Kindergarten Hatcher Update

If you look back through my posts, you will see the story about building an incubator and hatching some eggs for my daughter’s kindergarten class.  Today, Ducky (NEVER let 4 and 5 year olds name pets….) was moved to a new home.  The kids were wildly excited when I showed up today to get Ducky and take him to his new digs.  If you’ve never visited a kindergarten class, trust me….the next time you meet a kindergarten teacher, give her a hug (it’s almost always a woman), and say “thank you”, and “I’m sorry for what you have to put up with everyday”. 

Anyway….the chaos subsided a little, and all of the kids wanted to show me Ducky.  Since it was late in the day, they were supposed to be getting ready for the busses, but….

“Ducky”, outside of his home in the class


The kids then wanted to hold Ducky for “one last time”, before he “moves to the farm, and we never get to see him again”.  It’s surprising all the little lessons this project involved.  My daughter made a card, so that Ducky would remember her forever.  We then loaded Ducky into his travel crate, and walked him down the hall towards the parking lot.   Because it was bus time, the hallways were lined with little kids waiting to go home.

Ducky and his hoarde of admirers

Other than flashbulbs going off, I felt just like George Clooney walking down the hall….people crowding around, yelling questions, trying to get close… was mayhem….I don’t recommend it.  Of course, George has Stacey Keebler to help him through it, so he will probably be OK. 

Sydney and I loaded up the car and took Ducky to a local farm where they had graciously agreed to take our little orphan.  We put the cards and decorations up to make the empty horse stall a little more homey, and left, promising to visit soon.  Syd is now in her craft corner, drawing a picture of Ducky’s new home to take to school tomorrow to show her friends how he will be living from now on. 

Syd releasing Ducky into his new home

It was an amazing experience for the kids, the teacher, and, I have to admit it…for me too.

The conversation my daughter and I had on the way home from the farm was priceless.  If you ever have a chance to do something like this for little kids, do it…its truly worth it.

Mike the Chicken Vet


12 responses to “Kindergarten Hatcher Update

  1. Hi Mike,

    I just got a flock of 4 chickens today!
    I got:

    1. White Silkie (Named her Daisy)
    2. Black Star (Named her Gerttie)
    3. Red Sexlink (Named her Mitzy)
    4. Barred Rock (Named her Susie)

    There hen house is insulated, and I put a regular old light bulb in it, to provide extra warmth and light for laying.

    I put a thermometer in the coop to check the temperature and it ready 10 degrees Celsius with 38 % humidity. Do you think this is warm enough?

    I do not know what else I can do to make it warmer…

    Also, when should I put the light on?I read in your earlier post that people should have their lights on for the longest day o the year (15 and a half hours). If I am trying to put the light on for 15 and a half hours, what time should the light come on and turn off? I also live in Toronto.

    Right now I have it to come on at 6:15 AM to 11PM. Is this the right setting?

    I always read your posts, and I look forward to reading the next post!


  2. Hi Mike,

    I have 1 more question.

    When the chicken lays its egg should we wash it?

    There is some poop on the egg. Should we just wipe it with the towel?

    Also do we put it in the fridge? I am a little scared of getting salmonella.

    Please let me know the protocol on what I should do with the egg.


    • Wow Andrew…sounds like you have a chicken rainbow!!! Good luck with them. As for temperature, I would say 10 degrees is about the minimum comfortable temperature for them. If you want to warm them up a little more, put in a higher wattage bulb, or by a “heat lamp” bulb, which throws more heat without a huge increase in light intensity. The daylength you have seems plenty long. If you put your lights on at 6:15, then I would turn them off at about 9:45, to get a 15.5 hour day.
      As for the egg safety question, washing eggs is a good idea, provided you wash them in RUNNING water. If you use a pail or bowl of water, each egg you wash makes for bacteria soup that you dip the next egg into. If you use running water, the bacteria is washed away, but then you have to consider that the sink you are using is likely contaminated with bacteria, and should be cleaned with bleach after you wash your eggs. Use cold water to wash the eggs, so that the interior of the egg doesn’t expand from the heat. (when it cools and shrinks again, it can suck bacteria through pores in the shell into the interior of the egg, which is bad). There are egg holders that you can use to keep you eggs inside in the fridge. I have a plastic one, which works well, since it is cleanable in the dishwasher. Mine is a “devilled egg” holder, but works perfectly well for whole eggs, and holds 18 eggs. Otherwise, you sound like you are off to the races….enjoy your new hobby!!!!

