Monday, March 8, 2010

Handbook of Nature Study: Birds & Chickens

We finally decided to stop lolly-dragging about and just start at the beginning.  The Handbook of Nature Study (free download online....but I strongly suggest buying the book as you will use it many times over, it is that great a resource!) has been a constant in our family as mainly a reference and go-to tool, but we are going to really dig in deeper with the actual book itself and get back to what we had fun with last year -- following the book assignments from the start.

I have followed -- and loved -- Barb's blog, The Handbook of Nature Study as well as the outstanding sharings of Outdoor Hour Challenges.  She has them very well linked in her sidebar, so you can start anywhere, at anytime :o)  She starts you off with some beginner tips, selecting a focus, then brings you along at a good pace, sharing how to implement a wonderful study of the nature that surrounds all of us, city and country dwellers alike.

Well, starting at the beginning, and not really pinning down a focus persay, we start with birds, specifically chickens.  Well, we have chickens :o)  We can study their coloring and habits up close and personal.  We've had many different breeds over the years, though no 'fan' breeds.  We're just a plain homestead here, we go for utility and not so much show and pretty.

There is a great study one family did, shared at the Nature Study blog.  We are just starting today, so we don't have alot to share just yet.  We've discovered several things, though, using our resources here at home:

The Little Red could you study chickens without reading The Little Red Hen?  Talk about a good lesson for other areas of life :o)  The online reading book there at Starfall shares a great vocab list as well.
How about some fun activities for the youngers....First School Preschool Activities shares several ideas for crafts and fun going along with the does Enchanted Learning.  Printable worksheets, crafting sheets and ideas.  Here is a coloring book of the story itself you can download from SchoolExpress.

What about Chanticleer and The Fox?  I need to find that one yet.

And chickens in general: 
Early Chinese records indicate the chicken was shared from "the west" around 1400 BC.
The New World didn't have any domestic fowl until brought here by the Spaniards...of course, we did have the turkey :o)
it is likely that all breeds stem from one species, the Red Jungle Fowl (Gallus gallus) of India...even with the variety of breeds, from the 12# Brahma to the 20 oz. Bantam.
Our White Leghorn, the truest egg machine known to man, was introduced to the U.S. by Italy in 1835.
Most farmers (homesteaders) still lean toward traditional, standard breeds for home egg and meat production, such as Rhode Island Red and Plymouth Rock, both of American origins.
Bantam hens are commonly used to hatch out and brood pheasant eggs both on a small scale as well as commercial level.

Chickens are just fun study :o)  We're off to draw some pictures and get back to reading all about their traits and characteristics in The Handbook of Nature Study!

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