Looking for a great science fair project? Hatching fertile chicken eggs in an incubator is an easy, yet informative experiment any child can do!
The major reason why this makes an excellent science fair project is that it evokes curiosity regarding formation and development of living beings. In times when students seem to be more interested in futuristic and robotic stuff, projects like these develop their interests in biological sciences. It is really fascinating for students to observe how a lifeless and helpless embryo is protected by the nature’s delicate shell and step by step evolves into a life form.
Through such projects, the students don’t only learn about the egg and its development, but they also learn about incubation and favorable hatching conditions. This project requires a proper preliminary learning and knowledge before just jumping into it. Two main things that you need to know about are eggs and incubating conditions.
Learning – Mystery Behind Eggs
Not every egg is destined to be a chicken one day, only the fertilized ones can hatch and only under right conditions. That is why students must first learn how to get the right egg. Fertile eggs are easy to get from a poultry farm or supplier. Yet, there are few more things to determine its fertility.
– The chances of fertility are never 100%.
– Fertility can be determined after two or three days by holding the egg in front of a light source. If a cloud is visible inside the shell, it means the egg is fertile and there is a chance of hatching. This method is called candling.
– Also, the size of egg is an important factor to determine fertility. The best egg is neither abnormally huge nor too small.
– The egg must look completely normal in shape and the shell must not be damaged or cracked.
– The egg normally takes 21 days to hatch.
Maintenance – Incubating Conditions
Although hatching is a natural process, it just can’t happen under any condition. It requires a specific temperature and humidity. Perhaps, nature does maintain such conditions under the mother hen, but when going for artificial means you must keep an eye on for it. The students conducting the project will have to learn about the conditions they have to provide.
– If the eggs are to be stored before incubation, keep them in a cool and dry place with 75% humidity. Eggs can be stored for up to seven days. Let them warm up to the room temperature before incubating.
– Maintain the temperature between 95F to 100F in the incubator and humidity must be 60%. It must be increased to 65%, after day 18, in incubator.
– The eggs must be kept large side up.
– To keep the temperature even, the eggs must be turned every four hours until day 18.
– Make sure the incubator is kept steady on a flat surface and is properly ventilated inside.
Observation – The Development
Waiting for fertilized chicken eggs to hatch in Hova Bator incubator is not the only observation in this project. Through candling, students can observe the step by step development of an embryo into a living breathing chicken. Although, the egg must be kept in incubator to increase the chances of a successful hatch, but a quick and careful observation in every few days won’t hurt the process inside.