Embryology & EGG Cam 4-H School Enrichment

Embryology is the study of embryos and their development. Lancaster County 4-H coordinates the popular Embryology 4-H school enrichment program locally, delivering supplies, teaching in the classrooms and distributing chicks to area farmers. We also host 4-H EGG Cam, which allows you and other viewers around the world to witness the amazing process of chicks hatching!

Lancaster County third graders have benefited from Embryology in their classrooms since 1975. Students learn about embryonic development and the life cycle during the 21-day incubation process of chicken eggs. They care for the eggs, witness the hatching process and then care for the baby chicks for 2–3 days. What started out in three classrooms at one school has blossomed into every third grade classroom in the Lincoln Public School system as well as Waverly, Malcolm, Norris, many parochial schools and several homeschools. Thank you to Hy-Line International for helping support our embryology program and to members of the Lincoln Northeast Kiwanis Club who drive to Iowa three times a year to get the eggs!

For more information about Embryology, contact Extension staff at lancaster4H@unl.edu or 402-441-7180.

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Watch 4-H EGG Cam Live!

You can watch chicks hatch on 4-H EGG Cam from January through early fall.

Watch 4-H EGG Cam

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YouTube Videos

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Embryology Resources

Extension Embryology Websites
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At-Home Activities

  • Lancaster County 4-H video, Embryology Initial Classroom Presentation (presentation given in local classrooms explaining Embryology and how students help care for eggs in an incubator). Two ways to watch: YouTube | UNL Media Hub
  • Lancaster County 4-H video: Embryology Day 7 Candling Classroom Presentation (presentation given in local classrooms explaining "candling" to check the development of embryos). Two ways to watch: YouTube | UNL Media Hub
  • Lancaster County 4-H video: Chick Hatching (seen on 4-H EGG Cam) (Watch a baby chick hatch! This video is sped up 1,500 times. Original time was 56 minutes.) Two ways to watch: YouTube | UNL Media Hub
  • Lancaster County 4-H handout (PDF): Embryology At-Home Activities (includes: Egg Part Identification, Grocery Store Egg Candling, Draw an Embryo Development Timeline and The Floating Egg)
  • Nebraska 4-H videos and worksheets: Embryology 101 Lessons (four lessons allowing youth to explore the life cycle of an embryo and how life develops)
  • University of Illinois Extension worksheets: Activities (includes: Parts of a Chicken, Egg Grading, Science Vocabulary and more)
  • American Egg Board: "Egg Reader" digital interactive piece (read about Types of Eggs, "Eggsploring" Food Safety, From the Farm to Your Store, and more)
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Lancaster County Teacher-Specific Resources

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Other Resources

  • Nebraska Department of Agriculture website: Avian Influenza information
  • American Poultry Association website: includes recognized breeds
  • The American Egg Board: Eggs in the Classroom (lesson plans and activities for pre-K through high school educators)
  • Note: In the United States, there are laws protecting wild birds (including wild ducks and geese), their eggs, their nests — even their feathers! See the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service website. Legally, you can not have any parts of these birds (including their eggs) in your possession. If you find a nest which has fallen out of the tree and can't replace it, contact your local wildlife rescue agency (see list of Nebraska's agencies). If you find a nest that has been partially destroyed or abandoned, leave it alone.

Thank you for letting us see how chicks grow up. My favorite part was when we could hold the chicks.

Lincoln Public Schools student participating in the 4-H Embryology program
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Lancaster County 4-H Embryology & EGG Cam Videos