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Classroom project - hatching eggs. Noooooooooooo!!!

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by swordgeek, Aug 31, 2010.

  1. swordgeek

    swordgeek Chirping

    Jun 23, 2010
    Westford, MA
    I'm so steamed, I just have to vent. Not even sure if this is the right forum for this, but here it goes.

    I just got a call from my daughter's best friend, who is 10. She said her new teacher is planning to hatch chicks in class this year as a learning tool. And... would I be interested in taking the chicks once they're hatched? No, sorry, honey, I can't take them on - I have enough chickens as it is. (Well, not really, but I hand-select my birds, thank you very much, and I just got 5 new ones I didn't really need...) And the chances of getting some roosters in that batch of chicks is pretty strong, and think about how much trouble we already have with only ONE rooster! (She's terrified of him, and he's a sweetheart.)

    Anyway, I was dumbfounded. I can't believe this is still going on in our schools. It's not like I live in a town that's farm-heavy, and those of us with BYC are few and far between, and people still look at us kinda warily. I told her to ask the teacher what her plans for the babies will be if they can't find someone to take them once their project is over. My guess is, she hasn't got one.

    Am I overstepping the bounds as a parent if I contact the teacher and mention my concerns? I have no problem with this project if it's handled responsibly - i.e., care is in place throughout the duration of the "project", AND arrangements are made IN ADVANCE about re-homing the birds, even the roosters. Which don't stay cute and incubator-sized for long, as I've found. It's not even my own kid's class, but I'm really worried about the lesson it teaches.

    A few months ago, my kids and I - and this friend - visited an area MSPCA farm to see about adopting some birds.They had an educational program going on that day, including information about what happens to so many of these poor "classroom project" chicks. Maybe I should point the teacher to that just as a heads-up? I'm torn. I think the idea of watching the progress from egg to chick will be fascinating to the kids, but... but... I worry that they're not thinking it through. Can't hurt to ask, right?

    Or do I just shut up and assume the educational system has worked out all its kinks? (How's that working out so far? [​IMG])

  2. PunkinPeep

    PunkinPeep Songster

    Mar 31, 2009
    SouthEast Texas
    I think that the teacher doing this classroom project is wonderful. I never got to see that sort of thing when i was a kid.

    My initial thought is that you have no idea how it came to be that the teacher wants to know if you want these chicks when they're raised up. It might have been the student's idea in the first place. I think you're assuming a lot.

    I appreciate your concern, but at the same time i think it's really wonderful and important that teachers introduce children to things like this.

    Even if she hasn't planned for their whole lives (which we don't know), this teacher is taking a step in the right direction.

    Maybe you could just give her a call and tell her what the child told you and ask if she needs help finding a place for the the chickens to go when they outgrow their classroom brooder.

    She may already have it all worked out.

    If a teacher in my area asked if i wanted to take chicks in a similar situation, i would be very happy to help them find a home - even if i didn't take them myself - just because i'm happy that the teacher is introducing the children to these experiences and concepts.
  3. silkiechicken

    silkiechicken Staff PhD Premium Member

    I think more teachers need do do classroom hatching projects... so few do them that most end up failing. I have gone and helped teachers hatch in their classrooms in Seattle where student play grounds were fenced in cement play structures, with many who have never seen a chicken. Most of the time I end up bringing in chicks and doing a show and tell.

    As far as I know, it is the teacher who instigates and brings this knowledge of life to the classroom, they are not really supported by the school and spend their own money on materials, at least in the Seattle schools I was at.

    If this teacher is looking for someone to take the chicks after the project without having chicks in hand, they are very well on the way to doing it right! Just eat the roosters and explain to the kids that is where some meat comes from. We don't have to keep kids distanced from reality.
  4. LizGled628

    LizGled628 Chirping

    Jun 13, 2010
    Rhode Island
    I completely agree with PunkinPeep. What a wonderful lesson for these kids to be learning! Not only is it teaching them about the cycle of life, but also about responsibility and what it means to take care of another living thing.

    I would hope that any responsible adult would have already worked out a home for the chicks before telling her students about the new project. But I do think it's a great idea to help her find some homes...you did say that their aren't a lot of backyard flocks in your town. What a great chance to show the parents how easy and rewarding it could be to start their own flock! And you sound like someone who would be able to do a wonderful job in showing them the way [​IMG]

    Good Luck!
  5. dsqard

    dsqard Crazy "L" Farms

    Jun 11, 2010
    York PA
    I'd have to say that I lean more in swordgeek's direction. I think being responsible about what is going to happen with the chicks after they are ready to leave the brooder is important. If we are going to bring an animal into this world (wether it be a chicken, dog, cat etc) it shouldn't just be on a whim. I am not saying a grand life scheme for the entire life of the animal, but I think it would be irrational to hatch chicks if you have no plan about where they are going to live. Maybe the teacher is searching for where they wind up before she starts the project. I think a friendly call to the teacher with an offer to help find their permanent home is a good idea. Responisibility for what happens to them after they hatch is also an important lesson for the kids. IMHO
  6. MrsChickendad

    MrsChickendad Songster

    Jun 18, 2008
    Lennon, Michigan
    I supplied the hatching eggs for a classroom this year and made sure they were all ones I would have hatched anyway. Then I took the babies back after a week. The kids got to see and handle the chicks, my chicks were "tamed" and they have been the friendliest ones I had this year. Win-win situation for everyone.
    1 person likes this.
  7. theFox

    theFox Songster

    Sep 21, 2009
    Standish, Maine
    Swordgeek and dsqard,

    From the OP's post it looks like the teacher is having her student try to find a home for the chicks in the eventual case of actually hatching them.

    Swordgeek, talk to the teacher and ascertain exactly what is going on, do not preach to the teacher as you have a child's interpretation of what the teacher is trying to do.

    You could easily wind up with egg on your face and apologizing to the teacher.

  8. greenfamilyfarms

    greenfamilyfarms Big Pippin'

    Feb 27, 2008
    Elizabethtown, NC
    Hatching eggs in the classroom is a wonderful experience for any grade level - especially for science or agricultural studies. It is something that will stay with the students for a long time down the road and may even help them when they enter college.

    I see it as a good thing that the teacher is asking around BEFORE the class hatches the chicks in order to find them a good home. I would much rather they be used for educational purposes that will last for years to come than to see the kids doing busy/book work on the same topic. Hands-on and inquiry-based subjects such as this sparks their curosity! For older students, she could even have them predict what would happen if the temp and humidity was lowered or raised or test the hatchability of eggs placed in different situations before incubated (refridgerated, high heat, dropped, old vs. fresh, etc.) The possibilities of this is endless.
  9. caralynnp

    caralynnp In the Brooder

    Jul 21, 2010
    We did a hatching project in my 8th grade science class. None hatched. Now that I (kind-of) know how it is done I know that we did it completely wrong. Not a bad idea to talk to the teacher.
  10. they'reHISchickens

    they'reHISchickens Songster

    Oct 31, 2008
    IN our county, this project is presented as a 4H Embryology project. The local 4H Extension agent who provides the eggs AND incubators AND lesson plans already has a home for those chicks that can't find homes. It's just that the kids in the classroom are given first chance at them.
    My problem? The eggs are psycho leghorns! We got some of oldest grandson's class hatch. 5 roos, 1 hen. We told him first thing: any roos are soup.
    I'd love to offer some eggs to the local project and likely will when the grandkids again get to that grade level. It's part of the lesson to have the kids find homes because that makes them understand what is entailed with housing mature chickens.

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