By: Cameron Barnett, Contributing Writer
Courtney DeOrnellis, freshman at Centralia High School(CHS), is doing poultry production and livestock for her FFA Supervised Agricultural Experience(SAE).
DeOrnellis currently has about 60 laying hens with breeds of the following: Rhode Island Reds, Golden Comets and Black Laced Wyandotte. Deornellis also has 10 Angus cows she shows at local fairs.
DeOrnellis has been raising chickens for five years and showing cattle for six years. DeOrnellis got excited about raising cattle after watching her brother show at the Missouri State Fair. She always knew when she got to high school she wanted to show cattle as an SAE, but was inspired to start raising chickens when she walked into a store and saw they had chicks. DeOrnellis said, “When I saw the chicks at the store I thought it would be a good addition to showing cattle and make a good SAE project.”
DeOrnellis sells eggs to family members and people in the area interested in fresh, local eggs. About two dozen eggs are produced daily from the current 60 hens. Her current hens range in age from one to four years old.
DeOrnellis feeds her hens daily and checks to ensure they have fresh water. She also checks the coop routinely to collect any eggs that have been laid. Daily, DeOrnellis spends about 30 minutes taking care of her hens. She spends about an hour each day taking care of her cattle. Each day DeOrnellis brushes, feeds and walks her cows to ensure they stay ready for the fair.
DeOrnellis would like to continue doing this SAE project throughout high school. “There will be more chickens coming this March,” said DeOrnellis. Around March, DeOrnellis will then have about 85 chickens. Her hope is to continue this SAE throughout the rest of high school.