Can you feel it? The promise of spring is in the air. Pollen is falling, grass is greening up, azaleas are blooming and it’s time to kick off the 2016 Florida 4-H Chick Chain project. This program is designed to help youth learn how to raise baby chicks to laying age while learning responsibility, record keeping and communication skills. How does the 4-H Chick Chain work? Youth will select two breeds of chickens to raise and take ownership of 12 baby chicks. Breeds include:
- Pearl White Leghorn
- Rhode Island Red
- Golden Laced Wyandotte
- Polish Top Hat
- Buff Brahma
Youth will raise the chicks to about 22 weeks old and then participate in a district show and showmanship contest with their three best pullets (young hens less than one-year-old) from one breed. If there is more than one child in your family, you can choose to share one project.
The 4-H Chick Chain is designed to take you step by step through the process of raising your birds to healthy laying age. Before you take ownership of your chicks, you’ll participate in a youth/parent workshop where you’ll receive a production manual and tips to make your project a success. During the summer, there will be a care and showmanship workshop in your 4-H district. Your 4-H Agent or volunteer will also make a home visit to check up on your progress. We’ll also have a record book workshop to help you tackle the record keeping part of your project.
The 4-H Chick Chain is open to all youth ages 5-18. Registration cost is $50 and includes your 12 chicks, production manual and entry for the show and showmanship contest.
How do I sign up? To register for the 4-H Chick Chain, click here: 2016 Chick Chain Registration Form. Follow the instructions on the registration form, and contact your 4-H Agent if you have questions. Youth who participated in the 2015 4-H Chick Chain can register their hens to show in a production class.
If you have a love of poultry that you would like to share with others, consider becoming a 4-H poultry project leader. Volunteer positions are currently available to support 4-H Embryology in the Classroom, Chick Chain, and 4-H Poultry Clubs. Contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office or visit http://florida4h.org/volunteers to find out more.