Select Page

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.

 

Heading into Summer with 4-H Fun and Sun Safety

Summer is right around the corner. As much as we all love the sunshine feeling on our face and body, too much of a good thing can be harmful!  It is always important to remember our family’s well-being, take responsibility for our personal safety, and make healthy decisions, even while having a fun time. Here are some short sun safety reminders to make your summer a fun and enjoyable experience for you and your family members!

SUN SAFETY

Plan Your Day Around the Clock

The sun shares its most harmful rays in the middle of the day so plan this time for indoor use. The sun’s rays are most harmful between the hours of 10 AM and 4 PM so make outdoor time in the early morning or early evening when it is less intense.  This also keeps your food at safer temperatures as well so your ice (or you) won’t melt as fast.

Protect Your Body

Spraying sunscreen on arm

Look for SPF 30 or higher sunscreen.

One of the easiest defenses against the sun is sometimes one of the most forgotten, sunscreen! Be sure to lather up in sunscreen BEFORE you go outside.  The American Academy of Dermatology recommends liberally applying a sunscreen that is at least SPF 30 or higher, as these formulas will block UVA and UVB rays. Be sure to apply at least 30 minutes prior to going outside.  Once outside, continue to apply sunscreen every two hours or after swimming.  Not sure what kind of sunscreen blocks UVA and UVB rays?  Look for a sunscreen that is SPF 30 or higher with the ingredients zinc oxide or titanium dioxide as these ingredients will do the job.  Remember to coat your ears, neck, tops of feet, etc.

Remember to grab your sunglasses too!  Your eyeballs are just as sensitive as your skin so blocking UVA and UBA rays from your eyes are important to.  Fashionable sunglasses are great if you are into that but being able to protect your eyes is the goal.

Limit Time

dog wearing sunglasses

Remember to keep your pets cool too!

Most everyone enjoys getting outside this time of year to soak up some sunshine and enjoy the beautiful day. In fact, it’s true that some amount of sunlight is healthy for your body and mind. However, as we know all too well sometimes, too much exposure can be detrimental and lead to sunburn, heat exhaustion and more. Thus, it is a good idea to find balance by setting a time limit on sun exposure, if possible. If time slips past you because you and your family are having too much fun, set an alarm as a friendly reminder. Make this your “shade time” for a water break, game of cards, or a brief nap. Be sure to always have an umbrella or tent on hand in case no shade is available.

Hydrate

It is very easy to get dehydrated in the summertime.  Drink water throughout the day.  Don’t wait until you get hot and thirsty. Drink water to maintain your hydration before it is depleted.  This will help avoid those nasty summer headaches and tummy aches.  Taking your pet with you?  Don’t forget Fido’s water bowl too!

4-H PROGRAMMING  

UV Bead Activity

Looking for a really cool lesson to teach your children about the risk factors associated with sun exposure and UV rays? Check out this 4-H activity  4-H + Me = Health: Sun Safety from Minnesota Extension Service’s Exploring Your Body, Helper’s Guide. In this activity, children can make their own beaded bracelets that change colors when exposed to UV light. This is a great way for children to understand UV light, cloud coverage, sunscreen SPFs and more!

UV Beads with no sun

UV Beads with no sun exposure.

4-H has plenty of educational programming, both outdoors and indoors, to keep your children engaged this summer!  From gardening to robots, archery to grilling, 4-H has something for everyone.  If you are looking for fun, educational activities during the summer while maintaining a safe environment for your child, please contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office, or visit http://florida4h.org

 

UV Beads with sun exposure

UV Beads with sun exposure.

 

2022 Area North Show

2022 Area North Show

Horse Show


Youth from across north Florida gathered to compete at the 2022 Area

image of bridle bags

2022 Area North High Point Division Winners bridle bags.

North Horse Show in Clay County. Area shows take place throughout the state and serve as a qualifying show for the state show which takes place this summer. This is not just another horse show though, these 4-H Area shows are unique in that these shows are just one part of the larger project these youth are involved in. At the beginning of each year, youth declare which horses they will be working with. They are then responsible for working with their horses to learn more about equine sciences and to prepare for the various show and project opportunities such as workshops and shows. At the 2022 Area show, youth had the opportunity to participate in various disciplines including western, hunter, speed, and ranch divisions. Youth were eligible to earn ribbons, high points, and versatility awards. What youth are achieving inside the arena is second to that of what is being developed in our youth outside the arena.

Outside the Arena

image of showmanship award winner

2022 Area North Horse Show Sportsmanship award winner.


Image of Terry Stout Area North Volunteer of the Year

2022 Area North Volunteer of the Year.

In addition to the competition in the arena, youth and volunteers are recognized for their efforts outside the arena with various awards such as the sportsmanship and volunteer of the year awards. Horse projects and shows offer youth a chance to develop life skills, while loosing themselves in the magic of a horse. Horses demand responsibility, decision making, communication, among many other life skills. While some youth will be recognized for their success with ribbons, all of our youth are building skills that will carry them throughout their lifetimes. All of this though is not possible without the support and tireless effort put in by our volunteers. Thank you to all of our volunteers who made this even possible and congratulations to our 2022 volunteer of the year!

