Dedication will be on display at ‘Chick Chain’

Published 4:21 pm Wednesday, September 7, 2016

Just over three months ago, the second annual “Chick Chain” project presented by the Chilton County Extension Office got under way when 19 participants from throughout the county between the ages of 9 to 16 picked out 10 chicks to take home.

The project will come to an end with the 2016 Alabama 4-H Chick Chain Show that will be held on Saturday at Chilton County Cattleman’s Barn on Airport Road beginning at 9:30 a.m.

Austin Cochran holds a grown “Speckled Sussex” hen as part of the 2016 Chick Chain project. He will participate in the show on Saturday. (Contributed Photo)

Kyle Ellis holds a grown “Speckled Sussex” hen as part of the 2016 Chick Chain project. He will participate in the show on Saturday. (Contributed Photo)

This year, the breeds include “Speckled Sussex” and “Dominique.”

Following a show of the participants and their chickens, an auction will be held and open to the public. Payment and pickup of chickens must occur the day of the show.

According to County Extension Coordinator Gay West, each of the Alabama 4-H club members picked up 10 chicks in April with the goal of bringing back two of their best hens to the show and sale.

“It’s a ‘small animal’ project so it is a successful way for kids to learn responsibility and life lessons, such as where food comes from,” West said. “It’s something that kids and parents could take part in together.”

The students involved in the project raised the chickens for nearly 21 weeks, while learning recommended practices for caring for their birds in the process.

According to Alabama 4-H County Agent Jo Walter, there were obstacles along the way during the project that included 4-foot rat snake that found its way inside one of the chicken coops and was eating the chicks.

“Predators are always something that may have to be dealt with,” Walter said.

The remaining eight birds stay with the member to provide eggs for the family or to sell. Each child completing the project will receive the initial investment they put in plus a t-shirt, prizes, ribbons and trophies.

“At the end of the day, it is an egg production project that teaches children how properly raise chickens and eventually turning eggs into an entrepreneurial opportunity,” Walter said. “They are right at the point of laying eggs, and that’s the accomplishment.”

Anyone interested in purchasing laying hens or with questions about other Alabama 4H programs can call the Chilton County Extension Office at (205) 280-6268.