Dream hatcher

Sophomore fulfills lifelong wish by hatching chickens

Above+is+the+first+of+Lopez%27s+nine+chicks+to+hatch.

Lauren Lopez

Above is the first of Lopez’s nine chicks to hatch.

Kate Denning, Staff Reporter

The tapping began at three in the morning. But she had been preparing for this moment, so she was ready to welcome the new arrivals.

Sophomore Lauren Lopez has been surrounded by animals since before she can remember. Her earliest memories include going to farms on the weekends as a child and helping out with various creatures. Now, as part of the FFA, animals have become a part of her daily routine. The most recent addition to her farm-animal family are chickens, who hatched this past weekend.

“[Animals have been in my life] ever since I could remember,” Lopez said. “I used to go to a farm every weekend and take care of rabbits, and chickens, and all these different types of reptiles and arachnids. So I would say I’ve been surrounded by animals since I was at least five.”

When Lopez suggested raising chickens, her family was not excited at first. But they gave in this year for Lopez’s 16th birthday.

“My family was not very supportive at first,” Lopez said. “They did not want chickens. But I’ve wanted to raise chickens forever so since I was turning 16 this year, that’s what they gave me for my birthday: an incubator and some fertilized [eggs].”

The new additions to her family came with an opportunity to revisit her love of taking care of animals. However, Lopez needed some help getting started, so she reached out to Agriculture teacher, Jaqueline Cole, for some advice.

“I’ve never done this before, so I was just so thankful for my teacher, Ms. Cole, who walked me through the entire process,” Lopez said. “She’s amazing and her communication is great. I am super lucky to have her.”

After getting help from her teacher, Lopez was ready to begin raising her new chickens. She said that there are three main things to consider when starting this process.

“You have to make sure the incubator is 100 degrees so that they can grow,” Lopez said. “And a lot of people don’t know this, but you have to fill up little troughs of water because they need to be hydrated. You also need to turn them at least five times a day. That process made 9 of the 12 hatch. Those are the most important things: hydrating, turning them, and the temperature.”

This past weekend, Lopez’s hard work paid off when her chickens hatched. She said that her introduction to them was filled with uncertainty when their beaks poked through their shells at 3 a.m. and she debated over whether or not it was her chicks or just another bird outside.

“The night that they hatched I thought that they weren’t hatching,” Lopez said. “I thought it was the birds from outside. And so I come out, and it’s like three in the morning, and I wake up and see all their little beaks popping out, and you can hear all their noises.”

But hatching chickens is just the start for Lopez. She said that she hopes to improve her skills in agriculture to one day have a job within that industry.

“I’ve always wanted to do something with agriculture,” Lopez said. “Having a farm of my own would be a dream come true, so that’s the plan.”

Lopez said she feels very proud of her recent accomplishment in an area she’s passionate about. She is happy to have fulfilled a long-held wish and to have nine new additions to her family.

“I am definitely proud of myself and proud of [the chickens],” Lopez said. “And it definitely was one of my biggest accomplishments this year, so I’m very proud.”