2About the Project Science Based, Hands-on Extension provides educational resources for the projectLeaders ManualSuggested ActivitiesYouth Activity sheets
3Scientific Investigation, Reasoning and Logic About the ProjectHelps teach SOL’sLife Sciences, Physical Sciences, BiologyGradeScientific Investigation, Reasoning and LogicLife ProcessesLiving SystemsKY123456Revised in 2007
4Project ExpectationsTeach responsibility and caring for a living thingTeach respect for life and the value of living thingsEmphasize a “hands-on” experience with living thingsHelp youth grasp developmental processes and stages of growthIntroduce and explain the topic of reproduction to youthIntroduce youth to scientific process and other areas of scienceUsually conducted around 4th grade. This supplies SOLs in science (plant and animal life cycles), math (measurements-thermometers) and english (reference materials).
7Why can’t I incubate eggs from the Grocery Store? Most eggs from a grocery store come from hens that have never seen a rooster – they are unfertilized.
8The Fertilization Process A rooster is placed in an enclosed area with about 10 hensRooster will deposit sperm on the vent of the hen.The sperm then travels through the oviductAfter fertilization occurs the egg albumen, shell membranes, and shell are added to complete the egg formation process.
9Hen Reproductive Anatomy The oviduct lies along the backbone of the hen. It is about 25 to 27 inches long. The yolk is completely formed in the ovary. When a yolk is fully developed, its follicle ruptures, releasing it from the ovary. It enters the infundibulum. After fertilization occurs the egg albumen, shell membranes, and shell are added to complete the egg formation process.
10Egg AnatomyChalaza suspends the yolk in the albumen. Chalaza becomes the umbilical cord in humans.
11Function of Embryonic Membranes Yolk SacFoodAmnionProtectionChorion / AllantoisRespirationWasteMinerals from shellAbsorption of albumenThe amnion, chorion, and allantois identify the group of vertebrate animals – amniotes. Mammals, birds, and reptiles are amniotes. Chorion lines the inner membrane of the shell. Albumen also provides food (protein). Yolk sac provides more fat. The allantois has four functions. (1) It serves as an embryonic respiratory organ. (2) It receives theexcretions of the embryonic kidneys. (3) It absorbsalbumen, which serves as a nutrient (protein) for theembryo. (4) It absorbs calcium from the shell for thestructural needs of the embryo
12Hens will lay about one egg every other day until they have enough in their clutch to start brooding.The hen’s body temperature is 106 degrees and when she sits on the clutch, she brings the temperature of the eggs up to 100 degrees.
13Fertile vs. Not fertile Fertile Non-Fertile On the surface of every egg yolk there can be seen a tiny whitish spot called the blastodisc. This contains a single female cell. If sperm is present when a yolk enters the infundibulum, a single sperm penetrates the blastodics, fertilizing it and the blastodisc becomes a blastoderm. Shortly after fertilization the blastoderm begins to divide into 2, 4, 8, and more cells. The first stages on embryonic development have begun and continue until the egg is laid. Development then subsides until the egg is incubated.FertileNon-Fertile
14What’s the Difference between White and Brown Eggs? Eggs come in all different sizes and colorsDifferent colored eggs come from different breeds of chickens – the earlobe color will tell you the color of the eggOlder chickens lay bigger eggsAraucanas lay green and blue eggs
15What breed do we use? White Leghorn Made famous by foghorn leghorn Pronounced leggernFamous for egg production – practically an egg everyday
16External Chicken Anatomy Comb is the cooling system – chicken circulates blood throughout it’s comb and wattles. By observing the hackle and saddle feathers of an adult chicken you can determine its sex. Male hackle and saddle feathers come to a distinctly pointed tip and are more shinny. Female hackle and saddle feathers have rounded ends. takes four to six weeks for secondary sex characteristics such as the size and shape of the comb, to become visible enough to distinguish between the two sexes. However, sexing day-old chickens is not easy due to the location of the sex organs inside the body of the chicken. This method involves examining the baby chicken's vent, located under its tail, looking for a genital organ. If the genital organ is present in the vent, it will resemble a small pimple and the chicken is a rooster.
17Feather Sexing*Slow feathering is caused by a sex linked dominant gene. Rapid feathering is associated with the recessive allele.*after chick fluffs up*primary feathers of the rapid feathering females are longer than the slow feathering males
19Embryonic Development Day 1Beginning of formation of brain and nervous system, head and eyesAppearance of vertebral column and blood islandDay 2Embryo begins to turn to left sideBlood vessels appear in yolk sacHeart begins to beatFirst sign of amnionFormation of throatBlood islands are structures in the developing embryo which lead to many different parts of the circulatory system.
