Smith County 4-H News – By Katie Clark – Smith County Extension Agent

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.

T-Bone and Bailey Chapman picking up their baby chicks from the 2017 Chick Chain

The 4-H Chick Chain gives 4-H members the opportunity to develop an understanding and working knowledge for good poultry management and marketing practices. As with any 4-H livestock project, the 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 from the 4-H office and raising them for laying hens. The day old chicks usually arrive the last week of March. 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 to be 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 prize money are awarded to the best entries. An auction will also take place where 4-H’ers will have the opportunity to sell three of 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 available, for sale, fully developed laying hens.

Orders for this year’s Chick Chain are due in the 4-H office by Friday, February 2nd. If you have any questions or need more information, please call the Smith County Extension Office at 735-2900.