Students learn about farming, incubation

By Nola Sizemore nsizemore@civitasmedia.com

March 10, 2014

Teaching children and adults about how chickens are born and used to provide food for families, Harlan County 4-H Extension Agent Raymond Cox has now implemented his annual chicken incubation project throughout the county.

“We’ve been doing this project for the past nine years,” said Cox. “It fulfills our responsibility for teaching others about farming and animal husbandry.”

An incubation unit or “brooder” is placed in every elementary school in the county, plus the Sunshine Pre-School and Harlan County High School, where students are able to watch the development of the embryo within the egg.

Cox said the most vital factor of incubation is “the constant temperature required for the egg’s development over a specific period.” The incubation period, the time from the start of uninterrupted incubation to the emergence of the baby chicks, varies from 11 days to 85 days Cox said.

“This year we decided to put a brooder unit in at the Hope Center,” said Cox. “All the young ladies there were so excited. I think this will be a good project for them.”

Cox added there are approximately 19 sittings, with 35 dozen chicken eggs donated by the University of Kentucky Poultry Farm and 19 dozen eggs obtained locally.

“Once the chickens hatch, we try to let each school decide who to give them to,” said Cox. “We want them to go to families or individuals who will take care of them. Hopefully, it will be a farmer or someone who would like to have their own eggs to eat.”

Nola Sizemore may be reached at 606-573-4510, ext. 115, or on Twitter @Nola_hde