Science Fair Project idea? (What questions do you want the answer to or have been wondering about?)

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by beneduck14, Oct 22, 2016.

  1. beneduck14

    beneduck14 Chillin' With My Peeps

    208
    10
    86
    Feb 20, 2015
    Cattlet, VA
    Hey guys!



    I know this isn't really a right place to post this but I need some opinions from your expeirience with chickens.



    Backround: I am doing a science fair project regional level in order to help chicken owners all around and for my vet college resume. It has to be high school/college level and I am in 11th grade! I want to do something (involving chickens obviously) that will produce useful conclusions/results.



    For example:

    I don't want to do-
    Do chickens like to eat out of red, green, blue, or yellow bowls?
    (So what if the chicken likes the green bowl?)

    I want to do something like-
    What humidity during incubation has the best hatch rates?
    or
    Something about brooder lights and the health of chicks
    (This will help beginners who want an specific answer that has been proven to work and ...I am planning to do one of these experiments if I can't find anything better.)



    Please give me ideas on what I should experiment on that actually will help you all? (Chicken nutrition, effective treatment, winter laying, ect) Keep in mind they have to be scientifically testable.

    I have experieince with hatching/caring and willing to obtain anything needed.


    I will also be going around and talking to chicken experts and livestock veterinarians for a more accurate answer [​IMG]



    Thank you for having a look,

    Have a nice day
     
  2. QueenMisha

    QueenMisha Queen of the Coop

    Nutrition is always fun to do, plus usually very testable. I've always wondered about the effects of medicated vs. non medicated feed on the growth of chicks, when coccidiosis is not present. I know lots of folks who hold the opinion that medicated feed (specially the medication Amprolium) actually improves the growth and health of the chick, in addition to preventing cocci. It would be pretty easy to set up an experiment, just get two groups of chicks who are the same age/breed/source, feed one medicated and one non-med, and weigh them regularly and record health/losses as they mature.

    Good to see a young person so enthusiastic about poultry. Keep it up. The teen and young adult beginners of today are the knowledgable poultrypersons of tomorrow and are essential to the hobby.
     
  3. beneduck14

    beneduck14 Chillin' With My Peeps

    208
    10
    86
    Feb 20, 2015
    Cattlet, VA
    Thank you so much! I would very much be interested in the results as well and I think I may be doing this one if my teacher approves. Thank you so much again and I will share my findings with you once i'm finished [​IMG]
     
  4. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,965
    290
    148
    Feb 7, 2016
    Saint Louis, MO
    Good experiment. One thing to consider doing at the end of the testing period is to pool fecal samples from each experimental group and send them to the state veterinary lab (or to a knowledgable local vet) for analysis. That way you will know the parasite status of each group to use in your analysis of results.
     
  5. donrae

    donrae Hopelessly Addicted Premium Member

    31,452
    3,531
    538
    Jun 18, 2010
    Southern Oregon
    Since you mentioned brooding chicks, and I've been thinking about this myself......


    How about something comparing the alternative methods of brooding vs the classic heat lamp? I'm thinking specifically the heating pad cave and a wool hen.

    There are lots of folks using the heating pad and having good results, but I don't know of any actual "studies" comparing weight, etc to to a control group under lights.

    The wool hen is intriguing to me, and I'm planning to experiment with this myself over the next few months. Again, a control group of conventionally brooded chicks, vs wool hen chicks. Compare weight, maybe amount of feed eaten if that's feasible. Do the alternative chicks maintain the same weight, but need more feed to do so?

    If you could gauge/monitor how much electricity the heat lamp uses, as well as the heating pad, that could also be a hook for the project. Everyone is trying to "go green" and use less power.

    Some threads to look at....

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/956958/mama-heating-pad-in-the-brooder-picture-heavy-update

    https://www.backyardchickens.com/t/...lamp-and-possibly-no-supplemental-heat-at-all



    edited---I would enjoy seeing your results! And I'm appreciative of your attitude toward the colored bowls......[​IMG]
     
