Aster & Lilly: A Blog Dedicated to an Alternative Homeschool Education, Free Worksheets, Printables, and More!

FREE Copywork Printable: 180 School Days of Literary & Inspirational Quotes

Free Copywork Printable

Free Copywork Printable
I have created a FREE Copywork Printable for those who are looking for more secular school work (not religion based).

As a huge bookworm, literary quotes are a big part of my life. I decided to create a full school year (180 days) worth of copywork pages that are appropriate for all ages and beliefs.

A School Year of Literary & Inspirational Quotes was created to encourage thought and conversation.

free copywork printablefree copywork printablefree copywork printable

Each page includes a traceable quote (for the beginning writer), and lines for copying the passage in their own handwriting (for those who are more comfortable with their writing ability).

Many pages include plenty of space for drawing, doodling, and note taking. This free copywork printable is not just for copywork, but can be incorporated into your notebooking routine as well!

There are quotes from the wonderful minds of:

  • Oscar Wilde
  • Mahatma Gandhi
  • Eleanor Roosevelt
  • Mark Twain
  • JK Rowling
  • Maya Angelou
  • Friedrich Nietzsche
  • Ralph Waldo Emerson
  • Albert Einstein
    • and more!

If you are looking for a thought provoking free copywork printable that you can use for all ages, then download 180 School Days of Literary & Inspirational Quotes for Copywork FREE from Aster & Lilly.

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Free Chicken Printables: How to Hatch Chicken Eggs for School

free chicken printables

How to Hatch Chicken Eggs for Your Classroom

Little Giant Still Air IncubatorGuess what?! We have chickens! The girls and I spent all of July hatching our very own chicken eggs.  We purchased some Silkie hatching eggs and Serama hatching eggs from a local chicken enthusiast. I purchased an affordable beginner chicken incubator from Tractor Supply for $40. The incubator is called, “The Little Giant: Still-Air Incubator“. For an additional $40 you can purchase an egg turner as well, but I opted to go the old fashioned route and turn the eggs ourselves.

The Little Giant Still Air Incubator is a great piece of equipment for the first time hatcher and takes very little space so it will fit nicely on a flat surface in your homeschool classroom or public/private school classroom.

I would love to give you step by step advice on how to hatch chicken eggs in your classroom, but you will have to excuse the low-quality iPhone pictures! ;)

Step 1 – Prepare Your Incubator

Set up your incubator in a draft free space, clear from any air vents, windows or doors.  You will want to turn it on and set the temperature knob so that it reads 99 degrees F and keeps at a relatively stable temperature. This means you will not want to keep opening the incubator. Once you have a stable internal incubator temperature of 99 degrees, you will want to check on the humidity levels.  The Little Giant Still Air Incubator comes with a thermometer, although it does not come with a humidity gauge. So you may want to spend an extra $10 and purchase a thermometer/humidity monitor from Home Depot (where I got mine!). I did keep the standard thermometer in the incubator as well to make sure that both thermometers were in sync with each other and giving close readings.

You will want the humidity to be under 50%, but as close to 50% as you can. The humidity fluctuated a lot, but you will want to keep it at a stable 45-50% humidity for the first 18 days. The Little Giant Still Air Incubator has crevices at the bottom where you can slowly pour filtered water, but I found it was easier to put a small glass cup full of water with cut up sponges. On the Little Giant Still Air Incubator you will have two red plugs. I took one out to add just a little circulation, and it also helped with humidity issues.

Why Do You Use Filtered Water to Hatch Chickens?

Tap water harbors a vast array of bacteria and viruses that can compromise the integrity of the egg. Chicken eggs are prone to early death due to contamination due to viruses and bacteria so make sure to always use filtered water in your incubator (as well as washing your hands BEFORE and AFTER turning the eggs!)

Step 2 – Set Your Eggs

How to Hatch Chicken Eggs
Some small hatcheries may put their eggs in the fridge to pause progression of chicken development. If this is the case, you will want to set your eggs at room temperature until they are no longer cold. Then you can begin the next step of setting your eggs in the incubator.