      Mike the Chicken Vet

      • Hi Mike,

        Thanks so much for the info! I am so grateful for your help!

        By the way my dad knows your wife (Dr. Shawn Petrik) from work! He is a doctor at MacMaster that knows her… I met her on bring your kid to work day (I am 14), and she showed me around the TaARI labs. That is how I found out about you! We got talking and she told me to talk to you!

        Is there any chance of the bird getting burned from the light?
        Do you know any tips to stop the birds from pooping in their water?
        How much feed would you give them per day?

        Do you have your own flock?

        How is ducky?

        Sorry for asking so many questions, I want to make this as easy as possible for my ladies!

        Talk soon,



  3. Hi Andrew! Shawn mentioned you, but I had no idea that this was you!! Congrats on convincing your dad to let you have a flock (I heard it was a bit of work!). I am impressed with your level of interest and knowledge about the chickens.
    As for getting burnt, that should not be a problem. The chickens are smart enough to stay away from it if they have a chance….They will actually go as close to the light bulb as they need to to be warm enough.
    As for pooping in the water, this is probably the most common cause of intestinal disease in chickens, and it needs to be dealt with. There are drinkers are quite good at providing water, without giving the birds much surface area to poop in….I can’t put a picture in the comment section, but there is a picture in the post “how to feed chickens” (under the “Backyard Flocks How to” under FAQ.
    I don’t have a flock of my own. I work so much with professional farmers, that I have to maintain strict biosecurity, and if I ever was to spread disease from my own flock to one of thiers, I would be really unhappy.
    Ducky is doing GREAT in his new home…thanks for asking.

    Mike The Chicken Vet

    • Thanks (again)!

      To be honest, I think it is “trial and error” most of the time.

      I just checked them (for the 10000 time this day), and they looked happy roosting in their hen house, the temperature was 14 degrees Celsius, and 45% humidity.

      I might try to put a high wattage light bulb in a large can to provide heat. The can will stop the light, but will radiate heat due to the high wattage of the light bulb inside.

      I got 3 eggs today, and boy did they taste good! My hens laid during the afternoon today. Is this okay? Should they be laying in the morning? Does it even matter at all?

      Thanks for you help on the temp. and the lighting.


      • The chickens will likely lay in the morning once they get settled into your coop, and used to the day-length you have set for them….if they keep laying, it doesn’t really matter when they do it. 14 degrees is pretty good for them, but I’d keep a close eye on the temp as the winter progresses….once it gets cold, you will almost definitely have to use a higher wattage bulb. One other thing….I hate to say this, but you should relax (I know…everyone says relax) with the birds. Every time you check on them, they likely notice, and it disturbs them….let them be by themselves, figure things out and settle in….I know its hard to do when they are new, and you are pumped about them, but just keep vistits to “necessary ones”. You can figure out different ways to convince yourself that each visit is “necessary”…. 😉

        Mike The Chicken Vet

      • I think thats good advice. Tomorrow I will go to school, then I will be away for most o the day! They get to explore by themselves…

        The whole day I will be thinking about if they laid an egg


      • Hi Mike,

        I know I probably should not check on them so often, when I know they are perfectly fine! Tomorrow I will be at school, so they will have the day by themselves, to explore their new home. I know I will be wondering the whole day if they laid, or are going to lay an egg!



  4. Hi Mike,

    My chickens are doing great! I bought a mix/min thermometer and I can record the temperatures, to make sure that they will always be comfortable!

    There is only 1 problem. They won’t lay! It has almost been a week since I got them, and I have only gotten 4 eggs, from 4 chickens.

    I picked supposedly good layer birds (sex-links, stars, barred rock).
    I was told that they would almost lay an egg every day. They have 14.5 hours of light per day, always have water and feed, and have access to both their run and their hen house.

    Is this because they are getting adjusted to a new environment? How do I get them to lay more? They have all laid 1 egg, in their nesting box, so they know where their nesting box is. They also laid their egg on the first day they came, after the first day they never laid again.

    Please give me any advice you have to help them lay more, or to get them in a routine of laying.


    • Hi Andrew;
      Good plan with the min/max thermometer…they are really useful. Thanks for the question. Watch the blog…I’m going to write a post this evening that describes egg production, and should answer your questions. If I miss the mark, ask me again, and I will answer you privately.


  5. Thanks, for responding so diligently!

    I await your new post!


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