Some young people might take the easy way out when it comes to a senior project, but one student gave her project a lot of thought, changing it three times until she was satisfied.
Jackie Moreno, a 19-year-old senior at Greenbrier High School, is raising chicks into laying hens at her Evans home.
“My junior year, it wasn’t going to be raising chicks,” said Moreno. “At first I was going to do something with cosmetology. But I got a taste of it and it wasn’t as interesting as I thought it would be.”
Moreno, the daughter of Ruben and Elena Moreno, then thought of focusing her project on horse rescue. “I have a dream to work with rescuing horses, but after I found out there wasn’t anyplace like that in our area, I had to change my topic again,” she said.
The idea to raise chicks into laying hens came to her, in part, because her family’s property was already equipped with a chicken coop.
“We moved back to Georgia in 2006 and we own 7 1/2 acres of land with a chicken coop on it,” Moreno said. Her military family has lived in Georgia, California and Japan.
After remodeling the coop and installing heat lamps, Moreno, a member of the Greenbrier High Art Club, ordered 26 chicks. She ended up receiving 27 chicks, one of which she considers special because of its fuzzy feet.
What Moreno has learned is that chicks are a lot of work.
“You have to be very responsible,” she said. “You have to wake up early, feed them and check on them a lot, making sure the temperature in the coop is where it needs to be.”
While Moreno doesn’t plan to keep all the surviving chicks once they become hens, she does plan to keep most of them.
“I told my mentor [Kim Hines] that I would give her some and I am, but giving them away is going to be hard,” she said.
It was also difficult to watch as some of the chicks died.
“We’ve always had pets, but I’ve never experienced them dying because we always gave them away when we moved,” she said. “Watching some of the chicks die has been hard.”
Six of the chicks have died since arriving in late September.
Moreno plans to become an egg farmer after the project.
“I started to think that I wanted to have a rescue center for horses and my dad said that I would have to work my way up to that,” she said. “So, I’m going to get a rooster and sell the eggs.”
Moreno hopes the responsibility learned from the process – and the egg farming – will give her a leg up when it comes to a career decision.
“I was trying to make my senior project about something that I could use in my future,” she said.