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4-H Embryology Project

a young, white chick resting atop a mother hen

What came first? The chicken or the egg? In the embryology 4-H project area, youth can discover the development of living things and get hands on experience with incubating eggs and watching them hatch. From research and experiences, youth can create displays and posters showing their interest and learning in the project area.

Ages and Stages of Youth Development


Beginners start learning about embryonic development in different species. Participate in a chicken egg incubation and hatching process and learn the composition of an egg and the growth and development of a chicken.


Continue studying development and study reproductive techniques of different species. Learn about the principles of incubation, including temperature, humidity, positioning of eggs, and environmental influences and incubation techniques.


Seniors understand and are able to correctly lead a chicken incubation and hatching process. They can teach others about responsibility in caring for a living thing and are familiar with reproduction and development of some animal species.

4-H Programming Priorities


Youth learn skills in responsibility and develop a respect for living things. They can educate others in the incubation and hatching process.

Health & Wellness

Youth learn to care for a living thing and feel accomplished in a completed process, which is important to mental health.


Learn about the reproduction and development of animal species. Get real life experience by hatching and caring for your own eggs.


Using experiences in this area, youth show respect in caring for living things and can promote that respect for animals in all areas of agriculture.

Get Involved

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Youth Voice

  • Illustrated talk on development of chicken eggs
  • Speech on embryonic stages of growth for a species
3 green outlines of hands

Community Service

  • Volunteer at a poultry/egg operation
  • Lead a classroom activity on egg incubation and hatching
green puzzle pieces

Career Connections

  • Clinical embryologist
  • Animal embryologist at a wildlife preserve, zoo, or farm
  • Lab technician/assistant
  • Microbiologist
  • Veterinarian

Exhibit Ideas

  • Poster on the process of incubation
  • Display showing the stages of embryonic development for a species
  • Display of pictures of an incubation and hatching process
  • Poster showing parts of an egg or a chicken