Sacramento Farm Seeks Dedicated Chicken Hatchers

If you're still pondering the "chicken or egg" question, I have an egg-cellent opportunity for you. Sacramento Magazine reports that GullyRumpus Farm, located in Rio Linda, California, is allowing families to incubate and hatch chicken or quail eggs at home. GullyRumpus owner Linda Easton started the "Hatch@Home" program to expand her farm's flock by "sharing hatching duties with people in the community."

Northern California residents can hop on a waiting list to participate in the four-week program, which costs $175 and includes fertile eggs, an incubator, a video orientation and hatching guide, an egg candler, a brooder box, and plenty of organic chick feed and chick heater. Once the chicks hatch, participants can care for them until they rejoin Easton's flock, or they can keep the chicks to raise themselves. Sacramento reports that there are two different types of chicks on offer: Black Australorp chickens, a heritage breed that can be used for both meat and eggs, and Coturnix quail, which may be quieter than chickens and take up less space. The quail also lay lovely blue eggs, in case you're concerned with your incubator's aesthetic.

While the community hatching program is a surefire way for Easton to grow her farm, it's also a hands-on science experience for families with children."I used to be a teacher and would hatch chicks with my students every year," says Easton. "I saw the difference that it made for students to see that process of birth. It's an amazing, awe-inspiring thing to watch a chick struggle, maybe for hours, to hatch from its shell." Unfortunately, I'm not a candidate for this program because I live in Chicago and also have a beagle who screams at birds. But if you live in the Sacramento area, now's the time to get... cracking.