Pumpkin Patch Gray Elephants welcome record-breaking batch of chicks

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Each year, the students in the Gray Elephants class at Pumpkin Patch await the big event: the delivery of a batch of eggs from Casey Farm, set up to incubate and later hatch, as they wait and watch each day. Many have seen older siblings and friends have this learning experience in years past. Two types of chicks would be soon be hatching: Dominiques and Rhode Island Reds.

On April 11, the big day arrived, as did 31 eggs, and on May 1 the first of those eggs began to hatch. Each egg was tracked with the date and time of the hatching, and every chick was then named. Although each year the students are aware that not all of the eggs might hatch, this year's number of hatched chicks was the biggest yet with 27 of the 31 hatching.

"We had so many hatch that not only did every one of our 20 students get to name one, but we also got to name several extras, so we named them after our classrooms," said Cheryl Martin, head teacher in the Gray Elephants class.

Now, as the students ready themselves for the next big event, the field trip to Casey Farm to bring their new baby chicks home, they have been spending time reading to them, feeding them, helping to add hay to the cage, and even singing songs to the newest, littlest members of their classroom community, who do quite a bit of singing on their own as well.

"They sing them songs like 'You Are My Sunshine,'" said Martin. "Other classes have gotten to visit with our chicks too, it's been very exciting."

The field trip to Casey Farm will take place next week on May 17.

PHOTOS AND CUTLINES

Like his brother before him: Colby Fales watched his older brother have the learning experience of watching and hatching baby chicks, and is excited that now it is his turn to do so. Here he is seen holding the Dominique variety of chicks. (Sun Rise photos by Jen Cowart)

One for everyone, and then some: This year, enough of the eggs hatched that every student had one to hold for the photo, if they wished.

Chick us out: Tracking hatch dates and times, and naming the new babies is a big part of the learning experience and a big part of the fun for the Gray Elephants as the eggs begin to hatch.

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