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4-H poultry club forming in Franklin County

March 22, 2002|BY RICHARD F. BELISLE

GREENCASTLE, Pa. - There are 2,300 members in 72 4-H clubs in Franklin County, Pa., and not one of those clubs focuses on poultry.

Deborah Burgess wants to change that.

Burgess, 44, has set up an organizational meeting for April 4 at 10 a.m. at the Old Train Station in Greencastle hoping that young people will show up and sign up.

Karen Hack, 4-H coordinator for the Franklin County Extension Office in Chambersburg, Pa., said there hasn't been a poultry club in the county in years. Dairy and family living are the most popular programs among county 4-H offerings, she said.

The closest that 4-H comes to a poultry division is the embryology project run in some county schools in which students learn how to hatch chicks, she said.

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Franklin County has about 200 adult volunteers in the program and about 50 teen volunteers.

Hack said 4-H nationwide is celebrating its 100th anniversary this year.

Burgess said she has always enjoyed being around chickens. She and her daughter, Alexandra, have a small flock on the family's 4-acre homestead on Bino Road.

Their menagerie includes chickens, laying and show varieties, a few ducks, four sheep, a friendly gray cat named Big John and a little, tan, pound pup called Molly.

Alexandra has names for all of the chickens, the ducks and the sheep.

The family's next animal acquisition will be a horse so Alexandra can take equestrian lessons. The horse will be boarded at the stables at Wilson College in Chambersburg, Pa., her mother said.

Burgess said members of her new poultry club won't have to own a chicken to join.

"They just need an interest in fowl - chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys, quail, pigeons, even pheasants," she said.

Burgess and her daughter will be adding about a dozen chickens to their flock in the next few weeks. She showed a catalogue from the Murray McMurray hatchery in Iowa. "They have all kinds of breeds there," she said.

In a few weeks a box will arrive with chicks. She ordered silver laced wyandottes, buff orpingtons, barred rocks and black australorps. Burgess said she hopes to enter some of them in the Franklin County Fair later this year.

"I was in 4-H when I was a girl and I saw how adults volunteered," Burgess said. "It makes you grateful when you get older."

She said she wants to teach young people some of the skills she's learned in 4-H and in her life.

Anyone interested in joining the new poultry club can call Hack at 717-263-9226 or Burgess at 717-597-3302.

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