20Embryonic Development Day 3Beginning of formation of nose, wings, legs, allantoisAmnion completely surrounds embryoDay 4Beginning of formation of tongueEmbryo separate from yolk sac
21Embryonic Development Day 5Proventriculus and gizzard formedreproductive organs formedDay 6Beak and egg-tooth begin formationMain division of legs and wingsVoluntary movement beginsDay 7Digits in legs and wingsViscera developmentDay 8Feather formationDay 9Embryo begins to look like birdMouth opening appearsProventriculus and gizzard are part of the chicken’s digestive system. The proventriculus is a glandular part of the stomach that stores and starts to digest food before it enters the gizzard. The gizzard is a specialized stomach constructed of thick, muscular walls is used for grinding up food; often rocks are also instrumental in this process. Something other than muscle power is needed. This "something else" is acquired when grain- eating birds pick up grit and small rocks as they peck seeds from the ground. Egg tooth develops in many birds and reptiles and is used to break through the shell and will fall off within a week of hatching.
22Embryonic Development Day 10Beak starts to hardenSkin pores visible to naked eyeDigits completely separatedDay 12Toes fully formedFirst visible feathersDay 13Appearance of scales and clawsBody covered in feathersDay 15Intestines taken into body
23Embryonic Development Day 16Scales, claws and beak become firmAlbumen gone and yolk increasingly important as nutrientDay 17Beak turns toward air cellAmniotic fluid decreasesEmbryo begins preparation for hatching
24Embryonic Development Day 19Yolk sac draws into body cavity through umbilicusEmbryo occupies most of space in egg except air cellDay 20Embryo breaks amnion and starts breathing air in air cell (becomes chick)Day 21CHICK HATCHES!The embryo knows to break the air cell when it is too big to absorb oxygen from the egg shell pores. The air in the air cell will give the chick enough air for the few hours necessary to break out of the egg.
30Record Keeping Keep your calendar and record sheets together Keep daily recordsMark when eggs are turnedEnter daily temperatureIncubator (each time eggs are turned)RoomWrite down daily observations
31Preparation and Planning Inform co-workers and custodial staffPower outages?Will you be notified?Who will take care of eggs/incubator in the case of power outages or school cancellations?Lower school temps on weekends?Tampering
32Preparation and Planning What happens to the chicks after the project?Chicks must be returned to our office on May 3, 3 – 6 PMThis means you should have four days with the chicks to discuss the brooding processChicks hatch on Tuesday, May 1.
33Equipment: Incubator Secure in advance Types Forced Air – air is circulated by a fan or fansStill Air – air is not circulated manuallySecure incubator(s) at least a month before the start of the project and be sure it works.Still-air incubators rely on hot air rising and leaving through the holes in the top of the incubator, in turn drawing fresh cooler air in.
34Equipment: Incubator Cleaning One week before start of projectAvoid strong contaminants25% bleach solutionDO NOT touch or get heating element wet, brush gently with soft brush to remove dustTest at least a week before project is to begin (24 hour period)PlacementAvoid drafts, direct sunlight, heat & AC outletsSet in room that stays above 65°F (70-80°F)Make sure electrical outlet will be “on” 24 hours/dayOn sturdy, level surface6 inches away from edge of surfaceAvoid laminate countertops – because incubator will melt plastic
35Equipment: CandlerSee Teacher’s Packet for information on constructing your own candler.Why candle? You can dispose of any unfertilized or cracked eggs. Or fix cracks with clear nail polish. You can also observe the growth of the embryo without breaking the eggs open.When to candle? You can candle every day if you like. Some good days to candle are day 3, 6, 9, 12, and 18. Best not to candle after day 18, as the embryo needs to be in the right position to pop the air cell.
36How do I Successfully Hatch Eggs? Proper Preparation and PlanningQuality Fertile EggsStart Up DayThe eggs that will fill this order are coming from our Brickland Two flocks, currently hatching at fertility rates of 90.9% and 88.4%. This is based on candling done after the eggs are in the hatchers for 10 days, and actual results from these eggs. While we aren’t able to tell you exactly what fertility rate your eggs will have, it will probably be at about the same rates.
