Hatching Projects: Not all they’re cracked up to be

Hi friends :)

I am ending my extended blogging break by introducing an article that I wrote about classroom hatching projects for Discordia Zine.




Chicks in the classroom: Not all it’s cracked up to be

The children squeal and jostle as they compete for a good viewing spot.

‘Ok, boys and girls, do you all remember what to do?’ The question is largely rhetorical. Of course they remember! They have practised many times, and all have eagerly awaited this moment.

‘Cluck, cluck…cluck, cluck’. The teacher joins the chorus of children’s voices. Their efforts are rewarded: An egg with a pronounced crack emits a faint chirp.

One by one, the inhabitants of the eggs emerge into an incubator; to a motherless existence. The chicks do not experience the welcoming chirps or body warmth of a doting and nurturing mother. Instead, a heat lamp set to 37 degrees Celsius provides their only warmth. They will never know the comfort of snuggling beneath a mother’s outstretched wing.

An unhatched egg lies still, and silent. Several of the children express their concerns for the unborn chick. The teacher knows that it should have hatched by now: the chick is dead.

What is a hatching project?

Hatching projects are promoted as ‘fun and easy do-it-yourself programs that enable children to see chicks actually hatching from their eggs’. School teachers are particularly encouraged to use hatching projects in their classrooms, and some companies also offer hatching projects to nursing homes.


To continue reading, click here.


Photo credit: ozecha



About Ally
Mamma. Vegan. I blog at Made of Stars.

18 Responses to Hatching Projects: Not all they’re cracked up to be

  1. Well said! My children know all about this life cycle because I explained it to them and showed them pictures and we watched some videos. We don’t need to learn about these things in an unkind, unrealistic environment. It bugs me that when parents object to this in kindergarten/school, they’re often dismissed and have negative comments made about them, when all they’re doing is showing compassion and kindness, something most schools claim to teach their students!

    • Ally says:

      Yes, I totally agree with you…of course! :)

      Your children definitely have a greater understanding of the life cycle than children who are only taught about it with eggs and chicks as the ‘teaching materials’.

      It saddens me that some teachers/principals/schools do not examine these projects from the perspective of the chicks. I also feel disappointed that parents who complain about these projects are treated like pariahs.

      Thanks for your great comment. :)

  2. narf77 says:

    Most of the problems that we have in society today, and indeed environmentally, come from our desire to separate off the “good bits” and discard the rest. Since when do chicks have sterile motherless lives? I was horrified to read that some entrepreneur was pushing this to school children and nursing homes (ready and exponential market). Much like disecting frogs to see what intestines look like, what’s the reason for this “experiment”? Is it going to really benefit the kids or are we just manipulating nature to our advantage and it’s detriment yet again :(. Kudos on standing up for the chicks Alison. Someone needs to question this kind of adventitious fib seeding to our kids.

    • Ally says:

      Hello, dear narf7. I’ve missed you! Yes, I agree with your eloquent comment. It is a very ‘disjointed’ and sterile educational message that does not benefit the chicks or the children. Thank you for your kind words, and for introducing me to a fabulous term: ‘fib seeding’. :)

  3. So glad you’re back, Ally! I missed your posts. This is a great article. I remember watching on in horror when my son’s kindergarten class had a hatching project in the late 1990s. I kept my thoughts to myself though. I wouldn’t be so quiet about it now, of course, but I thought I was the only one who thought the whole thing was cruel and creepy. After all, I’d got a lot of flack when I was the only one who’d refused to cut up a rat in year 12 Biology. My daughter went to a different kindergarten – they didn’t have a hatching project, because they thought they were awful. I hoped that that was a a sign that they were going out of fashion, but that was way back in about 2000-1, so obviously I was wrong!

    • Ally says:

      Hi Linda! :)
      Thank you for your kind comments; it is good to be back.
      I felt compelled to write this article after seeing on FB that hatching projects appear to be a popular ‘method’ for celebrating Easter in some pre-schools. Your daughter’s kindergarten was very enlightened. My first (and thankfully, only) contact with hatching projects was back in 2000, when I worked in a pre-school. I wrote about that experience in my blog post: H is for Hatching projects. It is an issue that I feel very passionate about. Thanks for your support.
      I hope you and your family are well.

  4. Poppy says:

    Great to see you back Ally and what a great post to return with. It is very sad. I didn’t know this happened in schools, I’m not sure if we have this here in the Uk, I’ve never heard of it before. It’s great that you are raising awareness! :)

    • Ally says:

      Hi Poppy, thank you. :)
      I agree, it is sad.
      Actually, one of the companies that I referred to in the article, The Happy Chick Company, is based in Cambridgeshire. Interestingly, they have links to the Happy Egg Co. which has been described by Viva! as a ‘death camp’ rather than the free-range ‘paradise’ that the company promotes itself as.

      It was outside the scope of this article, but The Happy Egg Co. goes on with a lot of nonsense on its website: they boast about reading romance novels to the hens (yes, really) and other ‘hype’ to ‘convince’ consumers that their hens live a life of luxury. An investigation by Viva! demonstrated that the hens do not live luxurious lives, rather it is a case of ‘free-range fraud’.

      If you’re interested, you can read more here: http://www.viva.org.uk/what-we-do/happy-egg-company

      • Poppy says:

        Ally, I had no idea the Happy Chick Company is linked to Happy Egg Co. I am a supporter of Viva! so know of their findings but I never knew of the nonsense written on their website! How ridiculous! And the worst part is that people must believe that! :(

  5. Great article Ally, and wonderful to see you back! I’ve missed your posts :)

  6. Sophie33 says:

    Happy that you are back! I missed you heeps! xxx

  7. Thanks for writing this, Ally. There was a hatching project at my son’s daycare last year, and I emailed the director of the centre, outlining my concerns and giving her links to some online articles where she could read more. She replied, saying that the centre had run the hatching project for many years and had only positive feedback from parents…. I refrained from saying that those parents probably weren’t viewing the hatching project from the point of view of the chicks. However, she also said that my comments would be taken into account when they were planning for next year.

    • Ally says:

      Good on you, Catherine. :)
      Yes, I am sure you are right: the well-being of the chicks is not considered.
      It does sound positive that they have agreed to consider your viewpoint.
      I received feedback about this article from a friend, who told me that she had never looked at it from the point of view of the chicks before and, now that she has, she feels really sad for the chicks. Your information may have had a similar effect at the day care centre.
      In other news, I took a whole cashew cheese to a vegan family picnic yesterday, and it was very well received. I sent each family home with their own wedge. :)

      • I guess it’s just one of many things where we don’t question the status quo… I include myself because I was the same until just over a year ago. I think awareness is slowly growing about lots of things (I’m an optimist), and really it will depend whether the director of the centre took the time to read about the issue properly: if so, I hope she might reconsider the program.

        Also, yay for cashew cheese. I recently gave some to a workmate (omni, but v-curious I think). He loved it!

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