Thursday 17th October 2019


Exactly 21 days ago Mrs Moulton put a batch of different hens’ eggs into an incubator in her lab. They were from a variety of “rare breed” Chickens from a farm in Macclesfield and a wonderful mixture of colours and sizes.

The incubator keeps the eggs warm and turns them every hour just like a mother hen would. This stops the little chick from sticking to the side of the shell as it grows.

After a week the eggs were “candled”. This involves shining a bright light into the egg (carefully!) and seeing for signs of life! Of the 18 eggs put into the incubator, 16 were fertile and tiny chicks could be seen wriggling about inside.

After another week, the eggs were gingerly candled again. All 16 were still alive and developing!

Normally when people hatch eggs they are lucky if half of them hatch into chicks, so imagine our delight when on day 21 thirteen little balls of fluff came cracking out of the eggs!

Picture 1:

The chick turns in its shell and its beak makes a tiny hole in the shell

Picture 2:

As the little chick uncurls, its beak pierces more of the big end of the shell and it works its way round chipping the top of the egg off.

Picture 3:

When the top of the shell is removed, the chick heaves its body out of the shell.

Picture 4:

Exhausted and sticky it rests in the incubator for 12-24 hours to “fluff up”.

Picture 5:

These chicks are mostly Vorwerks and will look very different as adults.

Picture 6:

Fluffed up and settled into their new home!