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Features

Primrose Farm in St. Charles gives families virtual egg incubation experience

A favorite activity for many children in kindergarten is watching tiny chicks hatch from eggs right in their own classroom. Even though COVID-19 has made that impossible this year, students and families can experience egg incubation virtually through Primrose Farm.

By visiting the farm’s e-learning page, little ones and adults will delight in watching baby chicks peck out of their shells via videos on www.stcparks.org/elearning or at www.primrosefarmpark.com.

The first set of Columbian Wyandotte chickens hatched in mid-April and the second and final group hatched in mid-May.

There are four egg incubation videos, one showing the candling process and the other three capturing the hatching process.

If you want to take your egg incubation knowledge further, links and downloads to curriculum-based materials are available on the e-learning page.

While presenting egg incubation virtually is new to Primrose Farm, acting as a resource for egg incubation is not. Many surrounding public and private schools have relied on Primrose Farm eggs and resources for many years for their classroom instruction.

“The egg incubation process helps children understand where their food comes from, and seeing it firsthand provides that deeper learning experience,” said Alison Jones, manager of farm programs and interpretive services. “With candling, they see the blood vessels of the chick inside the egg one day, developing into a chick the next, and then eventually coming out of their shells. Even though students can’t see it live in class, we wanted to fill that gap so they can still witness the process and enjoy the experience.”

Primrose Farm has had Columbian Wyandotte chickens – the only type of chicken on the farm – since 2009, when it participated in a breeding program to prevent the breed from becoming extinct. The program, a partnership between the University of Illinois and the Museum of Science and Industry, has helped the chickens make a comeback, Jones said.

The farm has about 80 chickens including about 60 chicks.

Jones said the farm stops incubating eggs in May, so the chicks are 6 months old by late fall and will be able to safely live with the older chickens in the chicken coop through the winter.

Primrose Farm sells fresh eggs year-round to the public. Until Primrose Farm reopens, please schedule a pickup time by calling Jones at 630-513-4374 or emailing ajones@stcparks.org.

In addition to egg incubation videos, families are encouraged to take advantage of the other e-learning opportunities on the Primrose Farm site, including learning fun facts about the animals on the farm such as the Nigerian dwarf goats, miniature donkeys, Belgian draft horses, Shropshire sheep and the barn cat Clyde. Or pick up a new hobby with how-to videos such as knitting (with sheep) and how to make butter.

For more information about Primrose Farm, visit www.primrosefarmpark.com.

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