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Florida 4-H Chick Chain “Egg-celence”

Youth unable to keep chickens at home were able to participate through Cooperative Coops at County Extension Offices. Photo credit: Heather Kent

Youth unable to keep chickens at home were able to participate through Cooperative Coops at County Extension Offices. Photo credit: Heather Kent

On Saturday, October 29th, 4-H’ers from across the panhandle suited up in their 4-H Show gear, loaded up their chickens and ventured off to the inaugural Florida 4-H Chick Chain hosted at the Walton County Fairgrounds. This project was piloted last year with Alabama 4-H and is now an annual small animal science project offered here in the panhandle.

The objectives of the project are to help youth learn poultry nutrition and care, to develop communication skills, to develop basic record keeping skills, and to develop responsibility.  Over 80 youth participated and have been raising their pullets since May.  Over the summer, they participated in webinars and workshops to help prepare them for the show and complete their record books.  Some youth participated individually, some youth shared pullets with their siblings (making it a family project).  Youth not able to have chickens at their home were able to participate through a Cooperative Coop.  Cooperative coops are housed at the Extension Office and youth have the opportunity to sign up for shifts to help “rule the roost” by feeding and watering the chicks, monitoring their health, changing bedding, and cleaning the coop.

Youth were judged on poise, confidence and how they handled their birds.

Youth were judged on poise, confidence and how they handled their birds. Photo credit: Heather Kent

On Show and Auction day, youth experienced many opportunities to showcase their “egg-celent” skills they learned through the Florida 4-H Chick Chain project. First, youth were required to check-in their birds at registration with the Agriculture Inspector. This was the final step in determining if the youth had followed all the proper bio-security measures to keep their chickens happy, healthy and disease free. Next, youth participated in a skill-a-thon to demonstrate what they have learned about breed identification, poultry anatomy, and how to set up a brooder properly. During the show, youth demonstrated their knowledge and communication skills with confidence.  Youth were judged on how prepared they were to answer questions about their project and how well they handled their birds.

Youth kept records of their project and books were judged and displayed during the show.

Youth kept records of their project and books were judged and displayed during the show.

Do you have a passion for poultry?  If so, consider sharing it with 4-H as a volunteer.  4-H needs volunteers to help teach life skills through projects like this by sparking a lifelong interest in learning,  Contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org.

Helpful Resources:

Junior Showmanship 1st Jena Putnam
2nd Sheldon Sparks
3rd Jake Rinehart
4th Cass Dillard
5th Ashlynn Peebles
Intermediate Showmanship 1st Katie Ballard
2nd Adrienne Murray
3rd Lily Smith
4th Isaac Hosford
5th Kailey Pettis
Senior Showmanship 1st Mary Ballard
2nd Klarissa Williamson
3rd Ashlynn McDevitt
4th Myra Miles
5th Jayla Kindlespire
County Best of Show Grand & Reserve HOLMES G – Joshua Ernst
R – Emily Ernst
JACKSON G – Nathan Ziglar
R – Beau Miles
JEFFERSON G – Jake Rinehart
R – Ashlynn Peebles
LIBERTY G – Isaac Hosford
R – Millie Revell
OKALOOSA G – Lily Smith
R – Kaelen Chenard
SANTA ROSA G – Cayden Smith
R – Cat Proud
WAKULLA G – Adrienne Murray
WALTON G – Krista Laviolette
R – Leannah McDevitt
WASHINGTON G – Cole & Cass Dillard
R – Lillian, Sheldon Sparks & Natalie Taylor
Breed Best of Show Grand & Reserve BRAHMA G – Lily Smith
R – Cole & Cass Dillard
DOMINIQUE G – Jake Rinehart
R – Krista & Julie Laviolette
LEGHORN G – Beau Miles
R – Mary Ballard
POLISH G – Lillian & Sheldon Sparks, Natalie Taylor
R – Nathan Ziglar
RHODE ISLAND RED G – Emily Ernst
R – Jenna Putnam
WYANDOTTE G – Jayla Kindlespire
R – Kaelen Chenard
Overall Grand & Reserve (New) G – Lily Smith
R – Beau Miles
Overall Grand & Reserve (Returning) G – Emily Ernst
R – Myra Miles
PG

Author: Jena Brooks - brooks15@ufl.edu