An educational, enriching and character building project.
Seems like such a simple thing… not much to it… but the benefits of allowing a child – especially in urban/suburban areas – to experience the fascination of accompanying the development of an egg into a small chicken (and possibly beyond!) can be astonishing and are impossible to measure.
We believe such experiences foster a deep respect and gratitude towards Nature, animals, and our “daily food”. With active engagement and appropriate support from mentoring adults, this program also has the potential to open a child’s mind to the wide array of lifestyle choices available to her future, providing the structure and environment for the introduction of thoughts and concepts on ethical farming and its challenges, personal dietary preferences, business & career considerations, and more!
This is a seasonal, fully-supported program, by which families or groups (seniors/clubs) sign up to incubate and raise chicks for the first 4-6 weeks of their lives (possibly longer if the participant is up for it!)
HOW IT WORKS:
We provide all the support, materials, and guidance you will need to take on the incredible journey of incubating eggs and caring for the newborn chicks!! (And we give the young chicken a home after 4-6 weeks should that be your preference, or you may also keep them if you so wish!)
We carefully select our materials for an overall great experience for beginner families: we focus on quality, engagement, and ease of use!
We plan on at least two family program sessions per year, one early Summer (starting in May/June) and one mid-Summer (starting in July.)
We also offer this program to daycare centers, pre-schools, grade schools, homeschooling & 4-H groups, senior residences & day centers, and other interested community and educational organizations throughout the academic year! Contact us to schedule your group!
We have limited sign up/participation space as we have to be conscious of the volume of chicks/chickens needing a home at the end of the programs – we always commit to taking back all of our chicks!
1. Quality, hands-on educational materials, including child-friendly exploration sets, activity guides, journals and books.
2. For the incubation phase (22 days incubation period, plus 1-2 days setup time), you will receive:
- a fully-automated incubator (all of our program incubators feature a clear-view cover [allowing for full view of all hatching eggs/chicks!]; egg-turning with auto-stop; temperature display and control; humidity sensor; and a convenient, easy to use candling light!)
- a carton of fresh, fertilized* eggs (*we guarantee a minimum of 8 fertile eggs – it is impossible for us to know how many are actually fertile!)
3. For the brooding phase (4-7 weeks*), you will be provided with:
- pet cage (large bunny cage or alike)
- chick heater plate (safer than old-style heat lamps)
- feeder and waterer containers
*Please note: at approximately 4 weeks, we expect the chicks to likely overgrow the bunny-cage provided. We can assess the possibility of supplying families with a dog crate if they wish to keep the chicks longer – it has been our experience that most families actually already have a dog crate they can use (or access to one!)
It should be understood that at 4 weeks of age the chicks are NOT yet ready to be outside in a coop as they cannot reliably maintain/control their temperature. They can be placed in a dog crate in a sheltered environment like a garage, or basement with windows. They should be in that semi-protected environment (with the heater!) until they are 7 weeks old (thus fully feathered), at which point they may indeed move into a coop (we will gladly walk you through all these details and some important considerations in this transition!)
WHAT IS YOUR COMMITMENT & RESPONSIBILITY:
By joining the program, participants commit to and are responsible for:
- the proper handling, care and safe return of all equipment & material;
- following the pick up/delivery/return procedures as planned/agreed;
- monitoring and caring for eggs/incubator and chicks in the brooder;
- supplying chicks with chick-starter food, fresh water, and bedding
Your routine will include checking the brooder’s overall safety and stock conditions daily; plus, cleaning and refilling food & water as needed.
You should change the wood shavings/bedding weekly for the first 2 weeks; then every 2-3 days as they grow (bigger chicks, bigger poops and more mess…!!)
WHAT IS RENTED VS. WHAT YOU MAY KEEP:
ALL REUSABLE MATERIALS SHOULD BE RETURNED TO US IN GOOD, WORKING ORDER, including all equipment (incubator, cage, heater plate, feeder and waterer) and educational materials (exploration set and reference books.)
Chicks may be kept by the participating family or returned to us upon completion of the program – families MUST notify us of their intent during the last week of the program so we can plan accordingly. Please see further options below.
Additionally, each participating family receives a thoughtful selection of interactive single-use items, such as journals, coloring or activity books. These enrich and support the learning experience, while also becoming treasured family keepsakes!
KEEPING YOUR CHICKENS FOR LONGER:
We are ALWAYS happy to provide detailed guidance and support the transition of the new flock to a “big home” with the host family (Hurray!! How exciting!!)
