Incubating Quail Eggs

— Written By Denise Sherrill

Henderson County 4-H provides the Embryology Program for second-grade classrooms. Through this program, students learn about the life cycle of birds as they incubate and hatch Bobwhite Quail eggs. This program meets the NC Public School Essential Standards for science, “providing opportunities for students to engage in ‘hands-on/mind-on’ activities that are exemplars of scientific inquiry, experimentation and technological design.” Specifically, second graders are to learn about life cycles.

Henderson County 4-H provides training for second-grade teachers, as well as equipment, curriculum, and fertile quail eggs for each class. Volunteers and 4-H staff deliver the eggs to the classrooms, and explain about embryology and 4-H. Students turn the eggs three times a day, and record the time, temperature and humidity in the incubator. They learn the importance of washing their hands before and after they touch the eggs and baby birds.

In 2020 Ivory Eatmon helped with embryology equipment and her family sorted and prepared the eggs for delivery. On March 2, teachers picked up equipment and were taught how to incubate eggs and care for the babies. They turned on their incubators on Friday, March 6. 4-H staff and volunteers delivered eggs to the classrooms on March 9. Second-grade students put the eggs in the incubators on this day, and it was Day 1 for the embryos. When schools were closed on March 16, four teachers returned their incubators and equipment. Other teachers took their supplies home or continued taking care of them at school. Volunteers from the Barnyard Bandits 4-H Club’s Poultry Group took the four incubators and eggs home. We will post updates about the progress of the embryos from the teachers and the volunteers on the Henderson County 4-H Facebook page. We will also add new “News” articles to the Henderson County 4-H website.

Thank you to Community Foundation of Henderson County and a local individual for funding new supplies for this program in 2018, and to many volunteers for helping make it possible. 4-H fundraisers, especially the 4-H Plant Sale, provide for ongoing expenses for this program. Donors and volunteers are always welcome.

kids with eggs child packaging incubator bedding