Auburn, Ala.—Alabama’s 4-H Chick Chain project has had growing success since 2013. It has expanded from just a few counties participating to almost a majority of the 67 counties taking part in the 4-H program.
Targeted at Alabama youth 9 to 19, it teaches young people recommended management practices for growing and raising chickens. Participation helps youth develop poultry management skills, learn to produce healthy chickens, develop awareness of business management, develop record-keeping skills (income and expenses), contribute to their home food supply and realize the pride of accomplishment.
“The 4-H Chick Chain project really embodies the four essential elements of 4-H, which we call the BIGM: Belonging (youth become part of an inclusive environment); Independence (youth realize their own self-determination); Generosity (youth learn the value of teamwork and service to others); and Mastery (youth ultimately become responsible and competent, while honing their presentation skills), said Doug Summerford, a 4-H Foundation regional agent with the Alabama Cooperative Extension System.
One of the most important aspects of the Chick Chain project is gaining knowledge through experience because it’s through this competency that our Chick Chainers learn and practice skills that will benefit them throughout life.
Logan Cox is one such 4-H’er from Houston County who has embraced the BIGM through his two years of participating in the Chick Chain project.
Logan shared about his experience.
“For starters, the Chick Chain project has equipped me with the knowledge to take care of something besides myself. I have learned to take a newly hatched chick and raise it to a full grown chicken through feeding, watering, building shelter, protecting from prey, breeding and vaccinating. He started with 18 birds and now has 60 birds.
“This project has helped build my character with social skills giving me tools to share what I have learned with others. I have developed a love for poultry and that has given me direction for my future plans.”
Logan has become an entrepreneur through raising his birds to sell, and he has a regular clientele for purchasing eggs. With the money that he has earned, he is able to purchase all the feed, buy new birds and put money in his savings account for college.
“Logan is clearly thinking ahead and about his future,” said Summerford. “He and his parents have shared with me that he may one day pursue a poultry science major at Auburn University. Although he’s only 14, Logan has found that raising poultry makes him happy and gives him opportunities to share his experiences not only with his fellow Chick Chainers, but with the public as well. Logan has worked the 4-H poultry exhibit at Landmark Park (Alabama’s Official Museum of Agriculture) for the past two years, talking with the public and sharing his knowledge of backyard poultry husbandry.”
Summerford said that Chick Chain is just one of the many Alabama 4-H programs that builds skills and new abilities in its participants.
Last year, Alabama 4-H, the state’s largest youth organization, worked with more than 138,000 youth. You can help Alabama 4-H reach more children and teens this year by contributing to Give to Grow 4-H. When you give to 4-H, you enrich young lives through designated support of a project area, event, scholarship or improved facilities.
Supporting Give to Grow
- Cash—This is the easiest way of giving to 4-H. Make checks payable to the Alabama 4-H Club Foundation, Inc., and mail to 227 Duncan Hall, Auburn, University, 36849
- Credit Cards—Visit the Alabama 4-H Club Foundation website at alabama4hfoundation.org for details about giving by credit card.
- Other ways to give—Securities, corporate matching gifts and planned deferred gifts are a few of the additional ways to give. For more options, visit the Alabama 4-H Club Foundation website at alabama4hfoundation.org.