Classroom chick hatching projects are old news!
While on the surface, live animal projects might seem like perfect hands-on learning opportunities, the reality is that there are many drawbacks. Not only is raising chickens in a classroom expensive, time consuming, and messy, but it also leaves the teacher needing to find suitable and permanent placement for the resulting birds.
The MSPCA at Nevins Farm receives dozens of calls each year from parents and teachers looking to surrender these chicks, because most working farms will not take them (and those that do will rarely accept roosters.) Simply killing the chicks promotes the idea that these animals are disposable, useful only for the duration of the project. In a country with millions of homeless animals, what we should be teaching children is the importance of commitment and responsibility, particularly for animals we actively bring into the world.
And sadly, even in the most responsible classrooms, incubator malfunctions can result in dead or deformed chicks. And others may grow sick because their exacting needs for heat, humidity, and egg rotation are rarely met during or after hatching.
Luckily, there are great (and humane!) alternatives to traditional school hatching projects.
The MSPCA at Nevins Farm is thrilled to introduce its “Pledge NOT to Hatch” campaign, launched in February 2011. By offering free humane alternative “Starter Kits” to schools who take the pledge NOT to conduct classroom chick hatching, the MSPCA hopes to increase awareness of the negative impact this project has on chickens as well as students. These kits include several children’s books, a set of 21 egg models representing the embryonic stages of chick development, a copy of United Poultry Concern’s “Hatching Good Lessons” curriculum planning guide, and special badge pins for each student.
As an added incentive, the MSPCA will offer classroom visits to schools who sign the pledge, to teach students about the mission of the MSPCA and the special needs of chickens as pets. When available, a chicken awaiting adoption at Nevins Farm may accompany the staff!
To learn more about this campaign, or arrange a school visit, please contact our Education Coordinator at firstname.lastname@example.org.