19 April 2018

Classroom Chick-Hatching Projects Teach Bad Lessons

chicks in a cardboard shipping box

“Ethical questions are raised when unwanted animals are brought into this world, diminishing our sense of the inherent value of the living creature. The positive lesson that can come from observing and respecting normal parenting of adult birds for their future offspring is lost. In these school hatching projects, any sense of parent birds carefully preparing nests and tending their future babies is lost because the eggs are hatched in a piece of equipment. The surviving chicks are usually doomed to a life expectancy of a few days spent miserably. Young birds need nurturing and rest. They are difficult to feed in the classroom and can suffer starvation and dehydration that is not even noticed.”
– Dr. F. Barbara Orlans, Senior Research Fellow, Kennedy Institute of Ethics, Georgetown University, Washington, DC

On April 18, United Poultry Concerns received an email exchange between the mother of a young child and his teacher in Maryland. Learning the teacher is hatching “intentionally orphaned babies” in her son’s classroom, she implored the teacher and the principal:

“As a mother myself, I feel pain for these chicks and their mothers who are separated to become an experiment for school children. I would encourage you not to hatch chicks and instead have a conversation with the children about why it is important for animals to be treated with kindness and respect for their families.”

The teacher responded dismissively about teachers “hosting” the motherless chicks in these projects:

“Thank you for reaching out. I understand your concerns. To answer some of your questions, please view the program website: RentACoop. I’ve shared some of your questions, and I’ve had positive discussions with teachers who have hosted chicks in their classroom in years past. I hope this information helps.”



What Can I Do?

If you have a child or know of children whose teacher, school or school district is planning to hatch chicks, ducklings or other birds in mechanical incubators, please object. These projects abuse animals and take advantage of children’s ignorance. Please read and share our information with educators and parents. Schools are more sensitive to parental criticisms than to other sources of criticism. Parent-teacher meetings provide opportunities to publicize this issue and enlist parental support to end these projects in favor of humane education.

For more information please visit:
Hatching Good Lessons: Alternatives To School Hatching Projects

Alternatives to School Hatching Projects


A Home for Henny book cover

Melanie is a 3rd grader who is excited about a chick hatching project in her class at school. The project seemed like a good idea at first, but unexpected problems arise and the whole class learns a lesson in compassion. When the project is over, Melanie adopts one of the chicks she names Henny. A Home for Henny explores the challenges and concerns with school hatching projects while evoking the lively personality of Henny and her loving relationship with Melanie. Grades K-4

Do you have elementary school-age children at home? Nieces or Nephews? Friends with children? A Home for Henny is the perfect story to teach children compassion for chickens and why chick-hatching programs don't belong in our schools. Donate a copy (or several!) to your local elementary schools and the children's section of your local libraries.

A Home for Henny - $6.99

5 Copies of A Home for Henny - $15.00


Also see:
New York State Bill to Ban Chick-Hatching Projects: PLEASE SUPPORT & Learn Why!


Learn more here:
Rent-a-Chicken Business


Hen with a chick
Photo of a mother hen and her chick in the Florida Everglades by Davida G. Breier