37Start Up Day Have the incubator ready to go Prepare eggs for incubatingAllow a couple of hours for eggs to come to room temperature – approx. 2 hrsCandle eggs and discard any:Cracked eggsDouble-yolked eggsStart running incubator 48 hours before eggs are to arrive/be set.Can try to repair cracked eggs with clear nail polish
38large air cell dark yolk Candling eggs prior to incubationCrackedPoor qualitylarge air cell dark yolkGood qualityhatching eggTwo YolksYou can try mending cracks with nail polish
39Start Up Day Prepare eggs for incubating (cont.) Identify eggs Put a number on large end of each eggMark eggs with “X” and “O” on opposite sidesUse a pencil or wax crayonSet eggs in incubator with “X” sides upBest to set fertile eggs in heated incubator within 24 hours of arrivalWashing – NOT UNLESS NECESSARY. Only wash eggs visibly dirty. Wipe the egg clean with a wet cloth warmer (at least 10 degrees warmer) than the temperature on the eggs. DO NOT set excessively dirty eggs.Identifying – DO NOT use a permanent or toxic ink pen or marker.
40How do I Successfully Hatch Eggs? Proper Preparation and PlanningStart Up DayGood Incubation Management
41Incubation Management 4 Important FactorsTemperatureHumidityVentilationTurningPay Attention to Temperature and Humidity!
42Temperature Thermometer Varies by incubator type and turning technique Same height as top of eggsKeep away from the heat sourceTwo makes for a more accurate readingVaries by incubator type and turning techniqueForced AirManual: °FStill AirManual: °F
43TemperatureTemperatures BELOW 96°F or ABOVE 103°F result in high mortalityDO NOT adjust incubator temp during first 48 hoursHalf way through incubation process may see an increase in temp
44Humidity Proper humidity is important for chick health Prevents sticking to shellMaintains amnion fluidProvides for free embryo exercisePrevents crippled chicksDetermine humidity using a wet-bulb thermometerWet-bulb and dry-bulb thermometers at same temp = 100% humidityWet-bulb temperature is measured using a thermometer that has its bulb wrapped in cloth—called a sock—that is kept wet with water via wicking action. Such an instrument is called, not surprisingly, a wet-bulb thermometer. At relative humidities below 100%, water evaporates from the bulb which cools the bulb below ambient temperature. To determine relative humidity, ambient temperature is measured using an ordinary thermometer, better known in this context as a dry-bulb thermometer. At any given ambient temperature, less relative humidity results in a greater difference between the dry-bulb and wet-bulb temperatures; the wet bulb is colder. If the wet and dry bulb read the sametemperature, you would have 100 percent humidity.The more evaporation taking place, the lower thetemperature reading on the wet-bulb thermometerand the larger the spread will be between the wet- anddry-bulb reading.
46Maintaining Humidity First 18 days 19th – 21st days (hatching period) 60%19th – 21st days (hatching period)65-70%Condensation indicates adequate moistureAdding waterShould be about the same temperature as incubatorAdd when opening incubator to turn eggs (wet sponges may help)Make sure water is cleanWater temp when adding should be warm to touch. ALWAYS make sure water trays are full. Sponges can increase the evaporating surface.
47Ventilation Normal atmospheric air Air movement past eggs Vent plugs Oxygen Concentration – 21%Carbon Dioxide Concentration – 0.5%Air movement past eggsMake sure ventilation holes are openVent plugsFront plug is for regulating humidity (removed one week prior to hatch)Back vent for excessive humidity (should be removed the day chicks start to hatch)Best hatching results are obtained with normal atmospheric air.
48Turning Why is turning necessary? How often should eggs be turned? 3-5x daily for 2nd-18th day of incubationDO NOT turn during last 3 days!What about weekends?Turn once daily on weekendsIt is okay to move incubator and eggs prior to 19th day of incubationTurning prevents the blastoderm from migrating through the albumen and adhering to the shell membrane.
