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Keep your chickens chill this summer

With temperatures already posting in the 90s this month, it’s a good idea to make sure your backyard chickens are ready for the coming summer heat. Poultry can become heat stressed when temperatures rise above 80 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat stress affects egg production as well as size, shell quality, and hatchability. It also affects appetite and growth in younger birds.

Add ice cubes to your chickens water to cool them down.

Add ice cubes to your chickens water to cool them down.

To minimize heat stress in your backyard flock, there are several things you can do.

  1. Make sure your coop is well ventilated for cross air movement. Trim vegetation and limbs that might block air flow. You can also add a fan to help move air throughout the coop.
  2. Locate your coop in a shaded area surrounded by grass. Grass reduces light reflection into the coop.
  3. Provide cool water in shaded locations for your birds. Ice cubes and frozen water bottles can help cool water down. Feed consumption will likely decrease during this time but shouldn’t give you alarm.
  4. Provide occasional frozen treats like watermelon and peas. Fill a container with fruit or vegetables, add water, and freeze. The chickens will peck at it as it thaws.
  5. Misters, shallow wading pools, and dust baths can help chickens cool down.
Chickens pant to dissipate heat.

Chickens pant to dissipate heat from their bodies.

Chickens don’t sweat. Instead, they dissipate heat from their wattles, legs, under the wings and through panting. Watch out for signs of heat stress that might include

  • heavy panting
  • wings held out from the body
  • lethargic, sluggish behavior
  • pale combs and wattles.

To learn more about keeping your backyard chickens healthy during the summer, contact your local UF/IFAS Extension office.

 

2022 4-H Chick Chain Results

Youth holding chicken and ribbon

Pullet Grand Champion Audrey S.

4-Hers from across the Northwest Extension District wrapped up their 2021-2022 4-H Chick Chain projects at the district show on March 12th. In October, the 4-Hers began caring for their baby chicks in a brooder then transitioned them to a coop. They learned poultry showmanship skills and how to bathe their birds and make them look their best for their show throughout the project. They also learned biosecurity basics to protect their birds and themselves from disease and illness.

The NWD District Chick Chain Show is the culminating experience for this project. After checking in their birds, 4-Hers participated in a skill-a-thon to test their poultry science knowledge. The showmanship contest gave them a chance to show off how they check their birds health, present their bird to the judge, and explain how they care for and prepare their birds for show.

 

 

Congratulations to our 2021-2022 4-H Chick Chain Project 4-Hers. Below are the final results for the show.

Reserve & Grand Champion youth holding prizes

Pullet Grand Champion Audrey S. & Reserve Ryder H.

Senior Skill-a-thon 2nd place Owen Bender & 1st place Roger Nemeth

Senior Skill-a-thon 2nd place Owen B. &; 1st place Roger N.

Photography winners holding thier images and prizes

Blue ribbon photography Catherine G. &; Alison C.

Youth holding their winning prizes for Junior Showmanship

Junior Showmanship 1st place Kadence A., 2nd place Jocelyn B., 3rd place Kasen M.

Intermediate Showmanship winners

Intermediate Showmanship 1st place Emma W., 2nd place Emily F., 3rd place Adly C.

Senior Showmanship winners

Senior Showmanship winners 2nd place Owen Bender, 1st place Roger Nemeth

 

 

Best of Breed Winners

Best of Breed Winners-Australorp-Blair P., Brahma-Audrey S., Delaware-Samuel R., Plymouth Rock-Jocelyn B., Orpington-Ryder H., Rhode Island Red-Riley B., Sussex-Aubrey M., Wyandotte-Owen B.

Production Winners holding thier prizes

Production Division-Grand Champion Colton H. & Reserve Emma W.

 

 

4-H Teen Retreat is Back!

The Northwest District 4-H Teen Retreat is back and promises to be better than ever!Advertisement for 4-H Teen Retreat Feb. 25-27

Planned FOR 4-Hers BY 4-Hers, the weekend long retreats features leadership building and fun workshops for 12-18 years old youth.

Mark your calendars for February 25-27, 2022, and register NOW in 4honline for the NWD 4-H District Teen Retreat at 4-H Camp Timpoochee.

Friday’s Schedule
6:00-7:15 pm – Check-in & pizza
7:15pm – Welcome & District Intros
8:00 pm – Campfire

Saturday’s Schedule
8:30am – Breakfast
9:15am – Group Pic
9:30-11:30am – Workshop Sessions
12:00pm – Lunch
1:00-2:45pm – FUNshop Sessions
3:00pm – Rec Time – 4-Hers vs Agents Kickball & Nine-Square
5:00pm – Service Project
6:00pm – Dinner

Group of youth at Teen Retreat event

2019 Teen Retreat

7:00pm – District & State Events Reports
7:30pm – Dance, Games & Snacks
9:00pm – Music, Campfire & Smore’s

Sunday’s Schedule
7:00pm – Rise & Shine, pack-up

FUNshop Sessions – when you register, you’ll rank your top three choices from the list below:

  • TikTok & Line Dancing
  • Shooting Sports
  • Drawing
  • Grilling
  • Cake Decorating

Packing List

2020 Teen Retreat Participants

  • Sheets, blanket & pillow
  • Towel, toiletries & shower shoes
  • 2-3 changes of clothes & sleep clothes – be sure to check the weather and be prepared!
  • Daily meds – Put all OTC and Rx meds in a large ziploc bag and give to your 4-H Agent.
  • $ for camp store, snacks & drinks while traveling

Your 4-H Agent will coordinate county travel to and from the event, and you should check with them if you have specific questions. We can’t wait to see you at the 2022 NWD 4-H Teen Retreat!

