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Life Cycle of a Chicken Activities [FREE Printables]

Learn all about a chicken’s life! This post includes dozens of chicken activities for kids. Highlighted is a chicken activity’s easy paper plate life cycle.

Spring is an inspiring time of year. Children’s minds and bodies respond to more daylight in positive and inspiring ways. Gardens begin their growth and rejuvenation, and the air (in the northern hemisphere) starts to warm.

In other words, it’s time to peel off the layers, plant some seeds, and watch life come full circle. Heading to a farm is always an exciting time.

I’ve got loads of life sciences activities on this blog, but I particularly love this topic of chickens for many reasons. These spring activities are inexpensive, easy, and creative; kids learn life sciences! Children will learn all about the life stages of a chicken and a little zoology to boot!

LIFE CYCLE OF A CHICKEN
A young girl hugging chickens at a farm

Chicken Facts for Kids

  • Chickens are domesticated birds, which means they’re tame and usually live within a fenced area. It has been this way for thousands of years.
  • There are 50 billion chickens around the world.
  • Chickens live in little houses called “coops.”
  • Humans raise chickens for their meat and eggs.
  • Adult chickens are called roosters and hens.
  • A male chicken is a rooster.
  • A female chicken is a hen.
  • Chicken eggs come in many colors: pink, white, brown, blue, and green.
  • Chickens live about 5 to 7 years.
  • The American Poultry Board recognizes more than 60 breeds of chicken. Worldwide, there are 100s of additional breeds.
  • There is a pecking order for eating.
  • A chicken’s heart rate beats 275 per minute.
  • Chickens can live without their heads for a long time.
  • Inside an egg is a yellow yolk. This yolk contains everything a growing chicken needs before it hatches.
  • A mother hen sits on her eggs for about 21 days, carefully turning the eggs over that time.
chicken activities for preschoolers

How Do Chickens Lay Eggs?

A chicken laying eggs is a fascinating thing to learn. According to Backyard Poultry (a terrific resource if you’re interested in backyard chickens), let the cat out of the bag (so to speak). Yes, it is true. A hen lays her eggs through the same opening as she poops.

Gasp!

Backyard Poultry details the process in their write-up (which I highly recommend you read – it is fascinating!):

“During a yolk’s journey through the two-foot-long oviduct, it is fertilized (if sperm are present), encased in various layers of egg white, wrapped in protective membranes, sealed within a shell, and finally enveloped in a fast-drying fluid coating called the bloom or cuticle.

When the process is complete, the shell gland at the bottom end of the oviduct pushes the egg into the cloaca, a chamber inside the vent where the reproductive and excretory tracts meet — which means a chicken lays eggs and poops out of the same opening. But not at the same time.

how to chickens lay eggs

The shell gland, which technically is the hen’s uterus, grips the egg so tightly that the gland gets turned inside out as it follows the egg through the cloaca and out through the vent.

Suppose you come along when a hen is laying an egg, and she happens to be facing away from you. In that case, you might catch a glimpse of the tissue — vividly red because it’s loaded with tiny blood vessels — briefly protruding around the edges of the vent before it withdraws back inside the hen as soon as the egg is laid.”

Wowzers.

A Short Video of a Hen Laying Eggs

How Often Do Chickens Lay Eggs?

Great question! I don’t have an exact answer for you, but here is some helpful information. According to The Spruce, some hens lay an egg every day, while others lay an egg every 1.5 to 2 days.

Also, it depends on the age of the chicken. Younger hens tend to lay smaller eggs at larger intervals. Hens typically begin laying eggs around six months of age. This goes on for years, with the “peak” laying period around 3 to 4 years old.

If you were curious, a hen does NOT need a rooster to lay an egg. If a rooster is present, the egg will likely become fertilized.

yellow chick

Life Cycle of a Chicken Crafts & Activities

Dissolving Egg Science

The dissolving egg activity is an excellent introduction to an egg’s anatomy and learning about a chicken’s life cycle. I love this experiment because you can see the delicate membrane within which the chicken fetus grows.

a chick hatching

Chicken Hatching Printable Book

This adorable printable book tracks the 21 days to hatching. The illustrations depict a real-life embryo to a fetus to hatching.

Raising Chicks in a Classroom

Curious about how to raise chicks in your learning environment? This post gives you the rundown on how to make it happen – surprisingly, it is pretty easy!

Life Cycle of a Chicken 3 Part Cards

Life Cycle of a Chicken 3 Part Cards
(Click on the image to download.)

Chicken to Egg Match Activity

chicken to egg matching activity
(Click on the image to download.)

Parts of a Chicken Activity

Parts of a Chicken
(Click on the image to download.)

Chicken Themed Cutting Works

Chicken Themed Cutting Strips
(Click on the image to download.)

Learning Videos about Chickens

Learning Resources

We love learning about life cycles!

Check out our other life cycle mini-units:

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