Which came first, the chicken or the egg? The chicken will definitely come first for many Smith County 4-H’ers who choose to participate in the 4-H Chick Chain Project.
The 4-H Chick Chain gives 4-H members the opportunity to develop an understanding and working knowledge of good poultry management and marketing practices. As with any 4-H livestock project, Chick Chain teaches personal responsibility by working with animals that depend on the 4-H member to provide proper feed, housing, care, and management. The member also develops self-esteem and decision-making skills that will be beneficial throughout their life.
Smith County’s Chick Chain project involves a 4-H member purchasing baby chicks and raising them for laying hens. The day-old chicks should arrive in April. The 4-H member provides housing, brooding equipment, feeders, waterers, and feed.
After raising a set of birds in the Chick Chain Project, 4-H’ers participate in the Smith County 4-H Poultry Show which is held in October. The 4-H member selects their best three birds, and they are judged as a pen with the other entries. Trophies, ribbons, and prizes are awarded to the best entries. An auction will also take place where 4-H’ers will have the opportunity to sell their hens to local buyers.
Upon successful completion of the project, the 4-H member has a flock of laying hens. This often develops into a small business where the 4-H member may sell the excess eggs. Participants may also have fully developed laying hens available for sale.
Orders for this year’s Chick Chain are due in the 4-H office by Monday, February 1st. Australorps and Rhode Island Reds are this year’s breeds, and 4-H’ers can purchase between 12 and 25 chicks for $3 each. Order forms can be picked up at our office or found on our website at http://smith.tennessee.edu. If you have any questions or need more information, please call the Smith County Extension Office at 735-2900.