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4-H Science Toolkits - Embryology

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chicksThe Embryology Project Kits provide an experiential learning opportunity for youth by providing materials needed to successfully hatch chicks. Groups and youth develop a personal connection to the food system through hands on learning. Youth learn life skills such as disease prevention, problem solving, keeping records, planning, and organizing. They can study the process of incubation, learn about the cycle of life, care for healthy and possibly unhealthy chicks, and work as a team to ensure the success of their project.

Planning to Participate

There are a limited number of incubator kits available from the University of Maine Cooperative Extension office. Participants will need to reserve their incubator ahead of time with office staff. Project participants will need to plan ahead in order to consider many factors that go into hatching chicks. Things to consider before the start of the project might include:

  • Typical incubation for chickens is 21 days and eggs require daily care.
  • Will someone be available for 21 consecutive days and, if not, how will that affect the outcome of the project?
  • Where will the eggs come from and where will the chicks go once they hatch?
  • Is the season or weather a factor?
  • How might youth react if there is not a good hatch rate or if chicks are not healthy when they hatch?
  • Where do eggs come from and why can’t you hatch eggs purchased at a typical grocery store?
  • What is the daily maintenance for eggs and for chicks?
  • What signs do you look for to determine overall health and growth of egg and chick?


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