Chickens | Short Reads

Have you ever watched baby chickens hatch? You can see them on farms and at many children’s zoos.

The baby chick is inside a shell. It pecks at the shell for a while, and then it rests. When the chick has pecked away enough of the shell, it breaks out. Baby chickens are covered with soft down.

WHY DOES A CHICKEN LAY AN EGG?

Baby chickens come from eggs. Only female chickens, or hens, can lay eggs. For a chick to grow, the egg must be fertilized by a male chicken. Male chickens are called roosters.

Inside the shell, there are two main parts. The clear part is called egg white. The yellow part in the center is called the yolk. Both the yolk and the white provide food for a chick, as it develops inside the shell.

The hen sits on her egg to keep it warm. The shell protects the egg from breaking while the hen sits on it. When the baby chick inside grows big enough, it hatches.

One hen on a modern chicken farm can lay almost 300 eggs a year. Most eggs laid by hens do not get fertilized. That’s why they can’t grow into chickens. Farmers collect the eggs and sell them to stores. People buy the eggs and cook them for breakfast. Eggs are rich in protein. Your body needs protein.

WHY DOES A CHICKEN NEED A COMB?

Hens and roosters both have growths on their heads called combs. The combs are bright red. Roosters have bigger combs than hens. Different breeds (kinds) of chickens have combs of different shapes. Some combs are pointed, some are round, and some are V-shaped. It’s possible that chickens use their combs to tell each other apart. The comb also helps chickens shed body heat and keep cool. Chickens also have earlobes and wattles. Wattles are baggy growths that hang near their beaks.

A chicken is a bird. Like other birds, its body is covered with feathers. Chickens have legs and wings. A chicken’s wings are very small. Chickens cannot fly very far.

WHY DO CHICKENS LIVE IN COOPS?

Chicken coop is another name for chicken house. There are big chicken houses on chicken farms. Farms that only raise chickens are called poultry farms. Most hens live in cages in a chicken house. A big poultry farm can have as many as a million hens.

Some poultry farms only raise chickens for their eggs. Some poultry farms only raise chickens for meat. Chickens are important for food. People eat chicken soup, sandwiches with chicken meat, fried chicken, and chicken in many other forms.

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Penguins | Short Reads

Penguins | Short Reads

Would you put on your bathing suit and jump into icy water? Would you slide down a snowy hill on your bare stomach? Imagine how cold that would feel! You would freeze. Penguins, however, do this all the time. Penguins swim in cold water. They slide on their bellies over ice and snow.

Bicycles | Short Reads

Bicycles | Short Reads

Riding a bicycle is a great way to get around. Bicycles are quiet, fun to ride, and you don’t need gas or electricity to make them go. You just use the power of your legs!
Bicycles have two wheels. One wheel is in front of the other. You swing your leg over the bike, sit down, and start pedaling.

Mississippi River | Short Reads

Mississippi River | Short Reads

The Mississippi River is the most important river in North America. It provided a major highway for early explorers of North America. Many cities grew up along it. Furs and farm goods traveled from these settlements down the river to markets. Today, more freight travels on the Mississippi than on any other waterway within the continent.

Geronimo | Short Reads

Geronimo | Short Reads

Geronimo was a leader of the Apache Indians. He belonged to an Apache group known as the Chiricahua. In the 1870s, the United States government tried to force the Chiricahua off their homelands and onto reservations. Geronimo fought back.

Plate Tectonics | Short Reads

Plate Tectonics | Short Reads

Stand very still. You may think you are not moving, but the ground may be moving ever so slightly under your feet. The ground you are standing on is part of Earth’s crust. The crust is the solid surface or outer, rocky layer of Earth. Pieces of Earth’s crust are always slowly slipping and sliding around. The idea that pieces of Earth’s crust move is called the theory of plate tectonics.

Orchestra | Short Reads

Orchestra | Short Reads

The sound of an orchestra playing is a thrilling experience. An orchestra is a group of musicians who play musical instruments. Some orchestras have more than 100 musicians. Yet when they play together, the orchestra sounds like one mighty musical instrument.

Gravity | Short Reads

Gravity | Short Reads

Try to jump as high as you can. Bend your knees. Now jump! No matter how hard you try, or how high you jump, you always come back down again.
Something called gravity pulls you back down. Gravity holds you down on Earth. Without gravity, you would fly off into space. You would jump up and just keep on going. That might sound like fun, but you could not live very high up. For one thing, you need to breathe air. The higher you go, the less air there is. You need gravity to keep you down on Earth.

Sheep | Short Reads

Sheep | Short Reads

Remember Mary’s little lamb? It followed her everywhere. Lambs follow their mothers. If a newborn lamb loses its mother, it will form a bond with a human being who adopts it. Just like Mary’s lamb, it will try to tag after its human parent. Lambs are baby sheep.

Socrates | Short Reads

Socrates | Short Reads

What is love? What is truth? What is justice? Socrates, a philosopher in ancient Greece, asked big questions like these and tried to make people think.
Socrates was born in Athens, Greece, in 469 bc. He devoted his life to philosophy. He taught students, made speeches, and debated with anyone who would listen to him.

Bears | Short Reads

Bears | Short Reads

Imagine sticking your nose in the air and sniffing the smell of a hamburger cooking a mile away. Some bears can do just that. Bears have a keen sense of smell. They use this sense to help them find food. Bears are meat eaters, or carnivores. But most bears also eat fruits, nuts, and other foods. Bears live in North America, South America, Europe, and Asia. They do not live in Africa, Australia, or Antarctica.

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