Archived Story

Ruling the roost

Published 10:54am Tuesday, May 21, 2013

Tallapoosa County youths take on chicken challenge

A new Tallapoosa County 4-H project is taking wing, and children aren’t chickening out.

Shane Fuller feeds his chicks Monday afternoon. He and his brother Bradley each took home 16 chicks as part of the 4-H Chick Chain project. | Alison James
Shane Fuller feeds his chicks Monday afternoon. He and his brother Bradley each took home 16 chicks as part of the 4-H Chick Chain project. | Alison James

The 4-H Chick Chain project has been available in Alabama about three years, and this year about 20 children from throughout the county are participating.

“It’s not just raising chickens,” said Kirsten Holt, 4-H regional extension agent. “There’s more to it than raising chickens.”

But raising chickens is where it starts. Children are provided with eight barred Plymouth Rocks and eight Rhode Island Red chicks. They are tasked with raising and taking care of the chicks.

“Whatever happens they are going to document,” Holt said. “It’s definitely a project that hits a lot of different life skills.”

Children received their chicks Friday. Thirty-two of the cheeping fluffballs went home with Bradley and Shane Fuller.

“I wanted to raise eggs to sell, so I got my brother to help me and we got these to raise up,” Shane said.

Bradley and Shane are no strangers to chicken-raising. They had to sell several of the mixed-breed chickens they already had to make room for the chicks.

The boys said they enjoy raising chickens.

“It’s mainly easy to raise them,” Shane said. “It’s fun getting to see them grow up and how fast they grow.”

And when they told dad Darren Fuller they wanted to participate in Chick Chain, he was all for it.

“I was proud for them. I thought it was a good idea,” Darren said. “I think they’ll learn a lot of responsibility.”

Learning – responsibility, management, entrepreneurship, leadership and more – is an integral part of the program.

“Everything we do is career exploration,” said Tallapoosa County Extension coordinator Shane Harris. “You’re introducing them into a whole different world of things – in this case, animal science. At that early age, you never know when that might spark an interest to go into biology, animal science or production. You just never know.”

Students will be able to display the fruits of their labor at the Lee County Fair, where they will compete in breed classes and showmanship. Each child will bring his or her top three birds in one breed to compete and then to auction off.

Until then, the 4-H extension agents try to stay hands off.

“We will visit them, though, to see how the project is going,” Harris said.

Agents are also looking for sponsors to help defray program costs. To find out more or become a sponsor, call Harris at 256-825-1050.


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