    Last edited: Oct 24, 2016
  6. Ridgerunner

    Ridgerunner Chicken Obsessed

    20,115
    3,322
    496
    Feb 2, 2009
    Northwest Arkansas
    Rachel, I’d love to see a comparison of different brooding methods too, but your idea may be a bit broad. To try to compare the heating pad cave method to heat lamps you’d need to set up many different heat lamp and heating pad scenarios. There are just too many variables. Just for the heating pad cave method you’d need different temperatures in the cave, different configurations such as height, and different temperatures outside the cave. Is the cave on wire or a solid surface. Are the ends set up to trap air inside (hot air rises) versus letting all warmed air escape with slanted roofs? Do you set these up outside where the ambient temperature constantly varies or inside where the ambient temperature is held constant? You can come up with just as many variables for heat lamp configurations too. For the experiment to be scientifically valid you need to limit the variables to very few, hopefully only one. Any you have to do it a few times to see if it is repeatable, though you mention this in the write-up and point out that you would need to do it more often to confirm the results. You could test one specific heating pad cave versus one specific heat lamp (or other) method, but not a generic heating pad cave versus heat lamp.

    And you need valid test criteria. Is weight the right criteria to use? How do you measure how fast they feather out, which is a regular claim for different brooding methods? It’s one I’d love to see tested, I think it is important. Mortality wouldn’t be hard to measure, provided you had some, but would it be mathematically significant?

    At the level of sophistication I’d expect an 11th grader to achieve without getting too expensive, I think QueenMisha’s idea is pretty good. Set up identical brooders and treat the chicks to exactly the same thing with the one variable being the Amprolium. Keep exposure to the environment to an absolute minimum. No trips outside, no treats. One thing to look at is to assure that the feed is identical other than the Amprolium. Per cent protein would be critical but there are other nutrients involved. They’d need to match really closely too. That may be kind of challenging.

    I’ll propose an alternative, one I think would be easier to manage because of the potential nutrient differences in different medicated versus non-medicated feeds. Instead of medicated versus not-medicated feed, try introducing chick grit or not. The experts say you do not need to give chicks grit if all they eat is the manufactured chick Starter or Grower. So treat all the same except offer a bowl of chick grit on the side for one group and not the other. Running two or more groups of each will give you more data points. I think weighing them is as good a criteria as any other and pretty unsophisticated. It’s easy to do. Just have enough in the samples for averages to mean something. One thing that could be a variable is if you raise them on certain beddings like wood shavings some might eat wood shavings, some might not. How well you keep the brooder cleaned out (one may get wetter than the other) could make a difference. I’d probably raise them on wire. Just an idea.

    I’m not sure which of your Virginia universities have Poultry Science departments. I’d expect at least one does. Poultry Science grad students are running different experiments as part of their grades. You might consider contacting the head of the Poultry Science department and having a chat with them. They just might be willing to offer your some suggestions on what experiments you might run and give you some pointers on how to do them. It might not hurt when you are looking for admissions and scholarships next year for them to know you are someone with an interest in poultry and are interested in doing it right. What do you have to lose by contacting them? Just a thought.
     
  7. beneduck14

    beneduck14 Chillin' With My Peeps

    208
    10
    86
    Feb 20, 2015
    Cattlet, VA
    Huh- never really thought of asking the department for help- thank you I will try to find one! I kind of like the grit experiment as I have had many complications with it during my last hatch because some chicks got pasty butts because of them i'm thinking? If I don't do this one for the school fair, I would love doing this on my own time or maybe regionals.
     
  8. beneduck14

    beneduck14 Chillin' With My Peeps

    208
    10
    86
    Feb 20, 2015
    Cattlet, VA
    This would be nice if I had two more of the same chicken coops since I guess this can only be done winter time but oh the cost! I can try to find sponsers near me to aid my expenses if my teacher likes this one (She got a small chicken farm just last month and I think this would be in her interest since winter is coming). Thank you for your input!~
     
  9. beneduck14

    beneduck14 Chillin' With My Peeps

    208
    10
    86
    Feb 20, 2015
    Cattlet, VA
    Good idea- that would help me write more than a paragraph for the 5 page minimum analysis part for the essay haha!
     
  10. Jensownzoo

    Jensownzoo Chillin' With My Peeps

    1,965
    290
    148
    Feb 7, 2016
    Saint Louis, MO

    Hmmm...good point. Could modify it so the chicks were eating the same unmedicated feed to eliminate that variable and instead add the amprolium to the water of the test group at a level comparable what would be found in a medicated feed. You would have to find the data on average feed and water consumption to figure out what concentration of amprolium would be needed to provide the same dose per chick on average.

    Okay, now I'm kinda wanting to experiment on chicks...
     

BackYard Chickens is proudly sponsored by