On Eating and Incubating Eggs with a Three-Year-Old

On Eating and Incubating Eggs with a Three-Year-Old

Hatching eggs

Hatching eggs

I’ve spent a lot of time thinking about Ember’s ability to mentally process the fact that some eggs are for eating and some eggs are for hatching and what that really means for all eggs.

At three, she’s developmentally at a point in which she questions everything, which is both invigorating and exhausting. She challenges me to think about my perceptions of the world around me as I do my best to explain to her the ins and outs, whys and how comes of all.the.things.

So, with 43 chicken eggs in the incubator on our kitchen counter and 12 duck eggs incubating under Kitty outside, we’ve been discussing patience and how we must wait until the babies are done growing inside their shells before they will hatch out and we will get to see them.

And with a steady stream of chicken eggs being gathered from the nesting boxes each day, alongside a duck egg or two coming in daily now from our two Duck Daughters, we’ve also been discussing how eggs need a special environment over a long time (21-35 days) to turn from the eggs we eat to those that become actual babies that will hatch.

For example, last night we candled a couple of our chicken eggs and talked about the tiny baby chicken growing inside (and how that black spot is actually an eye that’s growing). Ember was so excited as I watched her wheels turning as she processed the information and talked about the “sweet tiny baby” inside that shell.

Then, this morning, as I boiled some eggs for our lunches this week, she asked if I was cooking the babies (?!) and I had to promise that the boiling eggs were different eggs with no babies growing inside.

And so, the conversation continues.

And, I have to say, it’s such a gift to be able to share these moments, these lessons with her, as we learn and explore and observe and grow together.


Written by Melissa @ Ever Growing Farm


  1. Linda

    She is a lucky kid! Think of the kids who don’t make that connection…some ever! We talked about the eggs our broody hatched. How on the day we picked the fertile eggs up, we could eat them and not even know…and then we’d look on google each day to see stages of development and how it would take a few days for us to even know the egg was different. My kids had so many questions…we even covered baluts ( the embryo eggs that get eaten in Asia. )

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

CommentLuv badge