 

 

Meet the Author – Julie P. Dillard

Hello, Northwest District 4-H family! My name is Julie Pigott Dillard, and I’m the County Extension Director and 4-H Agent in Washington County. Since 2007, I’ve worked with an amazing team of volunteers who have brought a wide range of expertise and projects to 4-Hers.

Serving as a 4-H volunteer is an incredible gift to the youth of our county, and I take my role in supporting Washington County 4-H volunteers seriously. I especially like to create and find resources that makes volunteering for 4-H easier. I want my volunteers to focus most of their efforts on working directly with youth.

baby chick in incubatorWhen I was young, I hatched, raised, and exhibited chickens and participated in 4-H and FFA poultry judging.  My 4-H position allows me to work with teachers who present the embryology project in their classrooms. We have a have a strong poultry exhibition and showmanship contest show at our annual Washington County Youth Fair that I teach youth how to prepare for each year. I also work with my Livestock 4-H Club volunteers so they can support their club members through their poultry projects. But what I enjoy most is seeing older or more experienced 4-Hers work with new showmen teaching them skills and tips to do their best at a show.

One of my other specialties has become the 4-H shotgun project. Several years ago, I realized this was an area where I could plug in and help my district. I started coordinating district-wide trainings in the shooting sports disciplines. Then, my oldest son found his niche in the shotgun project, so I started learning all I could about it. Now, I coordinate that project for the state and have created virtual matches and fall matches to give 4-Hers more opportunities for competition. I’ve also created support documents like youth record books and inventory and inspection records for volunteers. One accomplishment that has helped volunteers greatly is creating interactive, online modules to teach part 1 of the Level 1 4-H Shooting Sports Instructor Certification.

I’m a University of Florida alumni with a BS in agricultural education and communication and an MS in Extension education. In May 2022, I’ll graduate from the Florida State University with a Doctorate in Education in Learning Design and Performance Technology. My husband, Nick, and I have two boys, Cole and Cass. Cole is a new 4-H alumni attending Jacksonville University in the fall and will be a member of their shotgun team. Cass plays percussion in concert band and is an officer and member of Sure Shots 4-H Club. As soon as I finish my degree, I’ll be back reading, kayaking, and gardening as much as possible!

Instagram Basics for 4-H Clubs

A sample instagram post from Washington County 4-HThere’s no one size fits all approach to marketing your 4-H club or letting people know the good stuff that’s going on in 4-H. But, it just got a little easier. Social media can be an efficient way to communicate with 4-H families and also recognize the great things 4-Hers are doing! Like Facebook, you can now have multiple Instagram accounts. I just created an Instagram account for Washington County 4-H, so naturally, I want to make it work for my 4-H program. Here are some tips to make your Instagram page stand out.

Which Type of Account?– Instagram offers three different types of accounts: personal, creative, and business. For 4-H Clubs, the best bet is a Business account.

Think Visual Impact – Facebook is a text/visual platform, Twitter is a text only platform, and Instagram is a visual platform. So use Instagram to share images and videos with your audience. Choose a single image that is impactful, that tells a story, that showcases one thing. Build your post around a single person, an event, behind the scenes, re-post from your followers, motivate, or educational posts on how to do or make something.

Don’t Overshare – Be choosy about which photo you share on Instagram. You might upload an entire album to Facebook, but use Instagram to feature your most dynamic photo. Stay away from posting similar photos, and don’t post more than once a day. 

Filters – When you upload your photo, you can enhance it using filters. You can also adjust brightness, contrast, structure, and warmth. Remember, you want that one photo to stand out and be impactful. 

Build Your Audience – Let your club members, parents, and supporters know where to find you. Include links to your pages in all of your emails, texts, marketing materials, articles, etc. 

Videos – You can also upload videos that are one minute or less in length.

Go Live – Here’s a great way to show what’s going on right now in your club. Share a 4-Her shooting skeet, showing livestock, taking a cake out of the oven, working on a sewing project or practicing a showmanship pattern.

Check out these resources to help you get the most out of Instagram. Be sure to review the UF policies on social media to protect youth privacy, or plan to attend our webinar March 18th at 6pm central/7pm eastern to learn policies, tips and tricks for using social media to enhance your club!

Resources: