As most of you know, we are in full out chicken mode right now with Gage’s business assets arriving (chicks) and with the webcam up and running (see link in the right hand column, click play), I thought this would be a perfect time to start an in-depth, hands-on study about chickens! I will even attempt to answer the proverbial question, “which came first, the chicken or the egg?”. Read to the bottom for that one 🙂 In the meantime, let’s get to some hands-on chicken anatomy lessons!
The first thing that I teach about chickens is the vocabulary. Most areas of study or professions have a certain vocabulary that is associated with that particular topic. Chickens are no exception. Some of the vocabulary will be very familiar, but some won’t be. I try to use the correct vocabulary for all the works in a particular area, so this is the first document to present to your students. I call it the Chicken Family Tree because so much of it surrounds the names of the chickens at different stages of their life.
The next area I typically teach is the anatomy of a chicken. Montessori Print Shop has a beautiful set you can purchase. If you are not in a position to purchase them, here is another set of chicken anatomy that I found this is free. Unfortunately, I don’t remember where I got these, if you know who to give credit to, please let me know!
I know some people consider nomenclature (3 Part) cards to be just for young students, but I use them with my older boys all the time. If you are a visual learner (I am and two of my boys are), we like to see it… so we continue to use nomenclature cards even though they are 9, 11, and 13 (and I’m 47) now. It’s all about following the child to teach them the way they learn the best! Anatomy is the same across breeds but not across gender. So any set of chicken anatomy cards needs to distinguish if they are defining anatomy of a hen or a rooster. Here is a great chart of the differences between hens and roosters.
Did you know chickens can’t sweat? Since they do not sweat, they lose a primary way to cool their body down. Instead, chickens have combs and wattles to help them regulate their body temperature. But not all combs and wattles are created the same. I have created a Chicken Anatomy Combs work to show the reason for the differences and variations. The comb variations are usually based on breed and gender. The comb is not just a means to cool off, it is also used to attract a mate. In addition, when a young female chicken (called a pullet) is ready to start laying eggs, her comb will turn from pink to red.
Since we are now discussing various chicken breeds, there is a great chart here to help your children see all the variations in each breed.
Now, back to the question about the chicken and the egg and which came first… if you believe in the Bible, it answers this question for us.
Gen 1:20 And God said, Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life, and fowl that may fly above the earth in the open firmament of heaven.
Gen 1:21 And God created great whales, and every living creature that moveth, which the waters brought forth abundantly, after their kind, and every winged fowl after his kind: and God saw that it was good.
Gen 1:22 And God blessed them, saying, Be fruitful, and multiply, and fill the waters in the seas, and let fowl multiply in the earth.
Gen 1:23 And the evening and the morning were the fifth day.
Since I’m pretty sure there were not any eggs walking around, it would mean the chicken came first 🙂
I have so much more to cover regarding chickens, but this is a good place to stop for this study. I’ll be posting much more on chickens since it appears we will be spending much of our time with our new chicks. We recently received a request to host some homeschool field trip days, so we will be creating lots of works to teach our guests when these field trips start.
Until next time….