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A newly hatched chick being held by a WHS student. (Kaleb Carey, Editor)
A newly hatched chick being held by a WHS student.

Kaleb Carey, Editor

Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They’ve Hatched

February 12, 2020

Newly hatched chickens in their brooder.

Everyone has taken biology at one point or will be taking it in the future. One of the biggest labs in many people’s biology classes were dissections. Some may even have had class pets that required care and provided opportunities to learn more about that species and life in general. However, one especially unique lab is hatching and brooding chickens.

This year, some of WHS’s own biology classes are hatching chickens. Set up in the school vivarium are several incubators, full of fresh, fertilized eggs from one of the math teachers, Mr. Jack Kilgore. He has plenty of experience with chickens himself and was careful in selecting the breeds. “The breed of the chicken determines their temperament,” he said, describing how some breeds can be very reactive to him entering the coop, while other breeds “You have to practically move them out of the way.” The breeds used in this lab are Barred Rock, Rhode Island Red, and Buff Orpington, all relatively mild-mannered chickens.

One of the teachers leading the lab is biology teacher, Mr. Matthew Citron. When asked about the goal of the lab he said, “We wanted to see how the phenotypes of the different chickens would result in hybrid offspring. We also wanted to have a practical example of things students normally only learn from textbooks.”

Students were able to see the chickens developing in the eggs, through candling, or holding the egg up to a light. They’ve been able to watch some of the chickens hatch and will be able to see them develop even further.

 

 

As for the future? Mr. Kilgore said that they hoped to hatch another batch of chickens before the end of the year, and he’s already started to get ready for it. Mr. Russel, another biology teacher, said, “Eventually, we’d like to do this with things that are endangered in Ohio [such as] bobwhite quail or pheasants.”

Did you ever do anything like this in school? Any memorable experiences with raising a less conventional animal? Let us know in the comments below.

2 Comments

2 Responses to “Don’t Count Your Chickens Before They’ve Hatched”

  1. Rosario Nail on February 13th, 2020 10:03 am

    Great piece and I love that the kids get “hands on” lab experiences. Very cool. We sure didn’t have anything like this when I was in school. 🙂 WHS class of ’70.

  2. Josh Perry on February 18th, 2020 11:59 am

    Citron and Kilgore are always coming up with great ideas! This sounds fun!

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