Baby Chickens on the Family Farm

A Wisconsin woman talks about hatching baby chickens in an incubator with her mother in the 1930s

| Good Old Days

Every spring in the 1930s, my mother, Mary, would set up an incubator in our living room on the farm to hatch baby chickens. She would light the kerosene lamp that heated the water, which circulated through the incubator. There were pipes throughout the incubator for the warm water to go through.

There were two trays of eggs in the incubator. Each day Mother would pull out the trays and carefully roll the eggs with the palms of her hands. Once a week she would" candle" the eggs. To do this, she would hold each egg up to a special light to see if it was fertile and a chick was developing inside. If not, the egg was destroyed.

After a few weeks, little chicks appeared in the windows of the incubator. When they were dry and fluffy, Mother would "fence" off a corner of the living room with boxes. That was their home until they could go out to the brooder house.

What fun it was to have little baby chicks in the house. But

Mother would remind us, "Be careful, don't squeeze them."

Katherine A. Pearson
Siren, Wisconsin

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