Regardless of the age-old debate, “which came first, the chicken or the egg?” one thing is certain- raising chickens is a big responsibility. One of the most creative ways that some of our Florida 4-Hers are learning the importance of being responsible is through the 4-H Chick Chain program.
This year, twelve counties in the Florida Panhandle participated in the 2017 Chick Chain project. The goal of this project was to help youth learn life and workforce skills while learning how to raise and show chickens. Ninety Florida 4-H members chose to take on the responsibility of raising 12, two-day old chicks from March through September. Over the course of the program, youth participated in workshops to learn how to care for their chicks and biosecurity measures, how to keep records of their project, and how to prepare their birds for a show. A final Chick Chain Show & Auction was held on Saturday, September 30, 2017 as a culminating event for youth to demonstrate their competence in poultry showmanship, record book completion, and poultry skillathon.
Life skills were clearly present in every aspect of the 4-H Chick Chain program which aided youth in the further development of not only responsibility but also confidence, capability, and compassion. When surveyed about his experiment, one youth shared, “Chick Chain is a great opportunity to learn about responsibility and respect for other people and animals. I love it!”
If you would like to help 4-H grow responsibility in your community (through this program or others) consider becoming a 4-H volunteer! For more information about next year’s 4-H Chick Chain program, contact your local UF IFAS County Extension Office.