'Kick back and watch': Sask. farmer offers chick-hatching experience

Cindy Dahlen lives on a farm just south of Saskatoon and about two years ago earned a new nickname – the Chicken Lady.

Dahlen began raising chickens on her farm after she wanted farm fresh eggs and five birds turned into dozens.

“We call it Chicken Math, where you take more chickens, but you can't get rid of chickens, so now I'm up to about 80-some birds,” she said.

Now Dahlen has started offering what she calls the “Chick Hatching Experience.”

“I provide all the equipment; the the incubator, the egg turner, the cage, the heat lamp, the feeders, the food, the shavings, and of course the eggs to incubate,” she said.

“Just kick back and watch.”

Dahlen says the incubating period takes about 21 days, and then five days for a complete hatch. People then have two weeks with the chicks until they need to be returned to the farm.

“I figured it would be a nice opportunity for them to experience it, and raise them, and take care of baby animals and enjoy it,” she said.

The National Farm Animal Care Council requires that hatching eggs must be transported, handled, stored, and incubated in ways that promote health embryos. Live chicks must be removed from hatch residue and be kept, treated, and handled in ways that prevent injury and minimize stress.

Dahlen says she provides people instructions on the incubation and hatching process and a care list to ensure the health and safety of the chicks,

“It's more interactive once the chicks hatch and stuff like that that they get to experience the joy of raising baby chicks,” she said.

The City of Saskatoon’s animal control bylaw prohibits keeping chickens within the city.