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Thursday, August 21, 2014

Homeschool Science: The Birth of a Chicken

I know to all those who live on a farm, this is nothing new. In fact, it's probably not even anything new for those who have their own backyard chicken coops. But, for this Class A City Girl it was an amazing experience.

My kids and I visited The Farm up in Door County yesterday. While we were there, we got to witness the miracle of life: We watched a chicken hatch out of a shell. Well, ok, we mostly saw it happen.  We stood there watching it peck away at the shell for about an hour or more and then decided to take a walk and come back to see if any progress was made. We came back, and it was still pecking away. So, my kids scattered.

Guess what happened next?  You guessed it! That's when the chicken broke through and was hatched. We missed the actually bursting forth. But, we watched most of the progress. It was amazing!

The new baby chickens were in an incubator, so it was rather hot to stand there and watch. But, it was so cool.

We didn't realize how much work it is for a chicken to peck through the egg shell. We only have experience with the eggs that are not fertilized and have no baby chicks inside. These eggs are so easy to crack.

But, when there's a baby chick inside, the lining is so thick that it's tough to peck through from the inside out. It looked almost like a hard boiled egg white but contained life inside.

After the chicken breaks free, it flops around and looks rather wet and helpless. It almost looks as if the chicken is not going to make it.

But, then after several minutes, the chicken is up on its two feet and hopping around. It begins to eat part of the egg shell that provided life to it for the past 20 days.

At times, it almost seemed as if the older chickens who had just hatched earlier that day, were acting as a sort of midwife. They would come over and sit on the hatching egg or peck to help the chicken inside get out, or bump into the egg and turn it, cracking it slightly.

After several more minutes, the chicken looks less wet and more adorable with fluffy feathers.

The newest chick almost completely hatched is in the center of the picture, laying on its back. There is another one trying to hatch toward the bottom center of the picture.

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