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Langley youth finds innovative solution to reduce stress in chicks

Grade 11 Mac Dykeman has qualified for Canada-Wide Science Fair
Mac Dykeman was awarded for her innovative solution to reduce stress in chicks post-hatch. She will join a two more young scientists to represent 4-H at Canada-Wide Science Fair. (Special to Langley Advance Times)

A Langley youth has been awarded for her efforts in exploring a scalable method for reducing stress in chicks during the first seven days post-hatch.

With her recent research, Grade 11 Mac Dykeman has qualified for the Canada-Wide Science Fair scheduled in May. The 16-years-old’s project involved testing the impact of classical music on newly hatched chicks. Having lived on a poultry farm all her life, Dykeman is a keen observer of animal behaviour.

She was intrigued by the unusual behaviour of chicks trampling one other due to the loud sounds of doors closing. Dykeman, who has represented Canada in Abu Dhabi in 2019 at a science fair, embarked on a new journey. Last year, she presented an idea to improve bio security in hatching and this year, she aims to find ways to reduce stress in chicks.

After testing her hypothesis, Dykeman learnt that classical music does reduce stress in chicks and makes them comparatively more relaxed. Hosted by 4-H Canada, the virtual event took place from March 3 - 7, and a large group of youth from grades 7 to 12 showcased their skills in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math) related fields of studies.

RELATED: Incubator innovation wins Langley student numerous honours at Canada-Wide Science Fair

“I am very happy about my win and looking forward to competing in the nationwide competition, again,” said Dykeman, who has participated in the Canada-Wide Science Fair in the past.

The country’s largest annual youth STEM event, Canada- recognizes top projects from every regional fair. To prepare for the event, Dykeman would be conducting additional testing on her science project to get more conclusive results.

She congratulated the other two winners – Alberta’s Mark Norregaard and Saskatchewan’s Alexandra O’Connor. The trio would be teaming up at the upcoming fair to represent the 4-H organization.

A long-time agriculture enthusiast, Dykeman believes that 4-H gave her the opportunity to study the science side of agriculture.

“It fostered a passion for science,” she added.

Dykeman also expressed her gratitude to the organizers and judges for providing her with an opportunity to present her project.

Other than science and agriculture, the local researcher loves music. She feels happy to be able to utilize all her hobbies for one project.

READ MORE: VIDEO: Langley student invents better way to ship baby chicks

“We congratulate the winners and commend all participants of the 2022 4-H Canada Science Fair; it is inspiring to see youth so engaged and passionate about STEM activities,” said Shannon Benner, 4-H Canada CEO.

“4-H’ers continue to demonstrate their leadership and commitment to addressing global challenges and positively impacting their communities.”

In the future, Dykeman wants to study genetics and research the science behind genes. She is fascinated by the role genetics play in the lives of humans and animals.

“I like how genetics can be applied to multiple things, and that is a specialization I would like to pursue.” A student of U-Connect in Langley, Dykeman, thanked her school for being “very supportive.”

“They encouraged me to participate even though I was representing 4-H and not the school.”

She concluded by encouraging all students to participate in science fairs.

“It is a great chance and there are lots of opportunities available for you to win scholarships,” said Dykeman, who promised to participate next year, as well.


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Tanmay Ahluwalia

About the Author: Tanmay Ahluwalia

Tanmay Ahluwalia is a journalist with a digital mindset and a proud alumnus of the University of Delhi.
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