Students learn about hatching chickens

Published 9:30 am Saturday, April 28, 2012

Students at Halverson Elementary School learn about hatching chicks.

Students at Halverson Elementary School learn about hatching chicks.

As school is winding down for the year, so are the after-school programs at the elementary schools. Freeborn County 4-H partners with different schools and other youth organizations around the county to offer 4-H programming during the after-school time. This spring they wanted to try something new at Halverson Elementary School with hatching chickens. A grant was applied for and received to obtain incubators, brooders and other needed equipment for a 4-H embryology project. Kris Shanahan, a teacher at Halverson, agreed to have the incubator and work with 4-H to hatch the chicks.

The first- and second-grade students at Halverson got a hands-on experience with the whole project that included watching the eggs incubate for 21 days and then learning what to do with them once they hatched. Just like other experiences in life, sometimes things don’t work out as well as they want them to and this group sure found that out. Out of the 23 eggs that were incubating, they only ended up getting seven live chicks. Many factors go into this, which was taught to those students. Maybe the temperature wasn’t quite right, maybe the eggs weren’t actually fertilized, were the eggs picked from the hen right away? Not only did they go over these favorable factors for hatching chicks, but the students got to see the chick developing inside the egg by use of an instrument called a candler.

Students at Halverson Elementary School learn about hatching chicks.

The students learned that eggs from the grocery store should never have any chicks in them and you cannot take an egg that has been in the grocery store, put it in an incubator and have a baby chick. Even though they only got seven chicks out of 23 eggs, those chicks sure had a lot of attention. Not only do the students get excited for babies but other teachers and adults do too!

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But they still never answered the big question: What comes first, the chicken or the egg?