Virtual Egg Hatch – Day #5

Today’s excitement- 

  • The reproductive organs begin to form.

  • The bones of the legs begin to form.

  • The crop begins to form.

The crop of the chicken is at the base if its esophagus, its like a little pocket that food is stored in until it moves into the stomach. After the chickens eat a bunch you can usually see it bulging out at the base of its neck. 

See you tomorrow! 


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Virtual Egg Incubation- Day #4

Here is the “zoomed out” version of what is going on today. 

Still using the MRI you can see the different layers of the egg. We still can’t see any difference in our eggs. We’ll be candeling them at day 7 or 8. Candeling is basically holding up a high powered flashlight up to the egg to see if they have started growing yet. I’ll be posting our own pictures then. 

Whats going on today? 

  • The somites extend to the tip of the tail.

  • The toes begin to form.

  • The allantois is visible coming off the hindgut.

A somite is part of the embryo that will eventually develop into the chickens’ vertebrae. 
The allantois is a sack like structure in the embryo that  will help it exchange gases and handle liquid waste.


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Virtual Egg Hatch = Day #3

Look at how much the circulatory system has developed since yesterday! 

This is what’s developing today. 

  • The head begins to turn onto its left side.

  • The tongue begins to form.

  • The amnion completely surrounds the embryo.

  • The tail has appeared.

  • Wing and leg buds are visible.

  • Soon other organs such as the liver, kidneys, and lungs will appear.

There pictures were taken by MRI through that Chickscope project I mentioned before. It’s so amazing to be able to see these changes so dramatically Be sure to email me if you have any questions, would like more in depth information, or if you would like links to any other websites for lesson plans, etc. Thanks for checking back in with us! 


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Virtual Egg Hatch – Day #2

Welcome back! Here is what is going on inside those eggs today. 

  • 25 hours: The heart begins to form.

  • 33 hours: The ears begin to form.

  • 42 hours: The heart starts to beat.

So in this picture you can see the darkest spot in the middle is the beginning of the embryo. There are the beginnings of the blood vessels surrounding the embryo. 

On our farm right now we have about 50 chickens. The majority are a breed called Leghorn, they are small white chickens that lay white eggs. They are flighty and skiddish, so they are not our favorite for visiting with our guests, but they are prolific egg layers, and we do like that. 



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Virtual Egg Hatch- Day #1

Welcome to our virtual egg hatch! I receive emails all the time asking if we have an egg hatching program, and we do, but many times the school is too far away from us or there is not money in the budget for the entire program. I hope this will be fun for kids (and adults) to watch the egg incubation process via our blog. I’ll be posting updates daily with information about what’s going on inside the eggs even if we can’t see anything yet. A couple times over the next 21 days I’ll candle the eggs so we can see the progress. And on day 21 or so I hope we can have pictures and videos of our new chicks hatching! 

First, a short explanation about the fertilization process happens. All our chickens live together in the pen and are allowed outside to search for grass, worms, bugs, etc during the day. There are boy chickens (roosters) and girl chickens (hens). The roosters fertilize the hens and the hens lay the eggs. Most of our eggs are fertile, but that doesn’t prevent them from being edible. Unless we are incubating them, like we started today, the eggs will get washed and placed into the refrigerator. This stops the development process and you would never be able to tell the difference between fertilized and non fertilized eggs. 

Here is the incubator we use, and the eggs  set in there for hatching. The eggs are placed in the automatic turner with the large side up. This is because an air cell will develop in the big side will which aid in development. 



The temperature should be between 99-100 degrees in the incubator. The humidity should be between 40-50%. There are channels below the eggs that get filled with water to keep the humidity up. There is a heater on the top of the incubator that is regulated with that metal piece on the top left of the incubator. 

The temp and humidity are regulated, and now we just wait! 

But there are changes going on in there already. The University of Illinois has an eggcelent website and education program called Chickscope. Here is what they say is going on in the first 24 hours- amazing huh? 

  • 18 hours: The alimentary tract appears.

  • 19 hours: The brain crease begins to form.

  • 20 hours: Somites appear.

  • 21 hours: The brain and nervous system begin to form.

  • 22 hours: The head fold begins to form.

  • 23 hours: Blood islands appear.

  • 24 hours: The eyes begin to form.

If you are looking for simple definitions and worksheets, here is a link to the Enchanted Learning page-
(On a side note I forgot how much I loved that website- I used to find all kinds of things for my kids to do there when they were little!!)

Ok, that’s all for today. Come back tomorrow for more updates, be sure to Like our Facebook page so you can get reminders to come back and see the progress. 









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Our New Aviary

We are so excited to have finally finished building our huge aviary right in the middle of our farm. We have moved our peacocks and ducks in here. The ducks are loving their new pond, click here to see a cute video on our Facebook page. 




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Cranberry Brie Bites

Cranberry Brie Bites
Makes 24 small bites

½ box frozen puffed pastry (one sheet)
½ lb Brie cheese
8 ounce jar Sakonnet Farm Cranberry Apple Relish

1. Thaw one puffed pastry sheet according to directions on package, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Roll out sheet on floured surface until aprox 12 inch square
3. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the sheets into approximately 2.5 inch x 2.5 inch squares. Press each square into a oiled mini muffin cavity.
4. Cube the cheese – about a 3/4 inch cube per muffin cup.
5. Place a cube of brie in the center of each puff pastry square. Top the brie with aprox 1 tsp Cranberry Apple Relish.
6. Bake about 10 minutes or until puff pastry corners are toasted lightly brown.
7. Let cool 5 minutes before serving


Cranberry Brie Bites, step one


Cranberry Brie Bites, step 2
We’ve also been putting little cubes of brie on crackers and warming in the microwave for about 15 seconds then topping with the relish. Much easier and still quite delish!


