GROWING A SCHOOL GARDEN: HATCHING CHICKENS

An optional activity during our Animals 2×2 unit is hatching eggs.  I had done it a few times in years past when a parent had purchased the eggs and brought in the incubator, but I had never done it on my own.

red first egg

Red with her first egg.

During the last school year one of my teammates wanted to hatch eggs, so I decided to do it with her.  The district provides the eggs, and incubator, and take the chicks to a local farm after they have hatched.

Just before the chicken eggs arrived, I found 4 abandoned quail eggs mixed in a bag wood shavings at our house.  So I threw them in the incubator thinking nothing would come from it.

quail eggs

We’ll it worked! These adorable babies went to Liberty Wildlife to be cared for.  The kids were amazed and learned so much from the process.

Meanwhile, the chicken eggs were coming along nicely.  We’d had candled them and it seemed that about eight of the twelve might be viable.

We read this book old school book every few days on the development of the chick inside the egg to help us understand how the embryos were changing and developing as we counted the days.  I think I got it a few years ago at our annual used book sale.  I have to skip the first few pages because it goes into detail about how the eggs are fertilized by the rooster.

 

Alas, our chicken eggs didn’t hatch.  We were disappointed and so I ran up to the feed store and picked out two cute little chicks that I thought we would eventually add to our flock at home.  They are not so little anymore!

IMG_9736

The one on the left is a Russian Orlaff and the right is an Americana.  The Orlaff is getting her beard in and the Americana will eventually lay green tinted eggs.

We used a large plastic storage container with wood shavings as a brooder for the first 3 weeks in the classroom, then clamped on a heat lamp.  We didn’t need a lid until the 3rd week when their wings got strong.  Luckily, we had a mesh wire lid that we had made from a previous experience with chicks, so I was able to use that again.   At the time I didn’t take any pictures, but here it is in storage.

brooker

The kids loved having the chicks up close and personal in the classroom!  It was a center where the students observed and wrote about their development and needs.  I wish I had taken photos, but at the time was too busy.  Next year.

Now that summer is here they hang out in the chicken tractor my son and I made, but in the big coop at home.  We want them exposed to the big chickens, but separated for a few weeks so that they don’t get pecked.  Red is not ready to share her space!

Next week we’ll talk about aquaponics systems as part of a school garden.

Love,

Jenni

garden 1

 

 

 

 

 

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