Chicks for Schools?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by AtticusMama, Jun 14, 2016.

  1. AtticusMama

    AtticusMama New Egg

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    Jun 14, 2016
    Hi!

    Has anyone had any experience hatching and raising chicks for a school observation? The students who would be observing and caring for the chicks are freshmen biology students and the chicks would remain at the school throughout the entire school year. At the end of the school year, they would be sold to families as a way to raise money for the school, and new eggs would be bought for the next school year.

    Some concerns are:
    1) I'm not super familiar with how long it take for chickens to fully mature - how long do the baby chicks need to stay in an incubator after hatching?
    2) How soon would they be able to live outside in a coop?
    3) Texas winters are fairly mild, but would they be okay outside during the winter?

    If anyone has had any positive or negative experiences raising chickens for the classroom, I'd really appreciate your input!

    Thanks so much! :)
     
  2. trailrider330

    trailrider330 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  3. AtticusMama

    AtticusMama New Egg

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    Thank you so much! I'll definitely read up on the Learning Center!
     
  4. LRH97

    LRH97 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Welcome to BYC! I agree with trailrider330. Hatching chicks is a great school project! An entire school year seems a bit long to keep them though, unless of course your school wants to have a chicken coop outside. Keep in mind that once they start getting their feathers they will be able to hop higher off the ground and will probably be wanting to roost on things (like the tops of waterers and edges of the brooder if they're low enough). If you keep them that long, make sure your brooder has something over the top. Wouldn't want a Biology class spent chasing escapee chicks. [​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Jun 14, 2016
  5. dekel18042

    dekel18042 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    If you're hatching them yourselves, some things to think of. If you keep them for the entire school year you would probably be selling pullets that have started to lay (That can be good) as many pullets start laying at the six month mark. I've had them start laying anywhere from 4 months to 8+ months.You might want to look into what breeds are preferred in your area and try to hatch those as they are more salable
    You can expect half of your hatchlings to be cockerels (OK, cockerels can account for anywhere from0 - 100% of a hatch. I've had both extremes.) Most people would not want any/many cockerels if they are sexable by the time you sell them.
    And if you go for meat or dual purpose birds, they would already be past the time someone might want to process them.
    Of course you could go with sex links or a breed that can be visibly sexed at hatch and sell them younger. Just one of the things to think about in such a project.
    Usually the 4-H kids who raise chickens sell them young, sometimes small quantities when older.
    Some schools just hatch then make an arrangement for the person who provided the eggs to take the chicks back.
    The one negative I see is being stuck with a batch of cockerels.
     
  6. AtticusMama

    AtticusMama New Egg

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    Oh, haha we'll definitely want to prevent escaping chicks! :)

    I hadn't even thought about the gender issue. Is it fairly reliable buying sexed eggs? As for the business taking the chicks back, what happens to the chicks? (I don't think the students would be pleased having "their" chickens killed...)
     
  7. a704

    a704 Out Of The Brooder

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    When I was young my school kept 3 chicks for 10 weeks before giving them away, it can be done with enough effort
     
  8. jennyf

    jennyf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    Don't think there is any such thing as sexed eggs, although there is supposed to be some developing technology--someday! I agree, might be a good idea to buy eggs from an autosexing breed (one where you can tell sex at hatch by color). That way at least if you end up with a bunch of cockerels at least you know and can make arrangements. Prob not going to be able to sell them, though--not much demand. They'd also need a coop built if they want to keep them the whole year. Say a month to plan and set up incubator, a month to hatch, then those chicks are going to need to be outside in a coop anywhere from a month to two months old. They are definitely little chickens at 2 months old! :)
     
  9. AtticusMama

    AtticusMama New Egg

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    Auto sexed chicks sound like a great idea! What is typically done with cockerels? The school wouldn't want to keep them, and I'm not sure if we could find a family who'd want them....are they used for meat or something?

    Also wasn't aware that they matured that quickly....they don't start laying eggs until later, correct? (sorry for all the questions)
     
  10. jennyf

    jennyf Chillin' With My Peeps

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    From my research (trying to have a plan in case one of my supposed pullets ended up a roo), it sounds like most unwanted cockerels end up eaten. Since one rooster can, um, service 10-20 hens and multiples can fight, most people don't need many and they aren't allowed in many urban/suburban areas anyway. You might be able to find a farm home, especially if you get an unusual or more desirable breed and start working on it ahead of time. Sounds like there are people who look for craigslist free roosters to feed to snakes and such--you could likely screen out for those with a couple of questions. Not sure how squeamish your students are about where they end up, but you could also process cockerels or look for a local processor who would do them. You could definitely sell nice chickens for dinner! :)
     

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