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Exploring God's Creation in Nature and Science
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MEBarrett
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Posted: Feb 16 2005 at 11:09am | IP Logged Quote MEBarrett

Hi Macbeth:

I am sure you will know this. Last year the children and I tried to hatch quail eggs. I bought them online from somewhere in Florida. Actually four eggs came with the incubator. It is a small plastic thing with a light bulb - not very professional. Anyway, we looked up all kinds of things about quails and how to raise them etc.. and of course the eggs never hatched. They were very pretty though.

I would like to try again, maybe with ducks or chickens. They were all so into this (they were still in school at the time) and I think it would be a great experience. Do you have any advice? Anything at all? Where to buy fertiziled eggs, a reliable source. Maybe I should invest in a better incubator? Last year we took pictures of the eggs with the idea of tracking their progress in a scrapbook. I would like to incorprate this again.

Just picking your brain. Please tell me if you think this is crazy and I should forget it.



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Posted: Feb 16 2005 at 12:40pm | IP Logged Quote cathhomeschool

Ducks I suppose you could eventually release into the wild, but what would you do with chickens once they hatched?

When my brother was in kindergarten, my father bought him a couple of chicks to raise in a coup that he had built next to the garage. It wasn't long before we had several chickens and a couple of roosters. We watched them hatch, but let the mothers do the incubating! We finally gave them all away when we graduated from high school. It was a wonderful experience.

Unfortunately, I have no practical advice for you except to get a hen and rooster and watch nature work for you!

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theNetSmith
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Posted: Feb 16 2005 at 1:46pm | IP Logged Quote theNetSmith

I'm sure you meant "coop," unless the chicks revolted against the tyrannical humans...

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Posted: Feb 16 2005 at 2:57pm | IP Logged Quote cathhomeschool

   The funny thing is that I had it spelled right, and then I corrected myself! Having a spell checker wouldn't have helped either... too sad!

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MacBeth
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Posted: Feb 16 2005 at 3:08pm | IP Logged Quote MacBeth

MEBarrett wrote:
I would like to try again, maybe with ducks or chickens. They were all so into this (they were still in school at the time) and I think it would be a great experience. Do you have any advice? Anything at all? Where to buy fertiziled eggs, a reliable source. Maybe I should invest in a better incubator? Last year we took pictures of the eggs with the idea of tracking their progress in a scrapbook. I would like to incorprate this again.

Just picking your brain. Please tell me if you think this is crazy and I should forget it.



Bummer that they never hatched. Unfortunately, I have little experience with domestic fowl...parrots are another matter. I have had great success raising cockatiels, and I highly recommend this project, as the chicks are very friendly, easy to hand-rear, and can be sold at a small profit.

For duck or chicken eggs, I have heard that you can get them at Agway. I have also heard rumors of places that will buy them back from you when you have finished your hatching-and-admiring lesson .

An incubator, which I have used, need be little more than a sytrofoam cooler with a lightbulb and thermostat wired up to it. A thermometer will help you figure out the right setting.

Eggs take usually 21-28 days after the mother has begun sitting (or they are placed in an incubator) to hatch, depending on the species. As the eggs begin to grow, they become opaque, and soon you can feel movement. Just before hatching you can hear "peeps".

That's about all I know .



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Posted: Feb 16 2005 at 4:40pm | IP Logged Quote cathhomeschool

MacBeth wrote:
I have had great success raising cockatiels, and I highly recommend this project, as the chicks are very friendly, easy to hand-rear, and can be sold at a small profit.


We also had cockatiels and finches that layed eggs and hatched -- both very easy to raise. With the finches (We had about 20 at any given time.), we'd put small pieces of yarn and needlepoint floss dangling from the wire sides of the cage. The birds would gather these pieces to make their nests. It was fun to watch the whole process and to watch mommas feed the chicks. The finches were scared of us, though, so we could never hold them. Cockatiels were friendlier and easy to sell.

