Today, Beth – the knowledgeable educator from Casey Farm – spent the morning with us. Casey Farm (in Saunderstown, RI) was founded in 1702. On the farm’s 300 acres overlooking Narragansett Bay, organically grown vegetables, herbs, eggs, and flowers flourish, providing bounty for both local families and nearby farmers’ markets.
Beth arrived to our school with dozens of fertilized eggs, an incubator, warming lights, and lots of different kinds of bird eggs!
The PreK and Kindergarten students and teachers were able to see the eggs laid by swans, bluebirds, robins, grey catbirds, golden eagles, red-tailed hawks, loons, and even an emu egg! We enjoyed observing the eggs; some of us discovered that eggs are camouflaged to be either the same color as their nests or as their mothers. Beth also showed us a slide-show, during which we learned how to tell a (female) hen from a (male) rooster, what chickens eat, how Casey Farm protects chickens from predators, the best way to take care of chickens (free-range and cage-free!) and how to hold chicks (hold them close to the ground & gently!)
We also learned about the different stages and components of a chicken embryo, including the blastoderm and the egg tooth!
Beth then showed us the incubators into which we will place our eggs. There they will stay (round side up, pointy side down) for 21 days until they hatch. A hen’s body temperature is about 107 degrees, compared to our 98.7 degrees – and so our incubators will be as warm as a hen’s body. We will have both Rhode Island Red and Dominique chicks.
But the most wonderful surprise was still to come! Beth brought a Dominique hen to our school!
By tomorrow morning, our incubator will warm to 100 degrees and we will fill it with our eggs. And then the countdown will begin . . . and we can hardly wait!