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Local girl goes blue with golden hens

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By Jenny Hartley

INDIAN LAND – An Indian Land girl won big with a pen of hens she raised for a 4-H project.

Allie Siceloff, a second-grader at Indian Land Elementary/Middle School, participated in this year's 4-H Poultry Project. For the project, she was given 25 chicks and was responsible for feeding them and recording their growth and progress in a journal.

Her Golden Comet hens, judged as a pen of five, received a blue ribbon at the regional 4-H Poultry Show and Sale at the Chester County Farmer's Market earlier this month. The show included participants from York, Chester, Union and Lancaster counties.

Allie also won blue ribbons for her project scrapbook and showmanship skills, and received a trophy as overall winner for her hens. She competed in the Cloverbuds division, for children ages 5 to 8.

Allie's success with the project comes as no surprise to her mother, Angie McGee.

"Allie loves any kind of animal," McGee said. "She wouldn't step on a bug."

At first, Allie kept the chicks, which were three days old when she got them, in a kiddie pool under a heating lamp inside her garage. Her grandfather, Joe Rayfield, built a hen house on his property on Valley Road, and the chicks were later moved there.

Allie had to check on the chickens every day to feed them and make sure they had water, check them for dust mites and diseases and gather their eggs when they started laying them at about five months old. She recorded her findings in a journal.

McGee said her daughter learned a lot through the project.

"A lot of responsibility, believe me," McGee said. "She couldn't go anywhere because she had to take care of them every night."

Allie's love for her new feathered friends is obvious. She can tell them apart (they have names like Patricia, Snowflake and Frosty). She said the chickens are always excited when she comes to feed them.

"Sometimes Patricia jumps on my head," Allie said. "And Snowflake bounces off my stomach. Snowflake likes to eat the frost off the ground. They come running up to my foot and one likes to eat shoelaces."

Allie sold five of the hens at the show and sale, but kept the other 20 chickens. Her grandfather has agreed to let her keep more chickens on his property next year.

"They like to give kisses – they just peck you a little bit," Allie said. "They're really gentle. They're real sweet, too. I want to do it again next year."

For details about the Poultry Project or other Lancaster County 4-H programs, call 4-H Agent Ashley Hinson at 283-3302.

Contact Jenny Hartley

at 283-1151 or

jhartley@thelancasternews.com