Thank You for Choosing Hatching Chicks
We highly recommend you watch the below videos prior to the arrival of your chickens
Important Health Information
Please read this information before you begin the chick hatch program.
Everyone should wash their hands after handling chicks to prevent the spread of any bacteria.
There is a possibility that children who have egg allergies, could be affected by participating in the hatching program.
Egg allergy usually occurs when the protein in egg white or the egg yolk are consumed, however as the chicks hatch from their shells there is a membrane between the shell and the chick which dries and flakes into tiny particles called dander. This dander will be in the air around the incubator and also in the chicks fluff and so will be breathed in when observing the chicks. This may cause a reaction. Any child who has a severe allergy to egg, is at risk and should not participate in the program unless it has been firstly discussed with the child’s parents.
Please alert parents of children with egg allergies that you are planning on running a chick hatch program. For parents who may have concerns, it is recommended they discuss the situation with their Doctor/ Specialist before their child participates in the program
As an extra precaution people with egg allergies should wear disposable gloves when handling the chicks and remember hands need to be washed.
Peanut / Fish Meal in livestock feed:-The chick feed supplied does not contain Peanut or Fish Meal. However, the manufacturers cannot guarantee that some residue from other products in the manufacturing equipment has not contaminated the feed. It is recommend that anyone known to have an allergy to these products should not be allowed to handle the chick feed, food receptacle or the litter ( where feed may have been scratched out of the feeder by the chicks).
Your Program Instructional Videos
Incubator Setup and Running
Brooder Box Setup
If You Have Duck Eggs
At the Farm
21 Day Embryo Development
Additional Program Print Outs and Downloads
Don't Touch Sign
Extra information for Ducklings
Children's Activity Resources
Fun Activities for early childhood through to Primary school Age
Quick Guide Written Instructions
The eggs you have been supplied with have 16 to 20 day old embryos in them. The chicks are due to hatch on the 21st day. It is vitally important to maintain the correct temperature in the incubator for the eggs to hatch. It is a good idea to check the temp. every now and again (eg. 30 mins after it has been set up, 1stthing in the morning, lunchtime, 30mins before going home) to make sure the temp. is maintained.
Inside your incubator is a thermometer which should read just on or one degree below or above the texta mark on the thermometer. If the temp. Is more than one degree too low or too high, it can be adjusted by turning the black shaft that protrudes the dome ever so slightly.
• Clockwise will increase the heat.
• Counterclockwise will lower the heat.
After adjusting, wait 10 minutes then check the temp. again and readjust if necessary. Your incubator should maintain a steady temperature however cool drafts from a fan or air conditioner will cause the incubator to change temp as will any direct sunlight coming through a window.
The water in the base tray evaporates to keep the incubator environment humid which keeps eggshells soft and makes it easier for chicks to hatch. Avoid lifting the lid of the incubator as much as possible as this lets built up humidity escape. However you will need to lift dome to top up water level in base tray. After every 2 day period top up with approx one and a half cups of lukewarm water. Place eggs in a small bowl and put dome over the top while you wash and replace water in base.
You will hear peeping noises coming from inside the eggs, up to 2 days before the hatch. Next you will notice small holes appearing in some of the eggs. This means the hatch is only a few hours away! The chick will peck then rest, peck then rest…… until finally the egg will break right open and the chick will slide out wet and exhausted. After a few minutes, the chick will stand up and start exploring in a very shaky, wobbly fashion. The chicks do not need to eat or drink for 48 hours after hatching. So they can stay in the incubator overnight if they have hatched late in the afternoon. If the chicks hatched during the morning, it is best to leave them in the incubator until they are dry and fluffy and have become stronger and more stable on their feet.
The chicks will not all hatch at the same time and the chicken eggs will usually hatch all through the first week and the duck eggs will hatch during the second week. Not all eggs will hatch. Some chicks may make a hole and be too weak to go any further. Others may not even make a hole. If you have any chicks or ducklings that take a long time to hatch they may get stuck inside the shell because the membrane dries out after being exposed to warm air for a long period. If the chick or duck seems healthy and strong and has been trying to hatch for around 24 hours you can help it hatch by bathing the dried out membrane with a tissue soaked in warm water or immersing the whole egg in a small bowl of warm water for a minute, taking care to keep the beak out of water. This will soften the membrane and you should be able to peel some of the shell off. If there is any signs of fresh blood at this stage then leave the chick for another 5 hours or overnight then check again. Once the chick is fully hatched and has been left to recover, if it still has dried membrane stuck to it, another soak in the warm water and a wipe with tissues should clean it up. Dry the chick with a tissue and put it back in incubator as quickly as possible. You may also have weak or deformed chicks hatching. These chicks can be placed in the brooder box with the others. If the stronger chicks start to pick on the weaker one or trample over it, you can place the weak one in its own container inside the brooder box. Remember they do not need to eat or drink for 48hrs after hatching however if the chick still needs to be isolated after this period you can use an upside down bottle lid blu tacked to the bottom for water and sprinkle food directly on the bottom. Death, illness and deformity are all a part of life and young children are curious and keen to discuss these topics. If you have any sick chicks you are concerned about please ring me.
