With a stop movement order in place for the state’s poultry industry, 4-H members have created innovative projects for the Kansas State Fair.
HUTCHINSON, Kan. – Andrew Noll is the self-proclaimed “original bird nerd.” The 14-year-old 4-H member from Jefferson County, Kansas, enjoys raising Black Rosecomb Bantam chickens as his poultry project. But, rather than showing his chickens at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson this year, Noll recorded a video that will be on display throughout the fair, Sept. 11-20.
Noll is one of more than 2,200 Kansas 4-H’ers in the poultry project, and he has one of the 110 poultry exhibits signed up for state fair entry. Those planning to attend the fair will notice the poultry barn will still have the cages and coops set up, but rather than hearing the clucks, squawks and crows of birds, they will hear looping videos and have the opportunity to read posters. Poultry demonstrations will take place the first Saturday of the fair, Sept. 12.
In June, the Kansas Department of Agriculture declared a stop movement order for poultry as a biosecurity measure to protect the state’s industry from avian flu. The order meant canceling poultry activities where birds from different flocks would be co-mingled for the rest of the year, which includes poultry competitions at fairs and festivals, swap meets, exotic bird sales and auctions.
In addition to speaking on breed characteristics and what makes an ideal Black Rosecomb Bantam in his video entry, Noll explained what his chickens eat and some positive aspects that have come from the stop movement order.
“Since all bird movement in Kansas has been shut down, I used this year to stock up on inventory of chickens,” Noll said. “So far, I’ve had over 25 baby Black Rosecombs.”
Sarah Keatley, events coordinator for the Kansas 4-H program, said the 4-H’ers have done a great job accepting that they aren’t allowed to show their birds this year and showing innovation with their projects.
“Some of the videos the kids have submitted have been fantastic,” Keatley said. “They show us their barns and facilities. We actually get to see different birds that they raise. Watching their videos, you learn a tremendous amount about the breeds, breed characteristics and what to look for when they are judged. The posters have been incredibly informational, with lots of pictures of the birds.”
“I think you’re going to learn a lot more walking through the poultry barn this year than maybe you would have in previous years,” she continued. “There won’t be live birds, but instead there will be lots of information.”
Keatley credits 4-H leaders and volunteers for offering support and encouragement to the poultry exhibitors this year and helping them finish their projects.
Watch Noll’s state fair video entry online. For more information about the stop movement order, read a previous story from K-State Research and Extension.