Q. What if the power goes out and the eggs cool off?

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Q. What if the power goes out and the eggs cool off?

If the eggs cool off because of a power failure, or the incubator was unplugged, reheat the incubator and continue as before. Even if the eggs are without heat for several hours, they will probably still hatch, although hatching may be delayed for a day.


Q. What if the temperature goes up?

A. If the temperature goes over 1030 even for a short time, it will kill the developing embryos.


Q. Why do we turn the eggs?

A. Turning the eggs serves two purposes. It forces the embryo to exercise inside the eggs and develop the strength needed to push out of the shell. It prevents the embryo from migrating through the albumen and sticking to the shell membrane. The last day that you will turn your eggs is Monday afternoon on May 11th, when they are 18-day embryos.


Q. Can oil from our hands clog the pores of the eggs?

A. While perspiration and grease from your hands can collect on the eggshell, it would be difficult to clog all of the thousands of pores in the shell. Take the simple precaution of washing your hands before and after handling the eggs.


Q. When will the chicks hatch?

A. Chicken eggs hatch at 21 days. Your eggs were incubated for 11 days when you received them. The hatching process actually starts about day 18, when the chicks start to prepare to break out of the egg. That is why you stop turning the eggs on day 18, and try not to disturb them.


Q. What happens during the hatching?

A. On the 18th and 19th day, the chick positions itself with its head back and its beak toward the air sac. It absorbs the rest of the yolk into its body for use as food after hatching. On day 20, the chick pierces the membrane into the air chamber. The chick breathes air for the first time, and you may hear the chick peeping inside the egg. This is called pipping. On the 21st day, the chick begins to break out of the shell. Using its egg tooth, it first pecks a hole through the shell. Then it pecks a circle around the end of the egg. The chick twists its neck and pushes with its feet and breaks the shell open. Healthy chicks accomplish this in a few hours.


Hatching out of the egg is hard work. The newly hatched chicks will be wet and tired and will look weak and exhausted. They should dry out and begin to move around within a few hours.


Q. When should I take the chicks out of the incubator?

A. When the chicks are dry and fluffy and able to walk around, you can gently move them to the brooder box. Move them in pairs because they like company. They can stay in the incubator for a day, so don’t be concerned if the chicks hatch overnight when you are not at the school.


More to come on: The brooder box!

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