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Chapter 9: Still Interested?
Hatching is not for the faint of heart. It requires good planning, dedication, flexibility and good observation skills. If you are interested in a classroom incubation experience, you will have to be prepared with plans for who will adopt your classroom chickens! If you hatch at home, you will want to have plans for rehoming any roosters or chickens you don't want to keep. In an extraordinarily short time, the baby chickens will be babies no longer. They need a lot of space, and they need outdoor access to pasture. If your students will be adopting them, make absolutely sure that they and their families understand what is required for their care. If you are hatching eggs at home for your family, you will want to have everything at hand that they need as soon as they hatch, and you will want to have a safe and secure coop and run for them as they get older. (You can read about Chicken and Chick care in our free Chicken Care ebook.)
You don't want to try hatching your own eggs if you can't rehome any unwanted roosters you may not be able to keep (many areas permit people to keep hens, but not roosters due to their crowing). In most cases, you won't want to try hatching only two or three eggs at a time, because you may get only one to hatch--or none! One chick alone may die of loneliness--they are flock animals and need companionship. If you have children, it can be very disappointing to deal with bad hatches, or to deal with having to give away half or more of your beloved little chickies simply because they are male. It is important to have a plan for all contingencies: people who hatch eggs must be very flexible. Don't buy eight eggs if your only plan is that four will hatch, and two of those will be females to keep for your family. If that is what you're counting on, Murphy's Law says that it is the last thing that will happen: four will hatch but they will all be males; or none will hatch and your children will be devastated; or all eight will hatch and they will *all* be females, but your coop has room for only the two hens you planned on!
As the old, and wise, saying goes: Don't count your chickens before they've hatched.
If you decide hatching eggs is for you, it can be an educational experience for youngsters, whether they are in a classroom or at home... and frankly it can be an educational experience for everyone, adults and children alike. It can restore that disconnect with the natural cycle that so many people suffer from. It is a joy and a wonder. It is intensely rewarding (and terribly addictive.) But it is also a responsibility you must be prepared for.
We wish you the best of luck! Please feel free to contact us at 888-460-1529 or firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions.