My class hatches and raises chickens. We incubated the eggs earlier this year, in November, at my request. I thought that it would be really cool if we kept the chickens long enough for them to lay eggs. So here we are in March and the hens should be laying anyday now.
Starting earlier than in prior years, came with a few hiccups. We had to incubate at home since the school gets so cold on the weekends and that makes it really hard to maintain temperature and humidity in the incubator. We had to build nesting boxes for the hens, which changed up some of the lessons we did in prior years with the chickens. We had to come up with a heat source for when they went outside. I subsequently spent lots of time worrying about catching the coops on fire. Then the chickens water froze and we had to come up with a way to keep the water warm. All of these hiccups provided great real world problem solving activities for the kids.
By far our biggest issues has been the issues of hens and roosters. It's pretty hard to tell if the chick is a hen or a rooster when they are young. We tried what seemed like a million different things to see if the chick was a hen or a rooster. We went by weight, size, comb/gobble development and we even tried to look at their wing feathers. The one thing we learned is that comb/gobble development and size are a pretty good criteria for determining who is a rooster. Anyway, as they develop roosters become more aggressive and eventually a little too interested in the hens 😉. So, we built a rooster hotel to keep the roosters seperate... we even had to have different "hotels" for different roosters. One rooster fight was enough for me! Anyway, last weekend some of the boys, that have been together since birth, began to pick on the smaller of their brothers. I knew it was time for us to adopt out our roosters. I placed an ad and have had interest from two different people about adopting our roosters. We have 9 roosters... so many to adopt out!
Today I meet with the first perspective adoptee - let's hope they want to take him! These roosters need to find a new home before they fight anymore.