Cole County

School Enrichment

Hatching Chicks in the Classroom

Photo: Preschool child watches chicken eggs hatching in an incubator

Preschool student watches chicks hatching.

An incubation and embryology program for Cole County educators (including schools and day care facilities) that is available March through May. If you are from another county and are interested in participating in this program, you will need to contact the Cole County MU Extension Office for availability.

The program includes curriculum targeted for preschool through first grade, second through fifth grade, and middle school through high school. We have added experiments for all ages, a Jeopardy-type game created in Microsoft PowerPoint, and much more. All materials are delivered on a flash drive to make it easy for teachers!

Eggs are supplied by our 4-H members and are a variety of breeds from exotics to fryers. Hatched chicks are yours to keep or you may return to us for 4-H members to increase and improve their flocks.

If interested, there is an option of a three-week study program. This program is great for middle and high school science classes. See the Three-Week Study Program Checklist (PDF) to learn more.

Steps to sign up:

  1. Select your date (March 9-May 15)
    • 1-week program ($25 per incubator - includes incubator, supplies, flash drive with all teaching materials and 1 dozen pre-incubated fertilized eggs). Sign up here.
    • 3-week program ($25 per incubator - includes incubator, supplies, flash drive with all teaching materials and 2 dozen eggs). Please contact the the Cole County Extension Center for more information and to schedule the incubator. To sign up, email [email protected].
  2. Return the Reservation form, Credit Card Authorization form and School Enrichment form (PDF)
  3. Join the private Facebook page just for those signed up for this program. Share your tips, successes and frustrations.
  4. Mark your calendar to have someone pick up incubator between 1pm and 5pm on Monday for the week you selected.
  5. Mark your calendar to return the clean incubator and supplies between 1pm and 5pm on Friday of the week you selected (for 1 week incubators).

Program forms & resources

Troubleshooting Tips:

  • Early Hatching - Temperature is too high
  • Late Hatching - Temperature is too low
  • Fully Developed, pipped, died - Humidity too low, poor ventilation
  • Fully Developed, no pip, died - Humidity too high (drowned), poor ventilation
  • Open Navels, bleeding - Temperatures too high
  • Staggered Hatch - Hot and cool spots in the incubator
  • Chicks stuck to shells- Temperature too high, humidity too low, incubator opened too often, incubator located in a drafty area
  • Crippled chicks - Temperatures too high, humidity too low
  • Weak or small chicks - Temperatures too high, humidity too low, poor ventilation

Contact us