49Candling Candle eggs every three days to check progress Day 7 Will be difficult to see embryo development after 17 days. Eggs shouldn’t be out of incubator for more than 5-10 minutes for candling or any other purposes.Day 7
50Hatching OutRemove automatic turner (if used) and place eggs on cheese cloth over wire bottom on day 18Never help the chicks from the shellRemove the chicks from the incubator and place them in a warm brooder within 2 to 6 hours after they hatch6-12 hours will be okay if they hatch when nobody is aroundRemove and discard all remaining un-hatched eggs 60 hours after the first chick hatches
51Clean Up Remove loose shells and dry matter Egg trays and water pans Soak in warm water and scrub off adhering dirtWipe plastic clean with soft cloth and glass cleanerBottom of incubatorNo chemical cleanersSoak in 25% bleach/water solution and wipe with clothHeating elements and other electric unitsDO NOT touch or get element wetBrush gently with soft brush to remove dust
52Brooding Make sure the brooder box is working 2-4 days prior to hatch Maintain 92 to 95°F for the first weekTake temperature at one inch above the floor levelSupply a textured, absorbent litter to provide traction and prevent leg damageTextured paper towels work wellChicken starter feed18 to 22 % proteinWill be provided with one poundUse a jar lid, egg carton, small tuna can, etc. as a feederWater should be available at all timesClean waterer and brooder dailyMake sure waterer is not too deep so chicks don’t drown. A tuna can works well.
54Avoiding DiseaseEmphasizing the importance of sanitation and good hygiene before and after handling any animal reduces risk associated with project to almost zero
55Troubles Arise ...The most common problems are associated with improper incubator management...
56Low Humidity can cause . . .Chicks fully formed, but dead without pipping.Eggs pipped, but chicks dead in shell.Dry sticks – shell sticking to chicks.Short down on chicks or eyelids stuck closed with down.Chicks with splayed legs or curled toes.
57High Humidity can cause . . . Sticky chicks – chicks smeared with egg contentsLarge, soft-bodied chicks with bad odor.
58Low Temperature can cause: Eggs pipped, but chicks dead in shell.Sticky chicks – chicks smeared with egg contentsLarge, soft-bodied chicks with bad odor.Delayed hatch – eggs not starting to pip until 21st day or later.
59High Temperature can cause: Embryos that stop developing after a certain point.Chicks fully formed, but dead without pipping.Chicks hatching too early with bloody navels.Short down on chicks or eyelids stuck closed with down.
60Problem: Chicks with splayed legs or curled toes. Trouble ShootingProblem: Chicks with splayed legs or curled toes.CausesInsufficient moistureCorrectionsMaintain proper temperature and humidity levels
61Other Problems that may Occur Sudden losses at any timeCauses:Power or equipment failure or overheatingCorrections:Check incubator temperature at least 2x daily
62Even in the best of conditions . . . A hatch rate above 50% is considered a success.Separate unhealthy chicks from the healthy onesIn cases of chick death VA DEQ has approved the following methods of poultry carcass disposal:Landfill off-site (this means that you could throw the carcass in a school dumpster)Follow school dissection projects policies for biohazard wasteWith life, comes death. You should not expect all of your eggs to hatch. In fact a hatch rate above 50% is considered a success. Unfortunately, not all chicks are born as healthy as we would like. It is not uncommon for chicks to be born deformed or close to death. If you have a chick born with some sort of weakness, the stronger chicks may peck at it and cause its ultimate demise. To avoid this, it is best to separate the weaker chicks into a separate box. I like to call this box the “hospital” and at chick drop-off day we will have accumulated about twenty of these chicks. They will be taken to the farm in hopes that they can nurse them back to health. In the cases in which a chick dies before chick drop off day, VA DEQ has approved the following methods of poultry carcass disposal:Landfill off-site (this means that you could throw the carcass in a school dumpster)Rendering (i.e., processing of animal materials into other products), incineration, or composting off-siteBurial on site under emergency permit – This is the least preferred method due to its adverse environmental impact. Potential contamination of groundwater/public health issueIf your school does any sort of dissection project, you may want to follow their same process for biohazard waste. Of course you will want to dispose of any deceased chicks in a tactful way that is most appropriate for your group dynamic. If you find it appropriate to use a chick death as a teachable moment, you may want to consult grieving counselor.
63Keeping Chicks Town of Herndon – 1 hen Fairfax County – must have 2 acres or pay $910 fee up front
64PredatorsRaccoons have opposable thumbs and so can open latches. They usually just eat the head of the chicken or any eggs that are in the coop.Coyotes usually tunnel underneath a coop. Usually kill every bird they can get to.Opossums are just interested in baby chicks and eggs and will get in through any small hole in the coop.Foxes can dig and climb. Usually kill every bird they can get to.Hawks hunt during the day while birds are free ranging.
65Please don’t forget to consult these resources... Chick CalendarEmbryology RecordTip SheetTeacher’s PacketBeginning of Life CurriculumEmbryology Record Book
66Send your Poultry Enthusiasts to Me for Poultry Judging!