactive for sometime so it was unlikely they would hatch at all. The next day all the chicks were in the cage. Lots of people from around the school came and looked at them. Throughout the next few days many people who came to the clubs held them and commented on how soft and fluffy they were. Some of them were naughty and would peck at each other. The day before they left the two oldest chicks had started to become less fluffy and have feathers.
We really enjoyed holding and looking after the chicks. The day they left was quite sad, as the chicks had all had an effect on us and we had become quite attached to our personal chicks. Everyone said goodbye to their own chicks and the other ones.
The chicks are now living with other chicks on a farm and will go their separate ways when they are older. We have really enjoyed the experience and would definitely want to go through the process again if we had the chance!