Hot Chicks at the Indiana State Museum

Marcus Harshaw, museum program specialist and Scales & Tails Fest facilitation extraordinaire, provides a behind-the-scenes glimpse of event programming.

chicks_hatching_060909_03Every year leading up to our Scales and Tails Festival here at the Indiana State Museum, we are fortunate enough to offer our guests a glimpse of the “miracle of agriculture” as two dozen chickens hatch before their very eyes.

The eggs and incubators come to us from the Purdue University Cooperative Extension Office in Johnson County. The office coordinates the Incubators in the Classroom program. Our incubators are placed in the R.B. Annis Naturalist’s Lab in the museum’s first floor galleries, and become a large attraction for visiting summer camp and other groups. The chickens were even filmed as a part of a story on Scales and Tails Fest with WISH-TV 8’s own Julie Patterson.

chicks_hatching_060909_02Annually, each chicken is named after a member of the program facilitation intermittent staff starting with the longest serving to the newest member. Of course, by time you get over six chickens, it is impossible to tell them apart! We each care for the chickens ensuring proper incubator temperature, humidity and cleanliness.

The chicks definitely have personalities. One chicken was busy facilitating the hatching of the other chickens, and another took many naps on his un-hatched siblings. At times the first incubator will be alive with activity while all 12 chickens in the incubator next door were napping, and then they would switch.

Although I have watched most of these chicks hatch, I still cannot decide which came first; the chicken, or the egg?

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