Youth to showcase chicks at upcoming festival

On November 2, in conjunction with the LaRae Harvest Festival, youth from across Escambia County will be gathering to showcase the work they did this year as part of the Escambia County 4-H Chick Chain.

Prior to May, youth signed up to participate in the 4-H Chick Chain project and paid for the 10 freshly hatched pullet chicks they would get in May.

Chicks were ordered from Cackle Hatchery in Lebanon, Missouri and delivered to the Escambia County Extension Office.

Families picked up their 10 baby chicks from the Extension Office on May 15 and have since been responsible for feeding, watering, and all other essential care for their chicks.

Another essential element is that the youth are responsible to make sure their chicks are protected from the elements and from predators, which can include their own household pets or wild predators, and they make sure their chicks are immunized against diseases like fowl pox and avian influenza and we provide training to the youth to help them identify health concerns and teach youth and parents how to administer a vaccine themselves.

The project takes diligence and hard work from the youth, especially in summers like we had this year with high levels of heat extending into October.

We started off with 42 youth receiving chicks back in May and currently have 27 youth still active and participating as we head toward the show and sale on November 2nd.

At the show, youth will be competing for multiple prizes: Best Bird (awarded to best bird), Best Pen (awarded to best pair of birds), and Showmanship (awarded based on their record book and their evaluation by a judge on how they handle and answer questions about their birds), then all birds will be sold at the auction following the show. The show will start at 9am and the presentation of awards and sale will start at 11am.