Campus chicks provide hands-on experience

Published 7:29 pm Friday, August 11, 2023

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Which came first, the chicken or the egg?

Ask Rebecca Brooks’ second grade class at Pike County Elementary School and, to a one, they will answer emphatically, “the egg!”

On March 25, teacher and students added 14 Yellow Bluff eggs to an incubator and patiently waited to see what happened.

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During the next few weeks, the students made sure the temperature and humidity inside the incubator stayed stabilized. They also made sure the eggs were rotated.

On April 1, April Fool’s Day, using a flashlight, the students checked the eggs to see if there was life inside.

But there was no fooling on that day.

Brooks said the students were overly excited when they saw movement inside and realized that most of their 14 eggs would be hatching in a few days.

A week later, the students began hearing the chirps of the chicks before they even emerged from their shells. Brooks said, as the eggs began hatching, students were ecstatic to see the beautiful little chicks emerge.

A week later, a local farmer, James Coleman, visited Brooks’ class to donate more eggs, that were quickly added to those in the incubator, too.

The students kept the chicks in the classroom for a couple of weeks but the chicks got too big for their small box.

“What then?”

“The students didn’t want to get rid of their ‘babies’ because they looked forward to seeing them each morning,” Brooks said.

Principal Rodney Drish knew how much the students liked and enjoyed the baby chicks and how much they were learning about the chicks.

So, Drish approached Brooks with the idea of putting a chicken coop on campus but he already knew her answer.

With the approval of Dr. Mark Bazzell, superintendent of Pike County Schools, Brooks posted a need for a pen to house the campus chickens on the PCES Facebook page. Within, 30 minutes Patsy Gibson, owner of Crowe’s, in Brundidge made the pen a reality.

When the pen arrived, Brooks’ husband, Danny, put the pen together as a coop for the PCES chickens.

The roosters had been “weeded out,” from most of the chickens in the two batches of eggs that are “at home’ on the school campus.

With a new school year, the students who “hatched” the eggs have now moved on to third grade. Brooks’ second graders are looking forward to the opportunity to gather eggs when the chicken start laying.

Drish said, what began as a small lesson inside one classroom last year, continues to make a positive impact on the students at PCES today.

“The teachers are now able to continue providing these wonderful hands-on experiences for their students thanks to the generosity of the community and so many others,” he said. “When the students begin gathering eggs, they will be offered, free of charge, to the senior members of our community. This is a good way for the students to be involved in the community and for the community to learn more about the goof things that are happening at PCES.”

Drish thanked all those who “layed” the foundation for this hands-on learning opportunity for his students and expressed confidence that the support is there to continue keeping hens, and baby chicks, in the hen house.