What Can Raising Chicks In Your Backyard do for Your Family?

Hatching chicks at home is an exciting, educational project for your children.  If you are joining the urban farming movement and have decided to raise chickens in your back yard, then hatching your first chicks from fertile eggs is a wonderful way for kids to see, up close, new life emerge into the world.  They will never forget the thrill of this very special experience.

Hatching chickens to keep at home for fresh eggs and meat is a way many parents are choosing to connect their kids with the natural world, get them away from video games and show them where their food really comes from.  The more you involve your children, the more they will learn.  Fertile eggs can be ordered from breeders.  Here are six ways your kids can help with the hatching.

1.)  Kids can help you build an incubator.

You need an incubator to keep the fertile eggs at the proper temperature and humidity for the 21 days it takes for a chick to hatch.  The incubator provides the same conditions as a setting hen. Many simple plans are available on the Internet.

2.)  Kids can check the temperature and humidity of the incubator.

With a thermometer and hygrometer from the hardware store, your kids can make sure the temperature is a steady 99.5 F (39.5 C) and the humidity at least 50% and higher toward the end of the 21 days.

3)  Kids can turn the eggs every day.

A setting hen turns her eggs over several times per day.  Your children can do this with the eggs in the incubator.  Have them mark and X on one side of the egg and an O on the other so they can tell whether or not the egg has been turned.  They must NOT skip a single day or the chick might be deformed.  And they must remember not to turn the eggs the last three days before hatching.

4)  Kids can learn to candle the eggs.

By holding an egg up to bright light in a home made candling box, the kids can learn to tell whether or not a chick is developing inside.  A chick shows up as a cloudy mass.  Those eggs that remain clear and uniform are not fertile and should be discarded.

5)  Kids can help the baby chicks peck their way out.

When the chicks began to break their way out of their shells, some become tired or stuck. Children can carefully help these little ones fully hatch. As they watch the damp newborns dry into fluffy, cheeping baby chickens, your kids experience a wonder of nature so many other youngsters never get a chance to see.

6) Kids can feed and water the new babies.

While the chicks are in their brooder,  warm and safe, you children can give them chick starter and keep their water fresh and clean and watch the chicks grow each day.

Your children will even more fascinated with your back yard chickens if they helped them hatch as chicks.  They will enjoy the fresh, chemical-free eggs, understand more about how food is really produced and spend less time with the TV as they enjoy their very own little flock. Their lives will be the much richer for it.

Copyright 2009 Maggie Kerr

The Parents’ Guide to Raising Backyard Chickens for Kids, gives parents all the knowledge they need to make keeping chickens at home a success just about anywhere. Get yours at: http://www.hamilhouse.com/parent-1.htm.

Article Source: http://EzineArticles.com/?expert=Maggie_Kerr

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