Incubation and Embryology - University of Illinois

Increasing Our Knowledge - Grades 7-8

Things to Learn Things to Do
How poultry are hatched commercially
  • Visit a hatchery and see how birds are hatched commercially. If a hatchery is not available, read a pamphlet or book about one. Borrow slides from the Extension Office that show a commercial poultry operation.
  • Draw a chart comparing a commercial hatchery to how a hen cares for eggs.
  • Draw a map of Illinois showing where poultry is produced. Make a list of state and national hatcheries.
Study embryonic development
  • Break out fertile and infertile eggs and describe their differences.
  • Incubate fertile eggs and candle them each day. Break out one egg each day and preserve the embryo in a jar of alcohol.
  • Keep a record of your observations and compare them to embryo development charts.
  • Give a demonstration on preparing embryo sets.
Know incubation requirements
  • Write a list of requirements to consider when incubating eggs.
  • Draw a chart with incubation requirements for several species of poultry.
  • Give an incubation demonstration.
Know brooding requirements
  • Write a list of requirements to consider when brooding chicks.
  • Make a brooder box.
Feathering in growing birds
  • Observe feathering in growing chicks.
  • Discuss what down looks like and how new feathers come in.
  • Collect several types of feathers.
  • List several functions of feathers in birds.
  • Use feathers or "down" to make something useful.
Give a demonstration
  • Demonstrate how to prepare an incubator for eggs, build an incubator or candler, candle fertile and infertile eggs or prepare eggs in a recipe.
Record observations
  • Keep a journal, portfolio, or notebook on the life of an embryo and/or chick.
  • Write a short story describing development in embryos and young birds.
  • Prepare charts and graphs to show changes during incubation and to record the information requested in the 4-H Record pages.
Keep records
  • Use 4-H record to keep records of numbers of eggs set, broken-out and hatched.
  • Keep a record of chick mortality.
  • Keep a record of incubation and brooding temperatures. Keep a record of weather conditions and maximum and minimum temperatures for each day. Keep a record of any problems encountered during the incubation period.
  • Observe and record the changes which occur before, during and after hatch.
  • Compare these changes to other birds and mammals.
  • Prepare a report--journal, diary, portfolio of records kept during incubation and after hatching.


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