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MacBeth
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Posted: Feb 16 2005 at 6:15pm | IP Logged Quote MacBeth

Oh, I've raised finches too! The eggs are the size of pills, and they are a bit to frightened to let us in for a peek! Thanks for reminding me, Janette...those little finch voices are all coming back to me like a tiny car that refuses to start on a cold morning!

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MEBarrett
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Posted: Feb 16 2005 at 7:45pm | IP Logged Quote MEBarrett

Ok, I'm not married to barnyard fowl. Where did you get finch eggs?

I was interested in chickens and ducks because we have a really large yard and we could easily pen off a nice space for them or there is a petting zoo nearby that will take them. But finches sound nice.

Details?

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Posted: Feb 16 2005 at 7:59pm | IP Logged Quote cathhomeschool

Well, we inherited the finches from my grandmother and then just let nature run its course! We had several small nest boxes/baskets hanging in the cage and provided yarn. The birds paired up on their own, mated and raised families...We were just happy observers. Babies hatched and others died of old age, so we always had a pretty stable population. I think that you can buy finches at a pet store. If you have a local homeschooling network maybe you could ask to see if anyone has finches they would be willing to part with.

Macbeth, yes the eggs are so tiny! And the hatchlings seem to small to be real...until the open their mouths and peep for food! This is all bringing back great memories for me too!

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MacBeth
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Posted: Feb 16 2005 at 8:11pm | IP Logged Quote MacBeth

MEBarrett wrote:
Ok, I'm not married to barnyard fowl. Where did you get finch eggs?

I was interested in chickens and ducks because we have a really large yard and we could easily pen off a nice space for them or there is a petting zoo nearby that will take them. But finches sound nice.

Details?


Hehehhe. The Mommy and Daddy finches must be present, as the young are altricial, not precocial (SP??). That means they are born quite naked, blind and helpess--very different from chicks (forgive me if you know this)! Finches are easy to sex (tell male form female) and very easy to keep. Head to your local Petco and pick up a pair (probably about $30) of zebra finches, more for a cage (check amazon ahead of time for CHEAP cages), and get a nest basket. They are pretty cute.

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Posted: Feb 17 2005 at 2:14pm | IP Logged Quote stefoodie

i'll probably gross people out with what i'm about to say, but the topic title got my attention, as my 13-yo dd has been craving some duck eggs lately. you can usually buy fertilized ones at asian grocery stores, so if you have one in your town you don't need to mail-order them. they will be labeled "balut" or "balot". they are available at asian stores because in some cultures (like ours, dh and i are filipinos) we eat them! we boil/simmer them just like regular eggs, only longer, about half an hour or so; and it's like chicken/duck soup in a shell. the best ones are the really young and not fully developed eggs, i don't think i need to explain why . i hope i didn't offend but this is considered quite a gourmand's delight where we came from. the guys also like it with beer :-D.

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MEBarrett
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Posted: Feb 18 2005 at 12:00pm | IP Logged Quote MEBarrett

Hehehhe. The Mommy and Daddy finches must be present,   
****************
Ok, I guess that was a silly question. I thought that perhaps you bought the eggs somewhere. The old fashioned way to procure offspring is definitely more interesting though. I will check out Petco this weekend. I actually have a nice cage from our parakeet.

You have to excuse my dopiness. I was raised by one of those moms who thinks nature is a giant conspiracy to drop something nasty on your head or muck up your shoes. (a very nice mom nonetheless)I am trying to raise my kids to love nature and I do the camping, hiking, animal stuff but it is as much a journey for me as it is for them. I am often confused or ill-prepared to answer questions. That is why I plan to be on this list all summer.

If that doesn't scare you off MacBeth nothing will!



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MEBarrett
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Posted: March 09 2005 at 6:08pm | IP Logged Quote MEBarrett

So an update on my raising birds scenario.

About ten days ago we went to a maple sugaring day at a farm here on Long Island. They had fertilized chicken eggs for sale so I bought a dozen.

It took me until now to find my little incubator and the eggs are in there right now. I will keep you posted.



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