I found that just placing the eggs on the metal grate in the incubator was not secure enough, for me. I was only hatching 9 eggs so they could easily roll around. I didn’t like that. So, instead, I took an egg carton and cut it in half. Then I cut little holes in the bottoms for circulation. I then placed the egg carton on the metal tray in the direct middle of the incubator. (Being in the middle doesn’t really matter, probably, but I did so just to be safe.)

You will want to take a pencil and mark an X on one side of the egg and place pointy side down (big egg butt side up). This is important as you will want the air sac to stay on the big side.

Step 3 – Turning the Eggs

The next part is pretty simple. You will want to turn your eggs from side to side (not up and down) twice a day, minimum. I know some people turn more, but I found that twice a day was realistic for my household. We turned the eggs at the same time every day — 8am and 8pm. You will want to turn the eggs twice a day for the first 18 days.

Step 4 – Candling the Eggs

The purpose of candling an egg is to verify it’s fertility and that the chick is growing and alive.  The process of candling is simple, however what to look for is more or less a little confusing sometimes. You will want to dim the room to as dark as you can get it. Briefly open the incubator  and carefully remove an egg. From the backside, you will want to shine a bright flashlight to the egg, cupping your hand around it to help the light shine through from the back of the egg. I recommend not candling before day 10 because it can be confusing to see what you’re trying to look for. However after day ten, things will be more clear. You will want to look for healthy veins within the chicken. Around 14 days, you will want to verify the chicken is moving. (You should be able to see them move if you look closely!) If by day 10 the egg is clear with no veins or smells funky, you may want to get rid of it. Bad eggs can explode and contaminate good eggs.

rotten chicken eggThe picture to the left is a picture of a rotten egg. While candling, I had noticed that one egg kind of had an off putting smell. (They shouldn’t smell like anything, really.) After a few days, I candled, and noticed that this egg was completely black. I took it outside and chucked it. Sure enough, it was a bad egg. The smell.. don’t do that at home, folks. ;) Notice how the yolk is foggy. Not normal. No good.

It is really important to get rid of bad eggs as soon as they are discovered or you risk losing all of your chicks. Some chickens, though, will be late quitters and pass away for no good reason. Out of our batch of 9, I had two bad eggs and one mid-quitter that passed around 14 days incubation. (When I candled again at 14 days, I noticed that one’s movement wasn’t as easy to see. I had a hard time distinguishing if it was the light, or my eyes.. or an early death. I opted to let the early quitter remain in the incubator just in case he was a slow grower, and not actually dead.

Unfortunately I was right and this adorable black serama passed away early. It’s reasons, based on an eggtopsy, was unknown.

Step 5 – Lockdown (You’re in the stretch!)

On day 18, you’ll want to stop the turning of the eggs. You will want to increase the humidity to 65-68%. In my case, since my water jar was already full, I poured in some filtered water into the bottom tray to slowly raise the humidity level. Before you shut the incubator for the official lockdown, you will want to candle the eggs again. Are the chicks inside the eggs moving? Good. If there are any questionable ones, place them towards the bottom so you know which ones to look for. Double check the temperature – 99-101 degrees variation? Good. (Don’t let it go above 101 for any period of time as it can cook the chicks and kill them!) Is the humidity 65-68%? Great!

Now you will want to shut the lid to the incubator and DO NOT touch it for the next 3-4 days. The lockdown allows the chick to get in position for hatching. If you move them around after 18 days, you risk malpositioning them and contributing to a chick death. Just don’t do it, if you can help it. Opening and closing the lid will alter humidity and temperature and that can affect chicken development and hatching.

Step 6 – Hatching (Oh my GOD! It’s happening!)

Freshly Hatched Chick
Anytime from lockdown, the official hatch day of “day 21″ and a few days thereafter, you can expect your chickens to start hatching. You may notice some warning signs of hatching:

  1. Eggs moving around.
  2. Peeping sounds.
  3. Crack in egg shell.

Or you may notice nothing at all and awaken to a new chick! On Day 20 I left my mother to watch the girls while I went and got a root canal. On the way home my Mom called me to tell me that we had a chick and another one was on the way. I was dumbfounded. I thought, for sure, I would get warning signs. But I didn’t! It could be because Silkie and Serama are small bantam breeds, but I don’t know. I just know that one minute they were not here and then the next, they were.

