By Rick Mesz, Operations Manager
It’s that time of year again. My wife says, “Should we hatch chicks again this year?” This is an opportunity she discovered over 10 years ago when our oldest was still in preschool. Now she’s in high school and driving.
But I have 4 daughters and the youngest has taken over the helm of the chick hatching project. I respond, “I don’t care, but I don’t want anything to do with being responsible for any aspect of the chicks.”
So my wife, Debbie, confirms the girls are up for hatching again and fills out the paperwork to send it off to the University of Missouri extension office to be a participant.
March 6th. Debbie picked up 12 chick eggs and an incubator. I arrived home to find the incubator in its usual location – kitchen near the dinner table. It has to maintain a certain temperature, so the heat light inside the incubator flashes on and off. Then it goes on and off. Also, the eggs have to be rotated about 3 times per day. Amber, my youngest at 8 years old, is allegedly the captain of the rotation in this go around of egg hatching. After rotating them they spritz them with water. I guess eggs get thirsty.
March 7th. Rotate. Light on. Light off. Light on. Light off. Exciting stuff, but at least they’re quiet.
March 8th. Rotation crisis! At 6 pm we discovered the eggs were rotated by multiple family members trying to help out. Hopefully, 5 rotations will not create chick vertigo when they hatch. We’ll see if they hop around in circles after hatching.
March 9th – March 12th. No changes.
March 13th. Hold on…They spotted a crack!
March 14th. At approximately 6:30 am, my oldest daughter who gets up first for school, heard something in the kitchen. I was out of town and “missed out” on the excitement. But here are a couple pictures that documented the observation. The flock is assembling. Note the time stamps on the attached pictures. Things happen fast in chick hatching world. For those familiar with Personalysis, these should be considered RED chicks.
By noon, here is the count – 10 of 12 eggs hatched. Two more will hatch in the coming hours. I’m guessing they like to hit the snooze button.
After school on the same day, they are puffy little yellow balls of fluff ready to be manhandled.
March 15th. They’re ready to meet the rest of the family.
March 16th. Last night with us before they go on to wherever they go. I believe it is a local Harrisonville farmer who takes them in.
So this process happens quickly. You get the eggs on a Monday. They hatch 7-8 days later. You keep them long enough to enjoy them. Then they become a noisy, cheeping collective, and you get to send them away.
It’s really an amazing part of nature to observe, and it’s great for kids to see this up close and personal. I highly suggest hatching chicks at least once in your life no matter what your age is.
Two years ago we hatched ducks and let them roam the yard for a several weeks before finding them a new, safe home.
I want to say this may be our last time doing this….but I guessing it probably won’t be.