It’s a little early in the season, I will admit. But a couple of weeks ago, I couldn’t wait any longer. I got out the incubators, and set my first batch of eggs to incubate! I LOVE, LOVE, LOVE hatching out chicks. It is unquestionably one of my favorite things about homestead life.
Izzy was excited to see the incubators come out as well. She saw me carrying the bright yellow Brinsea Octagon up from storage in the basement, and yelled “EGGS! Babies!!” Yes, little one, it might be the middle of winter, but in this house – it’s hatching time.
Being a year older than last hatching season has definitely brought a new level of involvement and interest from my little farm girl. She was already a pro last year, when it came to turning eggs, handling them carefully, and holding and singing lullabies to baby chicks. This year, she’s even more deeply interested in the process. What makes one egg go in the incubator, and the other into our breakfast? How often do we get to turn the eggs? When will we get to candle them?
So I made up a printable chart for her to follow along. And I figured that, honestly, I kind of wish I had a chick hatching chart for ME when I first started incubating eggs. I thought I would share it here, in case anyone else could use a little step-by-step incubating check sheet. For using this with young children (or even just the young at heart), this lends itself well to being a sticker chart. We put a sticker in the box every time we complete a task.
If you’re wondering about how we fit the various tasks of incubation into a toddler’s day, this is generally how it goes:
Turning the eggs is one of the very first things we do in the morning. Blinky-eyed, and sporting some awesome baby bedhead, she can hardly get to the incubator fast enough to say “good morning,” and give the eggs their first turn. Before naptime, we turn them again. We also check that the temperature is correct, and that there’s enough water in the reservoir so the humidity will stay stable. (TWO stickers on our chick hatching chart!) Then last thing before bed, we turn the eggs one more time, give the incubator a little pat, and say “good night!”
Days 8 and 15 are special. THAT’S when we get to candle the eggs! If you need a quick tutorial on how to do this, check out this one from the Chicken Chick. Depending on the age of your kids, this might be a special evening that they get to stay up a little later. Candling is best done in a very dark room, so I do all of my candling at night. Thankfully, it still gets dark pretty early right now, so it’s not too hard to make time for it before a comfortable bed time.
We still have several days left before this first batch hatches. These ones are pure Icelandic landrace chicks, and they’re always such a variety of colors, I never know what I’m going to get. I can hardly wait – both for the joy of watching them hatch, and also the joy of watching Izzy watch them hatch!
I wish you very much the best of luck, as you hatch out your new little fluffballs. If you ever have questions about incubating, send them my way! I’m an absolute hatchaholic, and LOVE chatting about hatching. And if you have any cute pictures to share of your new little chick babies, PLEASE post some of that fluffy goodness in the comments! There will never be enough adorable chick pictures in the world!
Peace, love, and fluffballs…
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