The Hatching Science brooding kit materials were thoroughly researched and approved because of their ease of use and high customer satisfaction ratings. However, there are many, many ways to be successful in hatching chicks and any individual who wants to try different materials is encouraged to do so as long as he or she has researched and tested everything thoroughly beforehand.

Here is a list of what was included in each "Hatching Science" brooding kit, as well as links to purchasing sources and additional information when necessary.

  • Incubator
    The Brinsea Mini Advance is an excellent choice for 21 day eggs because it is a basic, affordable but very reliable model. It can handle up to 7 eggs at once. Please note: if you get an incubator without a turner and you are going to be incubating eggs for the full 21-day time period, remember that you will have to hand turn the eggs at least three times a day. Incubators are available through many sources and the prices tends to change based on season (spring is more expensive) so be sure to shop early and check many sources.
  • Brooder Box
    Almost anything that will keep chicks contained and isolate heat will work as a brooder box. For the grant, we used semi-transparent plastic tubs which kit materials can be packed into and stored away, but that will also offer students a view of what the chicks are doing inside. This is an inexpensive option that can be picked up for only a few dollars at any hardware or home-goods store. Also included in the kit was a piece of wire screen that can be placed over the top of the box or cut down to fit a square insert in the top of the box lid, as seen in the picture to the right. As long as the chicks are warm, happy, and given plenty of air, the choice of how to use the brooders is wide open.
  • Clamp lamp frame
    Any light that produces adequate heat will work as a brooder light. Some instructions recommend that only 250 watt lamps and bulbs be used, but on the small scale that most classroom teachers will be operating at, THIS IS BAD ADVICE. 250 watt lamps/bulbs are extremely hot and will probably cook your chicks instead of keeping them warm unless they are placed at a great distance from the chicks. Any type of lamp will work as long as it produces enough heat, and you can check this by turning the lamp on in a safe place and shining it onto a thermometer for several hours. If the thermometer reads between anything OVER 90 degrees you are good, you will just have to adjust the distance to reach the correct temperature. If it is colder, you will probably need a stronger heat source. In this kit, we used simple, versatile Bayco clamp lamps from
  • Red heat lamp bulb
    Truly, any color of bulb is fine as long as the bulb produces enough, but NOT TOO MUCH, heat. It has been said that red bulbs reduce the amount that chicks peck at each other, but on a small-scale this is pretty much a non-issue. Regardless, for our kit we selected Fluker's Red 100 Watt Heat bulbs from, but these are also available at a good price from
  • Thermometer
    There are two important keys when deciding on a thermometer: first is accuracy, and second is having a minimum/maximum temperature recording function so that you don't have to constantly monitor the temperature when testing and using your equipment. We chose the Egg-O-Meter, a thermometer that is shaped like and egg and that has an equivalent density/weight. This is important because egg temperature will change more slowly than exterior temperature, so by using the Egg-O-Meter you are getting a more accurate idea of what is going on inside the egg (instead of outside of it). Further, through our research at Utah Agriculture in the Classroom, it seems that the Egg-O-Meter is one of the most accurate thermometers in its price range. It is available through the Incubator Warehouse's website.
  • Litter
    We used wood shavings, which can often be sourced through forestry products stores for free or almost free, or which can be found bagged at ranch-supply stores for only a few dollars. Wood shavings can also be found at pet supply stores, but these tend to charge more for the same product you are getting from the other places. Wood shavings are generally regarded as the best material for chick litter.
  • Feeders/waterers
    The Utah AITC kits came with mason-jar based feeders and waterers, but there is really no "right" or "wrong" feeder; only personal preference. Some things to keep in mind: chicks are messy and will probably "poop" in their feed and water. No feeder or waterer will be able to keep this from happening, it is just a matter of maintenance to keep it cleaned up on a daily basis. Also, they tend to knock over anything in their brooder. Be sure that your feeders/waterers are bottom-heavy to increase stability or try raising them up on a wood block. Most likely, though, there is very little you can do to keep them from being knocked over. Just be prepared for maintenance and remember that those clumsy little chicks are still learning their way around!
  • Food
    "Chick starter" feed is available in the form of mash, crumbles, and pellets and all are available in medicated and unmedicated forms from most ranch supply stores (IFA, CalRanch, etc.). If the chicks will be going outside before they are 6 weeks, they will probably need medicated feed, but otherwise you can just let the price and your personal preference be the determining factor for the type of feed you buy. The feed should be the sole source of the chick's nutrients for the first 6 weeks, after which it can be introduced to new foods. At this point, it will also need a source of "grit" (also available at most ranch supply stores) so that they can properly digest more complex foods. Note: chicks on starter feed DO NOT need grit.