Looking for poultry related science fair projects

Discussion in 'Pictures & Stories of My Chickens' started by A.T. Hagan, Feb 13, 2012.

  1. A.T. Hagan

    A.T. Hagan Don't Panic

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    My oldest daughter will be in the eighth grade next year and we are casting about for science fair projects for her. She did a poultry related project for this year's fair that took third in our three county regional competition. Since birds figure large in our family life she'd like to perhaps stay with something poultry related.

    This year's project involved determining grain preferences among two different flocks of laying hens - White Leghorns and ISA Browns. She's thinking shed like to try something more sophisticated next year to have a better chance at taking first.

    Anyone have any experiments they would like to suggest?
     
  2. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Several options:

    1) have different hatch conditions on (some factor) at hatch. (some factor could be color, gender, or weight or health on a objective scale)

    2) one day old, 2 weeks old and 2 year old chicken response to hawk or swan shadow. (the cut out for the shadow is the same shape depending on which way it travels if it looks like a hawk or swan) (I did this one in collage by breed Heritage vs Hatchery super layers)

    3) clicker training chickens- clicker train each chicken ONE behavior with a clicker record time to learn the behavior

    4) color differentiation or preference in chickens (red over blue, green vs yellow, red vs yellow, etc)

    5) home feed vs store feed on weight from hatch to X weeks

    6) can humans "speak" chicken (using a recorder record different chicken calls and play back to initiate a response- feed call to call them to eat, 'sky danger' call to alert them to hide...)

    7) can chickens associate English (or nonsense) words to a behavior (see above but use words with the call, then phase out the chicken calls and use only the human words)

    8) set up an iterated prisoner delmma for chickens (it has been don for blue jays already)
     
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  3. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

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    Those are lots of good ides. Can also try hatching chicks and see the outcome based by different breeds, different feeds for the parents, breed for certain traits by various crossings.

    One thing--is it really supposed to be an experiment or a demonstration? Which typically fare better? Try to get an idea of the winners in your daughter's grade and above for the last several years--this may well help her figure out how to turn a great idea into an award winning one.
     
  4. Capvin

    Capvin Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I think a good experiment, and one that I would be interested in, is to find out the effect of calcium rich food and feed has on the quality of eggs shells. It would require two seperate sets of chickens. The first set would only get regular feed but you could, of course give them treats of some kinds. The second set would get regular feed or high calcium feed along with oyster shell, they would be fed back their ground up eggs shells and other foods that are high in calcium, like yogurt, etc. After the two sets of chickens had been feeding for a while, say a couple of weeks you begin to compare their individual egg shells and see if there are any noticeable differences and you would keep checking at least every week to make comparisons.
     
  5. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Actually that's too many variables.

    Three groups, one group "no calcium" (gain feed only), one group (standard pellets) some calcium, and the last group high calcium pellets (layer) and free choice extra calcium. ((A fourth group is possible feed only 'natural' calcium (kale, collards. broccoli) foods but then your data gets complicated)) all foods would have to be charted, overall health would need to be recorded- no sense in producing perfect eggs if the chickens all drop over dead on day 15. NO treats of additional foods at all, in fact you would need roll away egg boxes to keep the chickens from egg eating.

    But then you need a way to 'measure' the shell strength... maybe a drop test? that's a lot of wasted egg
     
    Last edited: Feb 18, 2012
  6. nurse_turtle

    nurse_turtle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I saw a program about some college group doing studies on chicken's memory and visual cueing. They made a shallow box of different compartments, covered with aluminum foil and then covered that with different shaped cut outs, maybe stars, circles and squares. Then they placed a treat under only the star cutouts and the chicken learned to only peck out the aluminum star shapes to get treats....

    It's much more involved, but that's the jist of it. I'll try to find more info.
     
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  7. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    Remember you want something recordable or measurable.

    Example:

    In a flock of [total number tested], (some number)% of flock at age (in days) responds to 'Hawk shadow' by (description of behavior), (some number)% responded alternately by (description of behavior) others had no change in behavior.

    In a flock of [total number tested], (some number)% of flock at age (in days) responds to 'Swan shadow' by (description of behavior), (some number)% responded alternately by (description of behavior) others had no change in behavior.


    OR


    After an initial training period (in days) associating the chicken call that means 'food' with the human word 'treats'. In a flock of [total number tested], (some number)% of flock at age (in days) responds to the word "treats" by (description of behavior), (some number)% responded alternately by (description of behavior) others had no change in behavior.


    After an initial training period (in days) associating the chicken call that means "danger from above" with the human word 'Danger'.In a flock of [total number tested], (some number)% of flock at age (in days) responds to the word "Danger" by (description of behavior), (some number)% responded alternately by (description of behavior) others had no change in behavior.




    OR

    After an initial food association period (in days), chickens were allowed to choose a large cardboard cube, picking the 'correct' color resulted in a reward- picking an 'incorrect color' resulted in no reward.
    [total of chickens] of chickens were divided into four equal groups after the initial food association period- each group had a different 'correct' color (red, yellow, green, blue). Over (time in days) (color of group) (increased/decreased) performance to a maximum of (% correct). Concluding chcikens (re/are not) sensitive to the (name of color in group).
     
  8. nurse_turtle

    nurse_turtle Chillin' With My Peeps

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    You guys can consider teaching a few chickens some tricks. Certain things can be measures and quantified, i.e. the number of times is required for the chicken to learn the trick. Then remove the food reward and note how many times the chicken repeats the trick without the food reward before it stops doing the trick. Chickens are a very food-driven critter. A clicker or other sound can be added as another variable.

    It would be interesting, as well, to test "chick sexing" techniques. There are several old-wive's type methods to sexing chicks.
     
  9. Kaitie09

    Kaitie09 Chillin' With My Peeps

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    I like the idea of different hatch conditions and how that effects the chicks. You should use all the same breed (maybe one that can be sold easily) and have 2 different hatching conditions. Maybe just doing it by temperature. You could set one incubator on the lowest hatch temp, and the other on the highest, safest temp. It will probably turn out that the highest temp hatches the chicks quicker, but it could be interesting.
     
  10. FireTigeris

    FireTigeris Tyger! Tyger! burning bright

    That could work- and chart the temps three times a day OR have a high/low digital checked one a day for any variation. Also have egg turners not to open the bator too much.
     

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