CACKLE CLUB: 4-H’ers pick up chicks from Extension Office

Published 3:00 am Thursday, May 11, 2017

Things were rather quiet at the Pike County Extension Office early Wednesday morning, anxiously quiet.

The arrival of more than 400 baby chicks had been delayed and 4-H’ers from Pike and four other counties were expecting to pick up their chicks within a few ticks of the clock.

Emily Rolling, 4-H Regional Extension Agent, said the chicks were hatched on May 8 at the Cackle Hatchery in Missouri and were being shipped by U.S. Postal Service.

Sign up for our daily email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

“We had the pullets tracked and learned they were on the way from Atlanta to Montgomery and would arrive there in an hour so we sent a van to pick them up and bring them to the Extension office.”

The 4-H’ers were notified of the later arrival of their chicks and by mid afternoon the pullets were on their way “home.”

“Four-H’ers from Pike, Covington, Crenshaw, Bullock and Macon are participating in the Cackle Club,” Rolling said. “Each 4-H’er gets six pullets of their choice of Rhode Island Reds, Buff Orf Penningtons or Barred Plymouth Rocks. They will raise the pullets for showing at county fairs in Pike and Covington counties in October.”

After the shows, the 4-H’ers can either sell their hens or keep them. Rolling said most of the kids keep their hens for the eggs to sell or for family use.

“Those who decided to sell their hens will have good hens to sell,” she said.

The Cackle Club is a learning experience for its members. They learn the ins and outs of raising chickens. They learn responsibility and something about salesmanship and marketing.

Noah and Jacob Dunn are Pike County 4-H’ers and this is their first year as members of the Cackle Club. But it’s not their first experience with laying hens.

“We have chickens at home so we know about chickens and eggs,” Noah said with a smile. “I wanted to participate in 4-H so I could raise pullets and show them at the fair.”

Jacob said he knows something about chicks from the batch his family has.

“We have a lot of eggs,” he said. “We eat them and we sell them, too.”

Noah said he and Jacob have made the necessary preparations for taking their Barred Plymouth Rock pullets home.

“We have something like a bottle for them to drink from and a pan for their feed,” he said. “We’ll keep them in the house in a tub because they are so little. The tub will have a light in it to keep them warm.”

The soft baby chicks will grow into well-fed, well cared for hens. Come October, Noah and Jacob will show the pick of their hens with hopes of taking home blue ribbons. Then they will take the hens home, for they’ll have work to do.