By Renee Larr
The Hussey-Mayfield Memorial Public Library in Zionsville will hold a Foster Chick Care Class Feb. 9 for a lucky few elementary school children. The popular program allows kids to take home three foster chicks to raise for 10 to 14 days.
Laura Gangstad, director of youth services, came up with the idea when approached by a little girl asking her to convince her mother to let her raise a baby chick.
“We started this program back in 1999 or 2000. My family was involved in 4-H, so we raised chicks and chickens. I talked to the 4-H leader at the time. He came up with the idea to hatch the chicks at the library, and the kids could adopt them and take care of them for a week or so,” Gangstad said. “From that point on, we started a program where the kids could take home chicks, take care of them and then they would go to a farm.”
Each child is given three newly hatched chicks to take home, after they learn how to care for them.
“Each child will take home three (chicks) and a brooder box. A brooder box has a light, the food, a water dish, the litter, the thermometer and everything they need to keep the chicks safe for a week to 10 days,” Gangstad said.
Children selected for the program must attend the class with a parent. A student who participated in a previous year will talk about the experience.
At the end of the program, the kids bring the chicks back for a reunion party to discuss what they learned by caring for them.
“At the reunion party, they will hold their chicks and have about five minutes to talk about their chicks,” Gangstad said. “It’s the cutest thing you’ve ever seen.”
To participate, children must be in third grade. There is no cost to participate. All costs are covered by the Friends of the Library. To sign up, visit zionsvillelibrary.org. Click on the link for the calendar and select Feb. 9. Registration begins at 8 a.m. Jan. 24 at 8 am. Participants must be able to attend the educational class on Feb. 9.