4-H Youth Development

2023 4-H Incubation and Embryology Program: Training & Egg Order



What is more fascinating than seeing a fully developed baby chick emerge from an egg? Just three weeks of incubation transforms a seemingly lifeless chicken egg into an active, living being. This interactive project through the University of Illinois Extension's 4-H program is designed to allow your students to hatch chicks in their classroom/learning environment. During the 21-day incubation period, students learn how to prepare eggs, set up an incubator, record progress, turn eggs, and test eggs for fertility. The project aligns with state learning standards.

  • 4-H provides training (online this year), classroom resources, and egg-ordering services so that educators can bring embryology to their classrooms.
  • Educators attend training, provide program equipment and supplies for their classroom, teach and oversee the program for their students, and provide participant information and program evaluation data to the 4-H program.

2023 Program/Registration Options:

  • Beginner Training: First-time teachers can attend one of two virtual training sessions: Wednesday, February 15, or Tuesday, March 7, from 4:30-6:30 p.m. Led by U of I Extension Poultry Specialist Dr. Ken Koelkebeck. 2 PDH may be earned. A Zoom link will be sent prior to the training. Cost: $35 includes training, access to training materials, and 4-H staff availability for questions.
  • Advanced Training: Refresher course for teachers that have attended the beginner training and have run the project in the past. Choice of two virtual trainings: Thursday, February 16, or  Wednesday, March 8, from 4:30-6 p.m. Led by U of I Extension Poultry Specialist Dr. Ken Koelkebeck. 1.5 PDH may be earned. A Zoom link will be sent prior to the training. Cost: $25 includes training, access to training materials, and 4-H staff availability for questions.
  • Fertile Egg Orders: This option is for teachers who have been trained recently and do not need training. Cost: $15 per dozen fertile eggs for the project, chick feed, access to training materials, and 4-H staff availability for questions. (Note: Our trainers recommend that educators doing the embryology project complete a beginner or advanced training once every five years to achieve continued success.)

Important dates for the 2023 program:

  • Training and fertile egg orders registration: Opens January 16, until February 10, 2023
  • Beginner training options: February 15 or March 7 - 4:30-6:30 p.m.
  • Advanced training options: February 16 or March 8 - 4:30-6 p.m.
  • Fertile egg pick up: Tuesday, April 11, 2023, Arlington Heights, Chicago, and Matteson
  • Hatch week: May 1-5
  • Chick Drop Off: May 5, 2023, at either Arlington Heights or Chicago Locations



General Program Notes:

  • Teachers must provide their own equipment to participate in this project.
  • We cannot guarantee the fertility of eggs (average 90% fertility rate)
  • We cannot guarantee the hatching success of eggs
  • Egg pick-up is scheduled for Tuesday, April 11 at the signup location you chose at the time of registration.
  • If you are requesting PDH hours, please provide your Illinois Educator's Identification Number (IEIN) at the time of registration.
  • Our trainers recommend that educators participating in the embryology project complete a beginner or advanced training once every five years to achieve continued success

Payment: Credit charges will be billed as 'University of Illinois' charges on your card statement. Checks must be received by March 1, 2023. If you are sending one check for multiple teachers participating in the program, please indicate the names registered in your correspondence.  Please mail payment to University of Illinois Extension, 8751 S. Greenwood Ave., Suites 112-122, Chicago, Illinois 60619. No refunds once an order is placed due to fertile egg supplier requirements.


Complete Registration: Please complete all of the registration questions. You also will receive an Illinois 4-H Program Group Enrollment form to fill out. Extension receives local, state, and federal funding and is therefore required to gather demographic data. Completion of this demographic information (for all youth who will benefit from the program) is required for egg pick-up. We appreciate you using raw numbers and not percentages as you complete the form.

At the program's conclusion, we will ask that you complete an evaluation to better serve you in the future.

Thank you for your participation in our program!


What is 4-H?

In 4-H, you learn by doing and you usually have a pretty great time while you're doing it! Want to know more about what your 4-H experience might look like?

  • Create and build things. Whether you're inspired by robots and drones or photography and recipe cards, our programs give you the tools and the opportunities to create, imagine, and build. 
  • Travel and see the world around you. In 4-H, you can travel across the state and around the world if that's what you're in to. Dream big and discover the world through our programs. 
  • Explore careers that interest you. In 4-H, career exploration is more than just reading about possible jobs, it involves rolling up your sleeves and trying it on for size. 
  • Make new friends. From clubs to camps to field trips, in 4-H you'll meet new people and experience new social and cultural events. It's pretty easy to form lasting friendships when they're based on shared interests and experiences. 
  • Teach and inspire kids. 4-H helps prepare youth for roles as leaders in their classrooms, communities, and future careers. We'll help you develop the skills you need to work with youth in your community and help them launch their own 4-H journey. 
  • Help others. A core aspect of 4-H is learning to serve with and for those around us. 4-H clubs create opportunities for members to find meaningful ways to impact the people and neighborhoods they live in. 
  • Meet cool people and earn cool prizes. Who wouldn't love the chance to meet and learn from some of the best athletes, actors, scientists, and artists in their fields? Our network of professional contacts is deep and wide - you never know who might show up at a 4-H event!

4-H is a place where you can find where you belong. It's where you decide what matters to you and learn about things that interest you. And, it's the place where you serve in the community where you live.

Ready to Take the Next Step?

Interested in learning more about 4-H but not sure where to start? Complete this interest survey to find the 4-H group that's just right for you. If you're already a member, you'll find everything you're looking for in the links below.

Opportunities to Get Involved with 4-H