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Southeast Alabama 4-H to hold annual Chicken Chain Show and Auction

The 2014 Southeast Alabama 4-H Chick Chain Show and Auction will be held Saturday, October 18th, at the Ag-Plex Arena in Ozark, AL. Youth from eight counties will compete in the show…. the counties include Barbour, Coffee, Crenshaw, Dale, Geneva, Henry, Houston, and Pike County.

This event marks the completion of an 18-20 week project where 4-H members have cared for and raised 18 pullets (young female chickens).

Eight Crenshaw County 4-H’ers participated. The group included Autumn Bullock, Brady McCullough, Charisse Webb, Connor Cox, Destiny Bell, Hunter Adair-Oberer, Jennifer Williams and Reagan McGough. At least four members will participate in the Ozark event.

These 4-H’ers began their journey by selecting 18 tiny day old chicks (six each of three breeds) with the intention to grow egg-laying birds. The youth will select the three best birds of the same breed from their flock to bring to the 4-H Chick Chain Show and Auction. Once there, each pen of three pullets will be judged based on health and appearance of the birds. Breeds represented at the show include some of the best egg-layers: Buff Orpington, Light Brahma, Silver Laced Wyandotte, Rhode Island Red and Easter Egger.  Grand and reserve champion winners will be awarded by county and overall by breed.

Additionally, the youth may go on to compete in showmanship events at 2 p.m. that afternoon, which highlight the animal husbandry knowledge and skills that the 4-H’ers have learned throughout the project. These events will include having students handle and show birds, and also interview with the judges. Half of the showmanship score is based on each youth’s accuracy, creativity, and neatness in keeping records for his or her flock. Showmanship winners will be awarded by age division.

After the competition concludes, the auction will begin!  Starting at 4 pm, each pen of three birds will be auctioned to the highest bidder…. and the general public is welcome to attend and participate in the auction.  These pullets are from a NPIP certified hatchery (clean from Pullorum-Typhoid and Avian Influenza) and were also vaccinated against Marek’s disease. The 4-H’ers have followed strict regimens and guidelines to produce the healthiest birds possible. Oh, they’ve also given them plenty of TLC too!

And just what happens to the rest of the birds left at home?  Each youth is allowed to keep his or her remaining flock.  Some of the youth plan to sell their birds, while others have become so attached to their pets they cannot bear to be parted. Yet others have decided to become entrepreneurs, producing and selling eggs. Regardless of the path chosen, these youth have learned responsibility and life skills throughout this 4-H project.

Join the fun Saturday, Oct. 18, at the Ag-Plex Arena in Ozark for the Show and Auction. For questions or interest in joining 4-H, please contact us at the Barbour County Extension Office (334) 775-3284.