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Carrot Cake Bites

Carrot Cake Bites
Makes 24 desserts

½ box frozen puffed pastry
1 jar Sakonnet Farm Carrot Cake Jam
Cream Cheese Frosting (recipe follows)

Directions: 1. Thaw one puffed pastry sheet according to directions on package, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
2. Roll out sheet on floured surface until aprox 12 inch square
3. With a sharp knife or pizza cutter, cut the sheets into approximately 2.5 inch x 2.5 inch squares. Press each square into a oiled mini muffin cavity.
4. Fill each muffin tin with aproz 1 tsp Carrot Cake Jam
5. Bake for aprox 15 minutes or until puffed pastry corners are browned.
6. Remove from oven and let cool.
7. Top with aprox 1 tsp cream cheese frosting


Cream Cheese Frosting

4 ounces unsalted butter, softened
4 ounces cream cheese, softened
2 cups powdered sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

In a large bowl, beat together the butter and cream cheese with an electric mixer. With the mixer on low speed, add the powdered sugar a cup at a time until smooth and creamy. Beat in the vanilla extract.

Carrott Cake and Apple Pie Bites

The picture also shows little tarts made with our Apple Pie Jam. I topped it with whipped cream which did not hold up well at all. Maybe if you made your own whipped cream, or used cool whip, the end result might be prettier. They were still tasty!

I also had someone share with me that they used the Carrott Cake Jam on top of a cheesecake and that was very well recieved. The possibilities are endless! 🙂

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Hot Pepper Jelly Recipes

We love hot pepper jelly at our house, right out of the jar with cream cheese and crackers
. But sometimes you need to mix things up. I found two recipes on the Stonewall Kitchen website that I modified a bit and tested with our family and friends. Big Hit!! Please try them and then come back and tell me what you think, I’d love to hear your comments. If you have a great suggestion for eating hot pepper jelly, I’d love to hear that too!


Hot Pepper & Goat Cheese Mini Tarts
Makes 45 small tarts

4 ounces cream cheese
4 ounces goat cheese
8 ounce jar of Sakonnet Farm hot pepper jelly, your preferred heat level
3 boxes fillo shells (found in freezer section)

1. Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
2. Mix together goat & cream cheeses until smooth
3. Place frozen shells onto a baking sheet. Fill each shell with aprox ½ tsp cheese mixture
4. Bake in preheated oven for 5 minutes
5. Use the back of the spoon to flatten down the cheese.
6. Top with aprox ½ tsp hot pepper jelly
7. Bake for another 5 minutes or until filling is hot


hot pepper & goat cheese tarts

Savory Hot Pepper Spread

1 clove garlic, finely minced
1 small jalapeno, finely minced
1 8-ounce package of goat cheese, softened
1 3-ounce package of cream cheese, softened
1 4-ounce jar Hot Pepper Jelly, your choice of heat
2 Tablespoons each of basil, parsley and chives, finely chopped

In a medium size bowl combine garlic, jalapeno, goat cheese, cream cheese, hot pepper jelly and herbs. Mix until uniform.
Serve with your choice of crackers.

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All Natural Herbs to Help Repel Mosquitoes

We are excited that spring is finally here after a long and cold winter. But with spring & summer comes those annoying mosquitos and other bugs. I have been doing some reading about natural bug repellants, with four kids of my own I don’t like having to spray everyone down with chemicals every day before going outside.

I was able to find some exciting news about two plants we already grow at the farm – Catnip and Lemon Balm.

From, “Researchers report that nepetalactone, the essential oil in catnip that gives the plant its characteristic odor, is about ten times more effective at repelling mosquitoes than DEET — the compound used in most commercial insect repellents.” I also read that some farmers & scientists “made pellets of catnip oil, soy, and paraffin wax, and spread them in a cattle feedlot. Within minutes, the pellets shooed the flies away, with the repellent action lasting for about three hours. Pellets without catnip oil, in contrast, had no effect.”

It is suggested to crush the leaves in your hands and rub the oils on your skin to use an insect repellant. Of course, you would need to test a small area of your skin first to ensure you wouldn’t have an allergic reaction. And if you have cats, you’d better be prepared for the magnet effect catnip has!

A second plant that has also shown to be a good insect repellant is lemon balm.  I just love the lemony scent, that might be a bit more palatable to rub on my arms while I’m working outside. Some forms of lemon balm are high in a chemical compound called  citronellal, very similar to the well known citronella. This could also be crushed and rubbed onto exposed skin.

Other plants that have known mosquito repelling qualities are marigolds, basil- especially lemon basil and cinnamon basil, lavender, and Citronella grass. If you have space around your deck or patio, you might consider planting some of these herbs close by. The catnip and lemon balm are both members of the mint family and therefore will spread prolifically and come back year after year. They also both get to be quite large in one year, but can be easily cut back. Especially if you are using some as a “bug spray.” If you didn’t want to chance having your garden overtaken by these herbs, leave some in a pot near your favorite outdoor seating area. That way it would be convenient to move around with you. And if it does die over the winter, don’t worry you can come back to us for more. We do have both catnip and lemon balm in the ground and it is very happily spreading all over the bank where I originally planted it.


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