Don’t be alarmed if it takes your chick a while to hatch out of their shell. It took the second chick about an hour to fully unzip and break free from his egg once we realized he was on the way. As soon as one chick hatches, it does set off a domino effect and you will find the other chicks will start hatching soon thereafter, too! It wasn’t until our fifth chick that I had to actually help out of her shell because she was getting exhausted. She had been trying to break free for 4 hours.

To Help a Chicken Out of Their Egg

Most of the time, you won’t have to do a single thing. But on occasion you will have the gut feeling that the chick needs a little help. What I did (and may not work for everyone) was wet my hands with water, and slowly break away the outer shell (be mindful of the membrane and leave it!) You must be careful because going too fast, when the chick is not ready, could cause them to bleed to death. Break off little pieces of the shell and allow the chicken to break completely free on their own. It is a high possibility that if a chick cannot hatch on their own that there may be something wrong with it. While this is not always the case, it is something you must prepare yourselves for. Luckily, in our case, there was nothing wrong with our chicken. Because she was the last to hatch, the humidity may have been off and she may have been tired. It’s hard to say.

Baby ChickOnce the chicken has hatched, you will want to leave them in their incubator for a good 24-48 hours until they have dried and fluffed up. As you can see to the right is a picture of the first born chick, about 48 hours after she had hatched. This is a Serama (the smallest breed in the world!). My 4 year old is holding her and has named her “Dorothy” after her idol from The Wizard of Oz. Out of the 9 eggs we received, we had 5 hatch. 2 of the eggs were bad, 1 quit around 14 days, and 1 passed away right before hatching, sometime during lockdown. We hatched out 4 Seramas and 1 Silkie (as seen at the very top of this blog post.)

Hatching chickens is a very rewarding experience. It’s a great hands-on activity to introduce the concept of life cycles to your little ones. Our family absolutely loved the experience and we will be doing it again!

Below I have included some hatching resources and free printables. When I have finished creating my chicken printables, I will be sure to add them below. Until then, there are quite a few great resources already available and I want to share them with you.

Chicken & Hatching Resources

 Free Chicken Printables

 

Homeschool Daily Deals for 6/9/14

Homeschool Daily Deals

Looking for deals on the web for homeschool and family-friendly products? Check out some of my deals below. Hurry and take advantage, as they will expire soon (some even today!)

You can click directly on the deal and it will take you to the appropriate page. If you take advantage, come back and comment here, to let me know the goods you scored! I really want to know!

Burpee Gardening

Burpee Gardening Discounts

Craftsy

Craftsy

Crocs

Crocs, Inc.

Discount School Supply

Lowest Prices Guaranteed at Discount School Supply

HP

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ISeeMe!

KidSafe

KidSafe Home Safety Products

LeapFrog

LeapFrog

 Mabel’s Labels

Zulily

Zulily

  • Magformers — up to 40% off (Ends 6/10) Combining incredibly powerful magnets with brightly colored geometric shapes, Magformers gives builders of all ages and abilities the tools to create anything they can imagine. From intricate 2-D scenes to sky-high 3-D buildings, these unassuming little pieces encourage problem solving, motor skills and creativity.
  • Schleich — up to 55% off (Ends 6/11) Founded in 1935 by Friedrich Schleich, Schleich consistently lives up to its heritage as a creator of high-quality products with an educational aspect. Spanning the lost world of the dinosaurs to today’s wild animals, these German-designed miniatures are as realistic as possible. Through their products, Schleich helps little ones create places of excitement and imagination.
  • Kumon Publishing — up to 35% off (Ends 6/11) Dedicated to encouraging learning skills at the earliest age, Kumon Publishing creates workbooks that improve your darling’s fine motor control skills along with verbal and math skills. Brimming with vibrant illustrations and engaging activities, each workbook inspires imagination and helps build the education foundation that will last your little one a lifetime.
  • Braun, Casdon & More — up to 35% off (Ends 6/12) Inspire a love of pretend play in little ones with this adorable assortment of sensational sets and toys! With everything from cute kitchen collections, cleaning equipment and snazzy strollers to totally awesome tools and toys, this collection of some of our favorite brands encourages sweeties to follow in your fanciful footsteps!