Here Come the Chicks!

4-H Embryology in the Classroom

Students in classroom with cracked eggs discussing how they form to become chicks
Students in the 4-H Military Day camp cracked store bought eggs to use to identify the parts of the egg and understand how the chicks form before hatching.

Here come the chicks!  Every spring northern and central Delaware classrooms eagerly await the arrival of the Embryology project. 4-H Embryology in the Classroom is provided in Kent and New Castle Counties.  Youth in these two counties, which includes more than 5,300 students in over 65 schools, are observing and experiencing the miracle of life.

The fertilized eggs arrive in classrooms on Monday with the expectation of hatching on Wednesday.  Sometimes the chicks arrive early on Tuesday and occasionally even Monday afternoon.  Each classroom receives an assortment of six chicken varieties:  Araucana, Blue Hen, White Crested Black Polish, Barred Plymouth Rock, Rhode Island Red, and White Leghorn.  The eggs range in colors too, from bright white to buff to green/blue in a variety of sizes.A girl holding a baby chick with anohter student (boy) sitting next to her

Students looking into a brooder box with baby chicks Students observe the eggs through piping (pecking through the egg shell) watching as the chick makes the first hole in the egg shell all the way to full emergence from the egg.  After the chicks hatch, the students watch as the chicks fluff, then move them to the prepared brooder box where they feed, water, and care for the newly hatched chicks.  On Friday, the chicks are picked up by our extension staff and taken to local farms.Two 4th grade girls holding baby chicks