Kids pick up chicks for 4-H project

Published 10:04 am Friday, May 31, 2013

Dozens came through the doors of the Lawrence County Courthouse, placed their bags on the scanner’s conveyor belt, walked through the metal detector and some even had the uniformed guard go over them with the wand detector — all to pick up their baby chickens as the courthouse took on the role of Ohio’s most secure chicken coop.

Thursday’s chick pick-up day was part of a 4-H project in which children 8-18 years old will take home ten 1-day-old chicks and raise them to show and sell at the Lawrence County Fair, Holly Brooks, Lawrence County 4-H program assistant, said.

“We hope this project will help teach them basic responsibilities associated with raising an animal,” Brooks said. “The majority of them have been around farms their whole lives, so for many raising animals is nothing new.”

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The market project is designed to have kids raise the chicks with the sole purpose of selling them for market. The chicks are a hybrid breed, designed to grow quickly and be ready for the table in six to eight weeks, Brooks said. The children will take their best two to the fair to be judged in competition and then sold.

Project participants were given project books explaining everything involved April 1, Brooks said. She said they also attending quality assurance sessions and other activities to prepare them for taking care of the chickens and for what must be done when the time comes.

“Super Roasters,” the breed used in this project, grow so quickly they must be processed within the 6-8 week period or risk growing to a size their legs cannot support, Brooks said.

“I personally try not to have those conversations with the kids,” Brooks said. “I feel that’s up to the parents to do. I do hope they are truthful though, because this is a market project and these aren’t pets.”

Connor Franklin, 12-year-old Fairland student, said the project book and classes have prepared him for this project and he is looking forward to completing it.

“It’s been a lot of hard work, but I’m ready,” Franklin said. “We already have chickens on our farm and we wanted to learn more.”

Franklin explained how he must feed the chicks the highest-protein feed and said he plans to add electrolytes to the water to help keep the chicks healthy after their stressful journey from the hatchery.

Brooks said 32 participants signed up and paid to receive their 10 chicks. The birds came from Eagles Nest Poultry in Oceola.