2017 is the fourth year that Children’s and Parents’ Services will be hatching baby chicks during the school spring break. Over the past few years, we’ve had a pretty good hatch rate for our chicks. In 2014 we successfully hatched eight chicks, the last of which we named Lucky because he almost didn’t make it! In 2015, ten chicks and last year, nine chicks hatched. We candled our eggs and discovered that at least one of them is empty. Because the shell of the dark brown eggs is so dark, it makes it difficult to see what is going on inside the egg.
Baby Chicks will be hatching at the Teen Center
New this year, the Teen Department at the Carnegie Building will also be hatching chicken eggs for the first time. Their eggs will be hatching sometime around Monday, April 17.
On the first full day of spring, Tuesday, March 21, I placed a dozen eggs in our incubator, located in my office on the Lower Level of the Library. Four of the eggs are white, four are light brown and four are dark brown.
The white eggs are from a White Leghorn mix breed and they will hatch into the familiar yellow chick that we all remember from the early ‘60’s cartoon Foghorn Leghorn who always asked the baby chick character, Henery “So you want to be a chicken hawk, do ya son?” There is no way to determine the sex of these chicks when they are hatched.
The Baby Chicks will be one of three varities
The brown eggs will hatch into either Black Star chicks or Cinnamon Queen chicks. Black Star chicks are a cross between a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Barred Rock hen. Female Black Star chicks hatch all black and the male chicks hatch black with a white spot on its head.
Cinnamon Queen chicks are a cross between a Rhode Island Red rooster and a Silver Laced Wyandotte hen. Female Cinnamon Queen chicks hatch red and the male chicks hatch yellow.
Now that you know all that, you may be able to identify them as they begin to hatch on Monday, April 10. Be sure to check the Patchogue-Medford Library’s Live Chick Cam on Youtube often so that you don’t miss these eggs hatching!
Since March 21st and for the last 18 days, we have monitored and maintained the optimum temperature and humidity levels in the incubator of approximately 100 degrees and a 48%-56% humidity. Later today, the eggs will be taken out of the automatic eggs turner and laid down on the screen inside the incubator and the humidity will be increased to 65%.
Baby Chicks are expected Monday, April 10th, 2017!
This begins the final three day countdown as the chicks prepare to hatch. With any luck, on Monday, the eggs will begin to show signs of pipping by the chick. The chick will use a special egg tooth to peck its way out of the shell. This egg tooth is only there on the chick for the first 12-24 hours. The hatching process requires a great amount of exertion on the part of the chick. The chick alternates between periods of activity and lengthy periods of rest. Chicks can take up to 24 hours to hatch. While it can be a slow process, it is amazing to watch! Once all or most of the eggs have hatched and the chicks are dry, they will be moved to a brooder box. Chicks absorb some of their yolk so they can survive in the incubator for 48-72 hours before being moved.
I know you won’t want to miss out on the action and educational experience this year! The chicks will be around for about a week if you would like to come down and see them in person too! We have many stories as well as nonfiction books about chickens that you can borrow from the Children’s and Parents’ Services Department as well as from the Adult Department too!
Looking forward to seeing you (and the chicks!) soon!
Mrs. Drake, Children’s and Parents’ Services