Success Story2023 Chick Incubation



2023 Chick Incubation

Author: Dawna Peters

Planning Unit: Leslie County CES

Major Program: Agriculture

Plan of Work: Science, Engineering and Technology becoming meaningful in the lives of Youth

Outcome: Intermediate Outcome

2023 Chick Incubation was offered to 3rd grade classes and the FMD class at Leslie County High School.  FMD stands for Functional Mental Disability classroom. It is important to Leslie County 4-H to keep our FMD youth involved. Leslie County has 4 grade schools and 1 high school which targeted 8 individual classrooms. An estimated 150 youth participated in this project. We visited classrooms each week to provide a new lesson.

Chick Incubation is a 21-day process and requires fertilized chicken eggs, an egg incubator to help control temperature, humidity and egg turning. The incubator replicates the mother hen’s environment with a warm moist environment for the rest of the gestation period for the chick. Chick Incubation is a excellent way to teach youth about nature, responsibility, science, caring from animals and life cycles

Youth learned about embryology, habitats, parts of an egg, egg nutrition, different types of breeds, the process of incubation/important factors for incubating successfully, how to care for the eggs inside incubators, hatching predictions using the candling method and how to care for the chicks after hatching. 

The first week youth learned how the incubators operated, how to maintain them and they watched Mr. Garry and I carefully place each egg inside. The incubator is often referred to as Mother Hen or The Nest. Each child is provided with a coloring sheet that has 20 eggs and a cupcake for the final day, hatch day! Each day youth color an egg and to help count down the 21 day process. The second week we provided a healthy egg cup sample with the recipe to each child. They learned each part of the egg and all about an eggs nutritional value. Along with this lesson we provide a paper egg that has been folded and has each part of the egg labeled.

 Our final week we candled the eggs and made predictions on how many eggs would hatch. The chicks hatched during the first week of April.  Once chicks hatched, they were brought back to Leslie County Extension where they waited for their new homes. Youth who had established flocks at home were gave the option to adopt the baby chicks. The rest were sold as a 4-H Fundraiser!

This has become a favorite project over the years, and we hope to keep the excitement going! Teachers and other school staff always look forward to Chick Incubation. Other classrooms make sure to visit the baby chicks before they leave. 3rd grade teacher Nikki Roberts has done Chick Incubation with 4-H for many years. She says, “I look forward to the chick incubation project every year! My students are always so intrigued and engaged in the process. They love learning about the chick life cycle and taking responsibility for checking the incubator each day. Once they hatch, we always enjoy watching how they interact and reading them a story before they go to their new homes.”






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