Metcalfe County students incubating eggs for local farmer
EDMONTON, Ky. (AP) — Metcalfe County High School students in Lynn Hawkins’ agriculture class have been incubating chicken eggs for a local farmer.
“I try to do hands-on projects with my ag students,” Hawkins said, adding that this particular project came about when she was at Burkmann Feeds one Saturday morning.
“A man came up to me and said, ‘I see you looking at that incubator. Are you wanting to incubate some eggs?’
“I said, ‘Well, I thought it would be a good project for my students,’ and he said, ‘Well, I’ve got a bunch of eggs and I would love for you to do this for us.’”
Hawkins said the farmer brought 41 eggs to her classroom, and that her students placed them in an incubator.
“My ag kids have been responsible for it,” she said. “They come and check the temperature and the humidity. They placed the eggs in.
“I just kind of gave it to them. I said, ‘Here’s your thing. You do this.’”
Three weeks after her students placed the eggs in the incubator, they hatched 16 baby chickens.
“We gave the chicks back to the farmer that gave us the eggs and we’ve started a new bunch,” said Hawkins, who lives on a 1,500-acre farm with her husband. “So many kids are far removed from where their food comes from and animal husbandry, and so we’ve talked about good principles of taking care of an animal — whether it’s your pet or livestock — and humane treatment of them.
“We had some chicks that didn’t make it. We had two that died. And so they saw that and we disposed of that properly.”
Hawkins said some of her students did some independent research on chickens, and helped educate the other students with the information they found.
“The kids researched what (the chickens) would eat,” she said. “They know how the digestive system works and the life cycle.”
MCHS senior Madi Froedge said this project was her first time incubating eggs, and that her favorite activity during the process was candling the eggs.
“And that’s like taking a flashlight and holding it to the egg and seeing if the embryo is showing,” Froedge said, adding that this project was a great experience. “You get to see how things work.
“Something we learned recently is that if you pick the egg up, you have to put it back in there a certain way. Apparently, if you turn it over, the chick won’t hatch. I don’t know much about chicks because I’ve never raised them or anything, so this is my first go-around.”
Eli Walker, a sophomore at MCHS, said his favorite part about this project was seeing the baby chickens after they hatched.
“We learned different breeds and what they eat,” he said, adding that this project helps prepare students for the future, “if you want to hatch any.”
Hawkins said this egg incubation project included the entire school.
“The biology teacher brought every class over and did the candling activity,” she said. “So about 120 sophomores got to experience this. I teach senior English in the morning, so every one of my seniors came over and asked about what was going on with the eggs.
“We’ve really enjoyed it. It’s been a popular project.”
Hawkins said she really likes that this project has sparked student interest in agriculture. She said it was a slow process watching the eggs hatch, but it was very rewarding when they finally did.
“A watched chicken never hatches,” Hawkins said with a smile. “It’s been an exciting time for the kids and adults.”