We will gladly walk you through the important considerations in caring for your flock long(er)-term.
If you are not quite ready to make a permanent commitment, but are still looking to expand your knowledge and family’s experience (maybe get a few seasons of fresh eggs!? Yummy!!), you may like our “host a coop” program option. This coop rental program allows you to enjoy, learn, and experience the routine of caring for a flock before deciding if a permanent commitment is right for your household (click here for more details.)
PROGRAM’S COVERAGE AREA:
Our program is currently offered to:
- Westchester (NY) and Fairfield (CT) Counties,
- any areas in the driving path between such counties and our farm,
- families living (or spending the Summer) within 1,5 hrs of our farm in Southern Vermont (click here for our location.)
- families who are able to pick up/return equipment by visiting our farm (New York, New Jersey, Connecticut, Massachusetts, New Hampshire… if you can gather equipment and return it – you can join! – an additional safety deposit applies to these “out of coverage areas”.)
Contact us if you are unsure – we may be able to work with you, especially if you can double up with another family! (See details below.)
The complete experience is made available for a flat fee of $250 (plus shipping fees, please see below!) This value includes the rental of all equipment & reusable educational materials, a carton of eggs for incubation, and a set of single-use activity booklets (note: if you have more than one child in your household or are planning the program for a school/other organization with multiple “scientists”, you may wish to receive additional booklets so each child/person may have his/her own working material – we can add on to your order: contact us for details!)
This is a NEW PROGRAM and we reserve the right to review and modify its structure and pricing at any time before each participant’s registration.
In partnership with Untwine, our partner non-profit organization, this program is available to low-income families and to our local seniors, families and community at a reduced fee or free of charge. Please inquire if interested.
(Please see below SHIPPING FEES & LOGISTICS!)
TAG-ALONG: FIND A FAMILY TO JOIN YOURS save on shipping fees! This discount is available to families who will WORK TOGETHER to transfer equipment to/from each other – find a family to precede or follow your session and save! HOW: the family who signs up for the first session will take on the responsibility to clean, organize and pass on all the reusable equipment and educational material to the family following them in the second session. We will then ship fertile eggs directly to the second family at no additional fee!
- This is only advisable if the families know/can rely on each other!
- WE WILL ABSOLUTELY NOT:
- be responsible for lack of cooperation between families!
- coordinate between families who sign up separately!
- EVER share participants’ details/contact information!
We are able to offer this discount given the resulting savings in time and costs related to the restocking/shipment of materials. As a reminder, we are always available to mentor and guide ALL families in our program!
SHIPPING FEES – DELIVERY & PICK UP ARRANGEMENTS:
We usually personally drive and hand-deliver/collect the kits – we have several ongoing, back-to-back sessions and we are able to offer a reasonable delivery fee by coordinate regional deliveries and pick ups on the same day.
PROGRAM DELIVERY & PICK FEE IS $25 EACH WAY. If you are able to either pick up or deliver your materials from/to a friend (see TAG ALONG above), or if you are able to arrange pick up or deliver directly from/to our homestead (visit us in Southern Vermont!), you will not get charged the shipping fee!
IMPORTANT!!! Due to present COVID precautions and travel restrictions, we are currently UNABLE to publish an advance-schedule of delivery and pick up dates – we will contact each family to schedule.
We commit to taking back all chicks (and even older chickens!) raised in our program!!! (We usually offer one travel day a month during which we organize several deliveries and pick ups of materials and chicks in pre-determined areas! (For older birds – including “rooster pick ups” – please see below.)
ROOSTERS & OLDER CHICKENS [PICK UPs] and other SPECIAL ARRANGEMENTS:
If you decide to start or conclude the program at an “off-schedule” date, or if you need an adult chicken or “rooster pick up” after the program (usually you can only properly identify your roosters at around 5 months of age!) an ADDITIONAL $50 FEE WILL APPLY as we will then have to make special arrangements to retrieve the materials/chicks/older birds.
Older birds require crates and special travel plans (including the allocation of significant “trunk space” to them) which affects our ability to combine multiple collections/deliveries during the same trip, thus the additional fee. Our birds are ALWAYS welcome back at the farm and no fee will apply if you are able to come visit our farm and bring them to us!!
We will make our very best efforts to accommodate different dates or other special requests, but we cannot guarantee them – please contact us if you have a vacation travel schedule or need any special arrangement.
READY TO SIGN UP OR NEED MORE INFORMATION? CONTACT US!!