Betty & Bea
Birth date: 9 June 2019
Arrival date: 23 June 2019
With the start of the school year, sadly, we will no doubt see a start in people seeking homes for school-hatching project chicks.
Despite good intentions, the problems with classroom chick-hatching mean that some students may come away with unintended, negative lessons. Students may learn that bringing a life into the world is not a serious, long-term responsibility and that the life of an animal is unimportant.
This is Danzig's story. Danzig was part of a hatching project. The day he emerged from his shell, rather than being greeted by the warm comfort of his mother's wings, Danzig was confronted by a room filled with preschool-aged human children. Danzig was the most fortunate of his siblings, however, as his three brothers and sisters had all hatched with deformed legs and struggled to breathe. How did this happen?
"Problems arise in chick hatching projects because providing the right environment is difficult in a classroom setting. Mother hens rotate their eggs up to 30 times a day, maintaining the optimum temperature, humidity and ventilation for embryo development. If this same level of care is not observed in the classroom, the results of hatching projects can be upsetting to students and detrimental to the chicks. Providing the correct level of care is demanding for both teacher and student.
Many eggs never hatch because of poor hatching conditions. Chicks that do hatch may be deformed due to unsuitable humidity levels or incorrect egg rotation. The sight of deformed chicks can be upsetting to both teachers and students. Some newly hatched chicks die due to illness or physical abnormalities in their unnatural hatching environment. It is not uncommon for chicks to hatch on weekends and die because no one was there to care for them or because the incubator malfunctioned.
When imperfect chicks are disposed of, students may infer that physical abnormalities make living beings worthless. Rather than implying in students a sense of respect and appreciation for the wonders of the animal world, classroom chick hatching may imply that animals are disposable educational tools."1
Danzig and his three siblings were bundled up and taken to a vet clinic to be euthanized. Fortunately, as it was clear Danzig was not suffering from the same afflictions as his siblings, his life was spared.
Danzig is a tiny minority of lucky rooster chicks born into these programs – most, if they survive to hatch with no defects, then struggle to find a loving forever home as many people either do not want to keep roosters or are unable to due to council restrictions. The harsh reality is that these chicks are brought into life to be disposed of as soon as we know they are of no use. Are these lessons we want to be teaching our children?
To find out more and learn about alternatives, visit our page on hatching projects, and please speak to your school, urging them to stop participating in these programs!