Hi, this is Future Ticia 2022 here, and on the list of absolutely insane things I’ve done over the years, mummify a chicken is pretty high up there. Especially considering I mummified a chicken with my kids when they were in kindergarten and then again a few years later. While that was insane it made for a great history lesson and a great science lesson. It’s always fun to combine two subjects into one like happens in the real world.
This was part of our Ancient History year, and specifically part of the Ancient Egypt Unit.
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Supplies to mummify a chicken
Supplies needed: cornish game hen (you can use another, but a smaller size is helpful during this time), salt, baking soda, 2-gallon size Ziploc bag (yes, you could use a large sealable container, but it is hard to find a large enough container)
Step 1: wash the chicken before mummifying the chicken
I’ve been enjoying creating videos of the kids as they tell me steps because it lets me have an audio and video record of their abilities.
This showed mastery of two things:
- types of joints the chicken has as they moved the chickens wings and legs around
- why were we washing the chicken as part of mummifying a chicken
Also, the kids love to ham it up for the camera. It kind of cracks me up.
Step 2 to mummify a chicken: drying it off
At this point, the kids still thought this was fun. They got a big kick out of drying off the chicken to get it ready for the next step in mummifying a chicken.
Step 3 in how to mummify a chicken: mix the baking soda and salt
I almost forgot to include this step in how to mummify a chicken. Get a large mixing bowl and mix roughly equal parts of baking soda and salt. You can mummify with just salt, but baking soda aids in the mummification.
Step 4 in mummifying a chicken: pack it with salt
This was the step the kids started to get squeamish on, as you can tell from Princess’ comments.
This is also one of the most important steps to get right. You need to pack the inside of the chicken pretty solidly with salt, and you need to make sure the chicken is completely covered in the salt mixture as you start to mummify the chicken.
Step 4b to mummify a chicken
I have no videos or pictures of this because life went crazy as it was happening.
Every 2-3 days you need to completely change out the baking soda salt mixture. This is why I linked to multiple pound boxes and bags of salt and baking soda. You go through a lot of the desiccation mixture.
If the mixture looks “clumpy” change it earlier. That means that batch of the desiccant has absorbed all it can.
The science behind mummification
Salt is a natural drying agent, a desiccant. Baking soda is also a desiccant. The bacteria that causes things to decompose needs the liquids that are naturally in the body to cause decomposition. The salt/baking soda mixture will draw out the moisture and prevent decay.
More on Mummification
To get more ideas on Ancient history check out my Creation to Christ Pinterest board.
Come back next week to see the next steps in how to mummify a chicken
This is Future Ticia 2022, I’m not sure I ever finished the second write-up of our mummification process.
Thankfully, we also mummified a chicken when the kids were smaller, and so I can point you to that.
- “Manchester Museum Egyptian Mummies – 2008” by johnthurm is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
- “Replica of King Tutankhamun’s Mummy Case at the Rosicrucian Egyptian Museum” by mharrsch is licensed under CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
Phyllis at All Things Beautiful says
We had fun with making mummies a few years ago…our fruity Pharaohs…
Almost Unschoolers says
The videos are great! I’m still trying to imagine the look on Doug’s face if he came home and found a mummifying chicken on the counter.
We loved our mummifying experience. Bit niffy though!
Missy @ Dot-to-Dot Connections says
Very neat! Thank you for sharing!
maryanne @ mama smiles says
I can’t believe you did this TWICE. I’m afraid I’m up with Princess in squeamishness. Actually, I avoid eating meat because I hate cooking it, let along mummifying it! Great learning opportunity, though!
Great Science Fair Idea! Thanks!
How long does this process take? I need a long science fair project.
It takes about 40 days for the entire process. You need to make sure you change the baking soda/salt mixture every few days or the ending project will smell slightly.