We lived in Oregon for many years and the kids did sheep as their 4-H projects. We moved to Idaho last year to start a sheep ranch and what do the kids do for 4-H, sheep? Nope, chickens - go figure. The biggest factor in that is the ranch is 18 miles away and they couldn't get out to take care of their sheep everyday. Our leader volunteered her coop at her house for our project. And thus the adventures of chicken raising begins. We have 4 kids doing projects and so we needed a number of chickens (required by the 4-H extension). We started with 10 red rangers. A week later we added 10 buff orpingtons, 5 polish, and 15 jersey giants. We would have a few of the jerseys die along the way, but at 2 weeks I checked the chickens on morning and there was a carpet of dead chickens. All the jerseys and 4 of the polish were all gone. We had gotten those from one hatchery. We think it was something that came in from the hatchery. We had a couple orpingtons die within a few days of that but the rest faired well. We talked to many chicken specialists and ended up treating them for coccidiosis. Within a few days of treatment all the chicks perked up again and returned to their healthy state. During the tragic day we also found out that the orpingtons and the jerseys were not allowed to be shown for broilers even though we had got permission from one of the superintendents prior to purchasing. Unfortunately we had talked to the wrong superintendents and we found out that only rangers, rainbows and cornish were allowed for broilers at this fair.
We needed to go back and start over for 3 of the 4 kids. We ordered 15 cornish cross and 10 exotics and now our numbers are growing. We went from just 4-H chickens to starting something I have wanted to do for a long time - raising a family flock. The orpingtons will be our main layers and the extra exotics and rangers will also be part of the flock. The extra cornish will find their way to our freezer. This has been a fun project with a few setbacks and frustrations. I am learning lots and look forward to much more learning. Our next trick is to find a permanent coop for our chickens after fair is over. We will eventually build a home out on the ranch that will have a barnyard, but until then we are looking for a temporary/permanent spot. Here is to a new life with chickens!!!! Excited to be part of this group as I have much learning to do. I will post some pictures of our chickens.