Friday, April 25, 2014

Chickens in the Classroom

Last year, we participated in Chickens in the Classroom, through our local 4-H office.  We went to the office and picked up a dozen eggs that had already been candled (back-lit to make sure there was a growing baby chicken inside).
We had to set up the homemade incubator, fill the pan under the shelf with water....
make sure the "thermostat" was adjusted to keep the eggs warm.

Wyatt took care of them.  He sprayed them with water to keep them moist, and turned them over multiple times, everyday.  We put X marks on the eggs, so he could tell when he turned them over.  You can see when the little chicks started making peck marks as they began to make their way out of the eggs.

Hatching chicks was pretty fun, especially seeing the little chicks make their way out of the shell... then going from wet, weak, scrawny birds to cute, fluffy, little chicks.

The part and both liked and didn't like about this project is that the birds are all Cornish Cross Chickens, which means they are meat birds. They grow very big, very fast.  If you don't butcher them in a timely manner, their legs can break.  They get scary big!  And I don't enjoy the butchering and packaging.  They are good eating.  I very much enjoy eating chickens that I know how they've been raised.  Ellie refuses to eat them, because she fell in love with them when they looked like this: