2018 4-H Chick Chain
The final link in the 4-H Chick Chain project closed on Saturday as 4-H members from the northwest extension district participated in a showmanship and skill-a-thon contest and brought their best birds for judging.
Showmanship – This tests youth on how knowledgeable they are about the care, nutrition and health of their project and how they handle their bird.
Junior Showmanship – 1st Taylor Anderson,
2nd Tucker Padgett, 3rd Emma Weeks
Intermediate Showmanship – 1st Catherine Proud, 2nd David Marr, 3rd Brodie Price
Senior Showmanship – 1st Kearsten Dalton, 2nd Hailey Dalton, 3rd Brayden Price
Best of Breed winners
Exhibition – How the youth fed and cared for their projects was also put to the test as the birds were judged on breed characteristics and production potential.
Best of Breed Barred Rock – JaceBryan Broxson
Best of Breed Buff Orpington – Ethan Thornburry
Best of Breed Cochin – Brooks Marr
Best of Breed Cuckoo Maran – Kearsten Dalton
Best of Breed Speckled Sussex – Emma Fore
Best of Breed White Leghorn – Bella Price
Overall Grand Champion and Reserve Champion
Grand and Reserve Champions
From the Best of Breed winners, an overall grand champion and reserve champion were named.
Overall Reserve Champion – Emma Fore
Overall Grand Champion – Bella Price
Best of Show Production Bird
Best of Show Production
Youth who have participated in the 4-H Chick Chain in 2016 and 2017 also brought their best production birds to be judged. Birds were judged on production elements.
Best of Show Production – Brayden Price
Skill-a-thon is a hands-on way to test general knowledge of poultry including identifying breeds, setting up a brooder, reading a feed label, identifying common poultry diseases and identifying parts of the chicken.
Photography Top Senior
Our newest category youth this year included photography. We had several entries featuring the birds at all ages of the project.
Best of Show Photography Senior – Hailey Dalton
Our Cloverbud 4-H members are an important part of our project. Even though they are non-competing, they participated in every aspect of the show, skill-a-thon and project books.
Be sure to like the 4-H in the Panhandle Facebook page to get the latest information on when registration for the 2019 4-H Chick Chain project will open. There’s also a comprehensive list of all of the award winners from this year!
Thanks for participating
Many Extension Offices offer Cooperative Coops for youth who live in areas that are not zoned for poultry – UF/IFAS Jackson County Extension 4-H Program
Photo Credit: Angel
If you have been entertaining the idea of adding chickens to your personal “flock”, then we have some news for you! Not only would you be adding a sustainable practice at your home, your youth would have amazing opportunities to learn, develop valuable life skills and explore opportunities in 4-H. Youth from all walks of life (urban and rural) are involved in 4-H poultry projects. Here’s the scoop on getting started with backyard coops:
- Location– the first thing you need to find out is whether or not your location is zoned for poultry and whether or not there are any building restrictions. If there are no restrictions on your property, you will want to select a location that is relatively flat, has good drainage, access to electricity and water, and some natural shade if possible. If you do live in a restricted area, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office– many offices have cooperative coops where youth can participate in the poultry project, even if they can’t have their own backyard coop.
- Goal– Next, you need to consider what your goal is. Do you plan to produce just eggs or are you considering producing your own meat? Are you more interested in showing your chickens? How big of an operation are you planning?
- Coop Size– Are you planning to allow your birds to free-range or stay in an enclosed pen? Birds that are allowed to roam free during the day do not need as large a coop. If you are planning to keep your birds cooped up to keep them safe from neighborhood dogs or wildlife, you will need a larger coop. Also, the number of birds and breeds you want to have will impact your coop size. Here are the general rules of thumb when it comes to coop size:
- Heavy breeds– such as Australorp, Barred Rock, or Buff Orphington need 4 square feet of space if allowed out to forage during the day, but 10 square feet of space per bird if they are kept in the coop.
- Light breeds– such as Leghorn, Araucana or Silkies need 3 square feet of space per bird if allowed to forage, but 71/2 square feet of space per bird if kept in the coop.
For more information on selecting breeds, check out this article: Which Breeds are Best for Backyard Poultry.
- Coop Style– Chickens have been around for thousands of years so they are pretty resilient, but you still need to consider giving them proper shelter and protection from the elements and predators. Make sure that your coop has the capability to repel predators that fly, dig or crawl. Chickens are susceptible to birds of prey such as hawks and owls as well as predators on the ground including snakes, opossums, raccoons, coyotes, dogs and cats. There are many styles to choose from and you can spend a lot or a little, depending on your budget or your skills as a carpenter! Links to a few example coop plans are provided in the resources below. Many hardware and feed supply stores have “coop kits” for sale that are easy to put together. Generally, these coops are for small numbers of birds and are easy to remove should you change your mind about having a backyard flock later. The coop shown above was constructed with a 10 x 10 chain-link dog kennel and a canvas kennel cover. The roof and sides were laced with poultry wire which was also buried 8-10 inches in the ground around the perimeter. An enclosed area with laying boxes was constructed out of scrap lumber, an old screen door and a roll of window screen. All of the components give the birds protection from the elements and predators. Make sure that your coop site has access to electricity and water.
Chick Chain Participants
Photo Credit: A. Granger, UF/IFAS Jackson County Extension
If you have decided to incorporate some of the 4-H activities such as embryology or Chick Chain, you will be starting with day-old chicks that will require a little different living environment, at least until they can keep themselves warm and are big enough to be put on the ground. Regardless of the age of the birds, make sure that you are providing adequate amounts of fresh feed and clean water every day.
Once your birds are mature enough to lay eggs or be used for meat, you will enjoy having a great source of protein and a valuable teaching tool for youth. Learning skills such as record keeping and responsibility are just two of the skills that come to mind. Not to mention opportunities in learning to show or exhibit birds, learning about poultry and meats judging, earning scholarships in the 4-H Tailgate Cookery Contest and developing entrepreneurial skills in producing eggs or meat for your family or others.
There are multiple opportunities in 4-H poultry project. If you are interested in participating, either as a youth member or an adult volunteer, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org.
Florida 4-H Chick Chain Project
Florida 4-H Poultry Project Page
Florida 4-H Embryology Program
4-H Poultry Judging
Life Skill Development Related to Participation in 4-H Animal Science Projects
Florida 4-H members judge beef rounds at the UF/IFAS Animal Science Department meat science clinic. Photo Credit: Brian Estevez, UF IFAS Escambia County
Florida 4-H provides learning opportunities, camps, contests, shows and events in a multitude of areas for its members. The 4-H meat science project allows youth to learn about the different cuts of meat including quality factors that affect the safety and taste of the meat products we consume. The project culminates each year in April at the Florida 4-H Meat Judging Contest. The 2018 contest is April 21, 2018 at the Meat Processing Center at the University of Florida. The UF/IFAS Department of Animal Sciences also hosts a Livestock/Meat Judging Clinic on January 12-13 in Gainesville to prepare 4-H and FFA members for the contest.
What is 4-H Meat Judging?
Many Florida 4-H members are already in the production of meat products through exhibiting market steers, swine, sheep, and goats at livestock competitions. Through participation in judging contests and other leadership contests, agents, leaders, and youth learn valid, science-based information to consider when evaluating and making decisions, as well as learning proper meat storage and handling procedures. This knowledge and expertise to purchase safe, nutritious meat products gives future agricultural and food industry leaders a broader view of the livestock industry.
The 4-H Meat Judging Contest is composed of three areas, retail cut identification, carcass, wholesale, and retail placing classes, and oral reasons. 4-H members have to identify 50 retail cuts, including the species, primal, retail name, and cooking method. Youth then have to rank eight placing classes (carcass, wholesale, and retail classes). Finally youth have to give two sets of reasons on the placing classes that they have ranked.
This project area helps youth improve life skills, such as decision making, communications skills and confidence, but it also provides them a very practical skill they can use every time they visit the grocery store or butcher shop. Youth learn how to examine a cut of meat to determine which will be of the highest quality and flavor. Whether they cook for themselves or others, this useful skill will be perfected over time.
Another exciting aspect of the Florida 4-H Meat Judging Contest is the opportunity to attend National 4-H Meat Judging Contests. The first place senior team earns a trip to Kansas State University to participate in the National 4-H Meat Judging Contest as part of the American Royal Livestock Show in Kansas City. The second place senior team earns a trip to Denver to participate in the National Western Roundup Meat Judging Contest as part of the Western National Livestock Show.
In addition to the meat judging contest, Florida 4-H offers the Hog and Ham program and the Florida 4-H Tailgate Contest:
The Florida 4-H Hog and Ham Program is a statewide 4-H program which takes the participant through the total process of pork production from beginning to end. Youth select a feeder pig and grow it to harvesting weight, all the while keeping records on feed amounts and costs, health care, expenses, weights, etc. Youth harvest the hog and process it into wholesale or retail cuts. The project concludes by participating in a retail comparison project, completing a record book, and presenting a demonstration or illustrated talk to the other participants.
The Florida 4-H Tailgate Contest was created to further enhance the 4-H meat project by allowing youth to demonstrate their food and fire safety, meat selection, and outdoor cooking skills. Youth grill one of four proteins: beef, pork, poultry (half chicken or whole turkey breast), or shrimp. Youth are judged on their food and fire safety and meat palatability. Four regional contests throughout Florida are held between April and July, with a state contest held in the fall. Over $18,000 in scholarships were provided for winners in 2017.
The Florida 4-H meat judging contest is a fun event that can enhance your knowledge of the agricultural and food industries. The Florida 4-H Meat Judging Contest, in conjunction with the Florida 4-H Hog and Ham Program and the Florida 4-H Tailgate Contest, provides a well-rounded animal science education to all Florida 4-H members!
For more information about getting started (either as a youth member or as a volunteer), contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office.
Green and white are the colors of 4-H but what else can you think of that is green and white? Money! So, how does 4-H livestock projects teach financial management for the youth who participate in these programs? I am so glad you ask. We will take a journey into the 4-H Livestock world where I will show you the $$$ and how youth learn financial management.
There are several ways for 4-H Livestock youth to earn money with their projects:
- One of the most common ways is through livestock market and showmanship events. Youth can earn money base on how the animal is judges as well as how well the displayed/showed their animals.
- Another common way is through participating in terminal shows in which the animal is sold during the event.
- Youth can breed their animals and sell their offspring, or they can sell products their animal produces such as wool or eggs.
- Youth can also earn premium money by submitting their project record books to be judged and by participating in livestock judging events.
Now that I have tackled how 4-H Livestock youth can earn money through their projects let look at money management. The 4-H Livestock project record books have sections to record expenditures as well as income. Youth learn if the project was profitable or not. As youth review expenditures, they have an opportunity to make decision such as if blank high-end feed is really worth the money or does a less expensive feed provides the same benefits. As most youth mature, their understanding of managing money in relationship to their project improves. They can carry that knowledge gained from their livestock project over to other areas of their lives. Project record book workshops assist youth in completing their project record book especially the financial portion. At times, these workshops have been eye openers for parents.
Many of my 4-H youth shared in their project stories how they were required to invest back into their project by purchasing their show animal for the next year. I have also read how many of my 4-H youth, set higher goals for the profits from their projects such as buying a car or saving for college. Here is a great example of how one 4-Her used her livestock project to save enough money to purchase a house!
Now that I have shown the money in 4-H Livestock project, you may be interested in learning more about the animal science projects offered through Florida 4-H. If you are interested in helping youth learn how to manage their money through their livestock project, consider becoming a 4-H volunteer. We offer a wide variety of volunteer roles to fit your interests, skills and schedule. Learn more at http://florida4h.org or contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office.
For more information about 4-H livestock projects, visit these links:
From its beginning, the 4-H program has used a system of clubs and competitive activities to promote learning and the development of specific skills of 4-H members (Ladewig & Thomas, 1987). Sometimes competition is viewed negatively. Florida 4-H does not believe that competition is beneficial for youth under the age of eight, but for older youth, competition can help promote the development of life skills. When you break it down, competition is simply the process of comparing skills (Midura & Glover, 1999). Competition provides opportunities for youth to master and demonstrate life skills that can be used in the real world. For example, livestock judging participants learn more than animal science- they learn about the ethical treatment of animals, how to communicate and critical thinking.
Weber and McCullers (1986) stated that “young men and women who traditionally attain the highest levels of achievement in the 4-H program are typically very successful ‘in other aspects of life as well.” Other studies have also shown that competition helps to decrease juvenile delinquency, foster responsible social behavior, stimulate creativity, motivate young people to set goals, prepare them for the competitive world and gain important life skills.
Competitions involving judging are beneficial educational tools used to prepare youth for the workforce, regardless of their chosen careers. Former participants have learned to become team players, which is essential to their success and efficiency in the workplace. Teambuilding skills are an essential element of success at any age.
In a 2003 study conducted by the University of Idaho to determine development of beneficial life skills associated with past participants in 4-H Livestock and Horse Judging programs, over 97% of the judging alumni indicated that the Idaho 4-H judging experience positively influenced their personal success. The participants indicated gaining the following life skills:
- Ability to verbally defend a decision
- Animal industry knowledge
- Oral communication
- Organizational skills
- Problem solving
- Team building
Overall, 4-H participants perceive that 4-H competitions are very valuable to them in terms of teaching responsibility, building self-confidence and self-worth, and preparing them to face challenges in a competitive world. Florida 4-H offers many opportunities to help youth develop through competitive events:
- 4-H record books
- Public speaking
- Demonstrations, or show and tell presentations
- Graphic design
- Judging competitions
- Shooting sports
- Animal shows
- Fair exhibits
To learn more about competitive opportunities in 4-H, or how you can become involved as a coach or project leader, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org.
Related Article- The Impact Ag Judging Had on Me
This contest teaches youth about meat science, food safety and communication skills.
Tailgating. The smell of charcoal in the air. Cooking over a hot grill. Earning lots of scholarship money?
The Florida 4-H Tailgate Contest completed its first year in 2016, giving out over $15,000 in scholarship money to 4-H members. This was made possible by sponsorships from Winn-Dixie, National Beef, and Sonny’s. In 2017, Sanderson Farms joins the list of sponsors for this statewide event.
While earning scholarship money is great, youth also learn many valuable life skills in the art of grilling. A curriculum series was developed (see below) to help youth learn about fire-building, meat selection, cooking safety, smoking and slow cooking meat, and cooking equipment. The Northwest District has been very proactive in hosting different tailgate and grilling day camps throughout the panhandle to further youth learning.
Youth demonstrate their knowledge during the district and state contests, and can win a college scholarship.
The Florida 4-H Tailgate Contest allows youth to grill two 6-8 ounce portions of one of the following proteins: beef, pork, poultry (half chicken or turkey breast), and headless, deveined, fresh shrimp. At each contest, judges will observe the food and fire safety of each participant and ask students questions about their recipe and safety knowledge. A team of judges will then evaluate the cooked product.
There are four contests hosted throughout the state including the South contest at 4-H Camp Cloverleaf, the Central contest in Dade City, the Northeast contest at the UF Horse Teaching Unit, and the Northwest contest held at the Washington County Fairgrounds. After youth compete at the local county contests/day camps, they can register for the district contest. The Northwest contest will be held on July 22, where the first place winner in each protein category receives $400, second place $250, third place $100, and fourth place $50. The top two winners from each protein area at the district contest are then eligible to compete in the state contest held at the University of Florida on October 14, 2017. For the state contest, the first place winner in each protein area receives a $1,500 college scholarship and the second place winner receives a $1,000 college scholarship.
We hope to see you at one of the many grilling opportunities offered throughout the Northwest District this summer through 4-H!
Day Camp Dates and Locations:
- June 5-9- Bay County Extension Office, Panama City, FL
- June 27-29-Holmes County Extension Office, Bonifay, FL
- June 27-29-Leon County Extension Office, Tallahassee, FL
- June 27-29-Liberty County Extension Office, Bristol, FL
- June 27-29-Washington County Extension Office, Chipley, FL
- July 5-6-Escambia County Extension Office, Cantonment, FL
- July 10-12-Walton County Extension Office, DeFuniak Springs, FL
Contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office to inquire about other Florida 4-H Tailgating Day Camps and to register for the District Contest. For more information, visit these sites: