Hatching chicken eggs in the classroom

5 Easy Steps to Lock an Incubator If you incubate a chicken egg

You will definitely hear the words "locking incubator" - but what exactly is that and what needs to be done? 
After the chicks have hatched and dried in the incubator for about 24 hours, they need to be moved to the brooder box... 

First: What is meant by "lockdown"? "Lockdown" is just a word used to describe the time when an optimized egg incubator is set to hatch. 

The eggs are not rotated or lighted again and the incubator is left with the lid closed until after the chicks hatch.

When should the locking of the incubator be done? The generally agreed time is three days before the eggs will hatch. For normal size chicken eggs this is at the end of Day 18 incubation period. 

I suggest using a thermometer like this to put in your incubator which measures temperature and humidity.
An incubator is a box that protects eggs and maintains the right temperature, so they can develop into chickens and hatch.

It has air circulation, humidity control, digital display for reading temperature and humidity, and push-button thermostat control. It's important to add a wireless temperature gauge to the brooder box.

I read somewhere that it is better to leave the chicks in an incubator than to disturb the temperature of the air by opening them to eliminate them.

Bantam eggs can sometimes hatch more quickly, about 18 or 19 days after incubation (although this is not always the case) so they must be locked around the 16th day. 

If you have an incubator with large eggs and bantam eggs and you don't have separate hens, it's okay to lock all the eggs on Day 16. 

What you need to lock your incubator? Top Tips for your First Time Hatching Eggs in the Classroom

I use my Brinsea Mini Advance and Octagon 20 incubators as examples in this instruction, but the exact same principle applies to whatever incubator you use: You will need:

  • A pair of scissors. 
  • Some forms of non-slip material. 
  • Your Candler. 
  • A safe surface for laying eggs (like a towel). 
  • Pencil. 

1. Stop the chicks from slipping

You must prepare a non-slip surface to hatch when it appears. Why? 
Chicks will start moving as soon as they hatch - they stumble around the incubator, into and on other eggs, inside and on top of each other. 

Slippery surfaces can cause their weak and thin legs to 'split', resulting in a condition known as 'stretched legs'.
The outstretched leg can be repaired, but it's better to prevent it from happening. So, choose a non-slippery surface - I use plastic material which is usually used for shelf layers ('antiscivolo')is used in Italy' which means non-slip.

How to make an anti-slip mat? Remove the eggs from the incubator and store them in a safe place - the eggs will be fine for a few minutes. 

I used a towel on my incubation table to put it. Now remove the turning plate or egg tray - in the case of the incubator this is a yellow disc with a hole where the egg has been. 

Place the disc or egg tray on a plastic bag and draw the perimeter with a pen. Now cut the shape of the tray, so that it is slightly smaller than the tray itself. 

For a small Brinsea incubator, fold the material into four pieces and cut a hole in the center to allow the water pot.

There she is! You must now have an anti-slip mat to keep your chicks safe when they hatch. I made exactly the same type of base for chicks that hatched in my Brinsea Octagon 20 incubator.
Hatching can be a messy process, so after all the eggs hatch, it's best to remove this base and make a new one the next time you incubate. 
The same eggs that chickens have to create the next generation of chickens are what you find in the grocery store and refrigerator to take home.

2. Light your eggs

If you haven't gotten a candler, see this page where I review the best candling devices on the market today. 
Before you put your eggs back in the incubator, turn them on in turn. Eggs that show no signs of development should be removed at this point.

This is an example of an egg that clearly will not develop. Eggs with cracks that also have a 'gunk' on their shells - a kind of sticky liquid - must also be removed immediately. 
These eggs have stopped developing and if allowed to explode, scatter bacteria throughout the hatch. 
Eggs with a "blood ring" must also be removed. "Blood ring" is a sign that the embryo is dead and that blood, which is in healthy hatching eggs spread by a complex vascular system, has collected in one place

For pictures of fertile eggs, live eggs, and bad eggs, visit the website in the Important Links section of this lesson.

This is an example of what to look for in this type of egg. When you are laying eggs, mark the air cell. Hopefully you have done this during incubation when you light an egg, but it is especially important to do it when locked. Why?
This is where the chicks have to start penetrating the shell. That won't be right because air cells will continue to grow bigger over the next three days, but it provides a plausible picture.

If your girl starts 'pip' somewhere else, that's a sign that she might need help. The first 'pip' of hatched chicks. You can clearly see how the pipping point is very close to the air cell when the last candle - this girl is in the right position to hatch. 
After you have removed the undeveloped eggs and marked air cells in a developed set ... Eggs that show 'normal' development for Day 18 - that is, most eggs are dark, with growing air cells - can be replaced in an incubator. 