THE BROODER BOX
The perspex brooder box will need to be warmed with the lamp 10 mins before placing the chicks inside. Chicks need to be in a warm environment (but not overheated). The best way to judge if the temperature of the box is to hot or too cold is to look at what the chicks are doing. If they are too cold they will be huddled under the light. You can place a blanket over the box and just have the front showing. It is a good idea to have a blanket over the box at night during the cooler months as the temperatures drop dramatically inside the building when the heating goes off. If they are too hot they will tend to stay behind the light to get away from the heat. You can adjust this temperature by opening the lid or have it propped open slightly or in very hot weather turn the light off during the heat of the day. Towards the end of the 2nd week the chicks will start to jump and stretch their wings so do not leave the lid all the way open or you may lose a few! Make sure not to place the box anywhere that it may become exposed to strong, direct sunlight as the inside of the box will overheat rapidly. The chicks can remain at your centre for the weekend. Check the water and food containers are full and adjust the box so it will be the correct temperature, before leaving the chicks for the weekend. The chicks will not make much mess during their 1st week of life and the box probably won’t need cleaning out until the Monday of the 2nd week, then maybe each day or so after that. If you run out of food, the chicks can be fed on crushed weetbix or 1 minute oats. If you run out of clean litter, you can have just newspaper on the bottom of the box. During the second week you could try giving the chicks some worms. This usually causes great excitement for the chicks, and it is very entertaining to watch. During the second week the chicks can be taken from the box and placed in a larger home made enclosure for a half hour or so. Indoors or outdoors if the environment is warm. This activity must be supervised at all times. Children love to see how the chicks behave in a different environment. I have seen the children at one centre build an elaborate enclosure out of wooden blocks complete with slides and tunnels and a maze for the chicks to ‘play’ in.
HANDLING THE CHICKS
During the 2nd week, the children can handle the chicks under adult supervision. (Some children tend to squeeze them too hard or drop them, so it’s a good idea to handle them when sitting in a circle – after an explanation & demonstration on handling them has been given. In the warmer weather, children can sit outside on the grass in a circle and watch the chicks pecking & scratching in the middle. If the chicks get too cold, they will chirp loudly to let you know it is time to put them back in the box. Ducklings tend to wriggle and squirm a lot more than chicks and so I don’t recommend that young children handle them however you can set up a tub of lukewarm water and the children can watch them go for a swim. No longer than a few minutes. Keep the water level lower than the sides of the container so they can’t jump out. Dry off with a cloth before placing back in brooder box.
It is good hygiene to wash hands immediately after handling chicks. Also,young children should be instructed not to put their fingers in their mouths until they have washed their hands.
By the end of the 2 weeks, the children will have become quite attached to these cute little chicks and ducklings and some families may want to take some home.
They should be made aware that in a few more weeks they won’t be so cute. They will also be noisier & smellier. There is a 50% chance, they will grow up to be roosters (crowing at the crack of dawn instead of laying eggs) or Drakes. If they are still keen, it is recommended that you sell the chicks for $3 to $5 each and ducklings for $10 each Please do not sell just one chick or duck on its own as it will get very lonely and cheep frantically all day. I have included information sheets on raising chickens at the back of this book that you can photocopy for anyone contemplating buying the chicks and can be used for the ducklings as well as they need the same food and warmth as chickens. Your school or centre can keep the money raised from selling them. I sell any remaining chicks and they end up in a backyard or on a hobby farm. The chicks are mixed egg laying breeds and the ducklings are Khaki Campbell’s (excellent egg layers)
PLEASE DO NOT WIPE THE INCUBATOR OR THE BROODER BOX WITH ANY ABRASIVE CLOTH OR CLEANING LIQUID
I wash all equipment after it has been used so please do not worry too much about cleaning equipment. After removing all chicks and unhatched eggs the incubator parts will be smelly. The plastic water tray, round metal mat and plastic rings can be washed with warm soapy water and left to dry out. Do not wash or wipe the incubator dome, simply place on a dry surface and leave it running for 10 mins to enable any built up moisture to dry out. When all parts are dry, reassemble in the same way they were when in operation, with the thermometer inside the incubator and stored back in the large plastic box that it was delivered in.
On the 2nd Friday I will be back to collect equipment and unsold chicks.
The pickup time can be anytime from 10am to 4pm so please ensure that children get there last opportunity to handle chicks either on the Thursday or first thing on Friday morning. Please have the following things ready:
• This book
• The incubator
• The poster
• Any spare light bulbs / leftover feed & wood shavings placed inside smaller plastic box.
• The incubator and the thermometer placed into the large plastic box.
Please note - no washing of any equipment is required
Please make sure that any chicks you have sold are either collected before the pick-up day or have a cardboard box ready for them to go in.
I transport any unsold chickens’ home in the brooder box.
If you have families that are interested in doing the program at home please direct them to the stickers on the brooder box with all my contact details.
Thank – you!!!!!
Sydney, Illawarra and Canberra!
Hatching Chicks is a family owned business which has been operating successfully from Canberra to Sydney south and the Illawarra since 2000. Hatching Chicks brings the farm to you, giving you the opportunity to watch a chicken hatching from its shell and growing for the first two weeks of its life.
Start hatching Today!
All you have to do is make contact with Hatching Chicks and we'll do the rest. Hatching Chicks will deliver to your door and once the two week program has finished everything will be picked up, including any unwanted chickens.
FOR BOOKINGS - Call Liane on 0413 783 734
Brooding Basics 101
If you decide to keep some chickens you will find that caring for them is immensely satisfying and surprisingly easy. You can feed them your household scraps and in return you will be supplied with fresh free-range eggs and manure for your garden.