Why did the chicken cross the road? To get to my house, of course! I am an 11-year-old who loves keeping chickens. Now, I realize Iâ€™m barely out of the hatchling stage, but boy, I can tell you a lot about these birds.
I joined my local 4-H livestock club when I was 8 and started keeping chickens with the 4-H poultry project known as the â€śChick Chain.â€ť After just a few meetings and picking up my new chicks that were ordered, I knew that this was something that I would stick with.
I quickly fell in love with raising my newly acquired chicks and everything that went with them! They quickly grew from the brooder box, and theyâ€™ve now claimed half of our property.
Since then, I have had the opportunity to become a young entrepreneur. My operation started with selling my birds’ fresh eggs to family and friends. But, quickly, I became interested in more rare and critically endangered breeds.
I currently have about eight flocks consisting of:
- Golden Cuckoo Marans
- Red Shouldered Yokohamas
- Ayam Cemanis
- Blue Jersey Giants
- Standard Blue Laced Red Wyandottes
Iâ€™m currently working on my own, homegrown line of White Marans.Â
My mom shares our birds on social media, and my dad created a pretty neat website. Through these avenues, we share my flocks with others to offer their fertilized eggs.
I ship my birdâ€™s hatching eggs all over the United States for other poultry enthusiasts to hatch in their incubators. It’s pretty thrilling to think that my birds from right here at my house now have â€śchick childrenâ€ť in almost every single state! My businessâ€™ name is â€śEmma Sooâ€™s Cuckoos,â€ť and I canâ€™t wait to see how it keeps growing.Â
I love 4-H, and it has changed my life. It has taught me poultry, rabbit and swine nutrition. Itâ€™s given me much responsibility, knowledge on many breeds and their egg production.
4-H has given me problem-solving skills, record-keeping skills, some veterinarian medicine knowledge and obviously a whole lot of brains about running my business.
I also enjoy getting a little competitive by competing in poultry and livestock judging events as well as pageantry in my spare time. It’s fun to show my birds and create educational poultry exhibits with my family for local and state fairs.
My favorite would have to be the annual National Peanut Festival in Alabama!
Read more: Meet Mya, the 8-year-old egg entrepreneur!
As of February of 2020, I was able to compete for and earn the title of Jr. Miss Northwest Florida.
I take this title and job very seriously. The title has given me the perfect opportunity to share my passion for 4-H and chickens with other children my age. I have actually been able to share this passion and knowledge thru many pageant interviews and presentations, and have earned the name of â€śchicken girlâ€ť by my fellow pageant sisters.
After realizing all of the great skills, and knowledge that 4-H and pageantry have given me, I decided that I should spread the news of 4-H!
I have recently created a platform named â€śThe Eden Projectâ€ť just for this. My main focus for my platform is to get out in schools and provide other children information about 4-H in our community. I aspire to inspire, so that they too can take advantage of what is out there just waiting for them to discover. Who knows, maybe it will bring them just as much joy and forever change their lives just as it has mine!
Emma lives and attends 4-H in the Florida panhandle with her family and chickens. For more information about 4-H, visit 4-h.org.
This article originally appeared in the March/April 2021 issue of Chickens magazine.