Do not place the discs back into the incubator - the eggs must be placed lengthwise on a non-skid base. 

For an incubator like Octagon 20, which holds an egg standing at the end, it's time to lay it flat. I can usually put standard-sized chicken eggs this way - but it gets very crowded after they start hatching!

3.Increase humidity and oxygen 

The humidity level for hatching must be higher than for incubation, so when locking we need to adjust it. 

The membranes surrounding the chicks must be kept moist so that the chicks can peck them. If it's too dry, the chick will jam and won't be able to hatch. 

If you use a moisture pump with an incubator like Octagon 20, the percentage must be increased now until the digital reading reaches 65%. 

If you use an incubator like Mini Advance that does not have a humidity pump or percentage readings, you must rely on the manufacturer's instructions. 

In the case of Mini Advance (or any small Brinsea incubator), the two water pot cubicles in the middle of the incubator must be filled when locked and kept filled until they hatch. 

Make sure you place the guard on the top of the pan - the newly hatched chicks can easily fall into it and sink. 

A word about ventilation. Once chicks reach this advanced stage, they need a much higher supply of oxygen than has ever happened before. 

Poor ventilation can cause chicks to die even at this last point. Make sure, whichever incubator you use, that it stands in a place with good air supply - for example, it is not enclosed in a cupboard. 

Smaller incubators with fans, such as Mini Advance, will keep ventilation for you so you don't have to worry. 

If you use an air-vent incubator (Octagon 20, for example), open at least half when locked. 
You might need to increase the humidity level to keep the humidity at the right point- Before I had a moisture pump to take care of this for me (what a savior!) I use a wet kitchen towel for this if necessary.

4. Stop turning the egg

Chicks now need a little peace and quiet to put themselves in the right position to hatch, so you have to stop flipping eggs now. 
If you use Mini Advance, the incubator will automatically know when this will happen and will stop rotating for you. All you need to do is remove the discs and replace your plastic floor. 

If you have an incubator like the Brinsea Octagon Advance that uses a rotating cradle, simply lift the incubator from the cradle and place it on a flat surface. 

You can now pull out the holder, clean it, and save it for the next time.

5. Close and leave

From now until it hatches, the lid of your incubator must be opened as little as possible and the eggs should not be touched or illuminated again. 
It is important that moisture levels are maintained in the incubator during locking and hatching so that the chicks are not "wrapped". This happens when the membranes dry out and literally shrink around the chicks. 

Chicks cannot move and cannot hatch. Opening the lid will greatly reduce the humidity level, so you need to avoid it as much as possible from now on. 

Brinsea's Octagon 20 incubator vent at the front of the engine helps control humidity without disturbing the eggs. To increase humidity, close the ventilation holes to three-quarters. 

Don't close it completely - chicks need oxygen from this point onwards. To reduce humidity, open the ventilation completely as shown below. 

Wait for the humidity to stabilize and then close the slider to halfway point. What about keeping the waterpots replenished during locking? 

When I first needed to do this after locking, I was afraid, because all the advice was not to open the incubator at all after the 18th day.

But how do you fill the water chamber if you can't lift the lid? I have learned to relax. Opening the lid sometimes for a few seconds to fill the pan won't affect the humidity much, and the levels will rise again, even though it can take a while. 

One word of caution: don't avoid opening the lid if an egg starts to 'pip' - that is if you can see even a small hole or crack. 

The decrease in humidity at that point can be fatal because the internal membrane can dry out in seconds and when that happens, it wraps the chicken too tightly to move. 

Hatching Chicks in the Classroom: Everything You Need to Know | One Kreative Kindergarten

You can discuss how farmers have to work with the life cycle of plants and animals as well as the season cycle to harvest crops or produce products such as eggs, chickens are important livestock for meat and egg production

If you are a teacher, after reading this article, you can explain to students that people, animals, and plants are all living things that use energy to grow, develop, and reproduce.

In lessons involving the collection and housing of live animals during classrooms for observation, it is important to recall that, while most young people want to treat animals with care, not all do it, and that some children can be cruel.

The school chicks hatching project, as if designed to teach students about the life cycle, involves placing fertilized chicken eggs in the class incubator until they hatch.

Talking through the simplest design method of egg catching makes it very clear to teachers how important STEM projects like this are for collaboration and student growth. For example, at every stage in the life cycle of a chicken, the breeder must provide various types of care.

This experience will begin with the teacher Bringing Farms to you visiting your group, sharing the excitement and process of developing chickens through the one-hour program, and bringing you all the tools you need for your incubation adventure.

Incubating and hatching chicken eggs in the classroom may be a direct learning experience that you will use with students from kindergarten through 12th grade. Thank you