BROOKINGS, S.D. - Sixty-two South Dakota youth attended two Poultry Day Camps held in Mitchell and Aberdeen late April where they learned about poultry care, biosecurity, nutrition, showmanship and show preparation.
"As more communities across South Dakota are allowing poultry within city limits, the State 4-H Office along with Dr. Rosie Nold, Assistant Department Head and Associate Professor in the Animal Science department decided to organize these day camps," explained Hilary Rossow, SDSU Extension State 4-H Animal Projects Coordinator.
A grant through the U.S. Poultry Foundation helped fund the events and ensured there was no cost to participants.
Along with Rossow and Nold, several volunteers helped organize the events which included presentations by Dr. Todd Tedrow and Dr. Craig Hanson from the South Dakota Animal Industry Board; Brett LeBrun, Territory Sales Representative with Alltech and poultry producers, Reynold Loecker and Mike Hassebroek.
Tedrow and Hanson presented on and answered questions concerning poultry disease detection, prevention and best practices for implementing biosecurity measures to ensure birds stay healthy.
LeBrun spoke about proper nutrition for each life stage as well as reading feed tags.
Loecker and Hassebroek brought their own chickens to show youth and their parents how to handle birds, select birds for exhibition and proper showmanship techniques.
Youth had the opportunity to demonstrate what they learned during the day camp when they were placed on teams to participate in a Poultry Quiz Bowl.
More on 4-H poultry
In 2016, 1592 youth enrolled in 4-H poultry.
"This is particularly encouraging as there were no poultry exhibitions in the 2014-15 4-H Year due to Avian Influenza," Rossow said.
Through 4-H, youth have an opportunity to exhibit poultry and eggs projects. These projects help them develop showmanship skills as well as learn about poultry production, processing and biosecurity, and identifying and evaluating different breeds and species of poultry.
"Because poultry are generally small, require little feed, space or start-up costs, and because they are welcomed in many South Dakota communities, the poultry project is an excellent opportunity for youth in South Dakota to learn about animals in a hands-on manner without the need for a lot of land and capital," Rossow said.
SDSU Extension's 4-H Youth Development Program is a partnership of federal (USDA), state (Land Grant University), and county resources through youth outreach activities of SDSU Extension. Youth learn and experience Leadership, Health and Wellness, Science and Ag-Vocacy through a network of professional staff and volunteers reaching more than 9,000 enrolled members with yearly programming efforts to an additional 35,000 youth participants.