Congratulations to all the youth who competed and qualified for the State 4-H Horse Show later this year. To see a full list of qualifiers, click here. If you want to learn more about how you can get involved!

Happy Earth Day 2022

Happy Earth Day Everyone! 4-H has a wonderful recycling project for you to do with little ones as an activity for Earth Day. The exciting part is that you will most likely have the materials around your house!

The activity is the creation of a recycled paper pot. This is a great way to start seeds inside to watch them grow. Then, you can transfer the pot and all into the ground when the plant is bigger.

image of recycled newspaper pot

Great way to start seeds and recycle

Of course, you can buy special seed trays. You can recycle old nursery trays and pots if you clean them properly with a mild solution of bleach and water and rinsed well. You can also use disposable cups, or you can sow seeds in old deli trays, rotisserie chicken containers, milk jugs, almost anything that will hold a couple inches of soil.

However, the 4-H paper pot is another fun recycling project that is easy to do. These are biodegradable pots that will last about 6 weeks before they disintegrate. This project is an easy seed starting activity for all ages! It’s a great way to teach responsibility, record keeping, teamwork, and care for living things. Plus, you can save money and resources by making your own paper pots to start your seeds.

For this project, you will need

  • Newspaper or other paper cut into strips (not glossy inserts)
  • A Container, bottle, can or jar that can be wrapped in paper (not glass)
  • Soil
  • Seeds 

What to do:

  1.  Cut strips of newspaper or regular paper about 4” wide.
  2.  Wrap strip of newspaper around an empty container and roll fairly tight.
  3.  Scoot paper down so the paper will reach the half way point and when folded. It should overlap the open end of the container.
  4.  Fold the ends of the paper against the bottom of the container, starting where the paper meets the on the outside.
  5. Push the bottom of the container against a flat, hard surface (such as a table) to seal the bottom of your pot.
  6. Pull the container out and you have a finished paper pot. Fill with soil and plant your seeds.
  7.  When the seedling is ready to transplant, simply drop the entire pot into the ground.

The newspaper will biodegrade in your garden or pot. Your plant will never be uprooted and continue to grow undisturbed. When planted make sure the paper is not sticking out of the ground. If the paper is above ground it will wick water away from the plant.

4-H garden

Photo of succulent garden at entry of NSA-PC Youth Center Created by 4-H Garden Club

You can print a PDF version of the instructions for this activity.
Other great gardening resources include:
Florida Vegetable Gardening Guide 
Florida Planting Calendar by Region 
Florida AG in the Classroom 
Junior Master Gardener Program 
If you have a green thumb, consider becoming a 4-H gardening volunteer! 4-H needs caring adults like you to share their knowledge and passion for gardening with the next generation. Through the 4-H gardening project or other environmental focused programs.To get involved, contact your local UF IFAS Extension Office, or visit Florida 4-H. We hope you will consider making the best better with 4-H. 

The Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (IFAS) is an Equal Employment Opportunity-Affirmative Action Employer authorized to provide research educational information and other services only to individuals and institutions that function without regard to race, creed, color, sex, age, handicap, or national origin. U.S. DEPARTMENT OF AGRICULTURE, COOPERATIVE EXTENSION SERVICE, UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA, IFAS, FLORIDA A & M UNIVERSITY COOPERATIVE EXTENSION PROGRAM, AND BOARDS OF COUNTY COMMISSIONERS COOPERATING.

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.

 

 

2022 Changes for the Florida 4-H Area Shows

2022 Changes for the Florida 4-H Area Shows

In 2022, there have been some shifts in the area to state horse show qualification guidelines. In years past youth have an assigned area horse show they must participate in through which they can qualify for the state horse show. Due to a couple of areas being unable to host their shows for various reasons, the two remaining area shows have been opened up to accommodate the qualifying process. As such, there are new guidelines and stipulations everyone should be aware of.

4-H Youth participating at Area Horse Show.

  1. For the 2022 show year only, a 4-H member may elect to show at any Area show of their choice to qualify for the state show. Ideally, youth will select to compete in their own area show first, as this is the most convenient to them.
  2. Qualification for the state show is based on the participation and qualification at the Area level.

This complex process is new for this year, so if you plan to show at the Area North Show, we recommend reading the 2022 plan passed out by the state thoroughly. That plan can be found here: https://animal.ifas.ufl.edu/extension/youth/horse/4h-shows/area-shows/.

The Area North Show is held in Green Cove Springs, Florida at the Clay County Fairgrounds. Show dates for 2022, are April 29-30. If you have any questions or concerns about these changes, please follow up with your 4-H agent, so that any questions can be addressed before the close of Area North Horse Show registration on April 1, 2022.