fancy 4-H show chickens (new to chickens)

Discussion in 'General breed discussions & FAQ' started by Micmoore, Apr 8, 2009.

  1. Micmoore

    Micmoore Hatching

    Apr 8, 2009
    Hi everyone! I am new to posting on this board, but have been reading for quite sometime. My name is Lacy and I am a stay-home/home schooling mom to 4 beautiful children. My 2 oldest children a girl 11 and boy 9 have joined 4-H this year and will be showing fancy poultry as their project. I also have a little guy who just turned 8 and he will be a clover bud. Anyway- We are completely new to chickens and 4-H. I am looking for answers to a few questions. We have not received our project books yet, so I am not clear on the showing rules.

    A little back ground:
    We live in the "almost country", just on the outskirts of town with large lots, but in the city limits. We are not allowed to have chickens, in fact when I looked at the city ordinance it is considered a misdemeanor offense with fines and possible jail time??? Crazy I know! We are lucky (most of the time) to live just minutes to my in-laws who have a large number of acres and are in a different township and therefor can have chickens. My father in law has volunteered to let us keep them at his house. We will be going down daily to feed/water and interact with the chickens. We will be keeping them in our basement with lights if needed until they can go outside. My husband and boys will be building the chicken coop this weekend. The boys can not wait! We choose fancy poultry because we do not have to sell it. The kids and I were horrified at the thought of selling them to someone to eat. They will be our "pets", but we will also eat the eggs. I buy farm fresh eggs each week now and am looking forward to having our own in the future. Now for my questions:

    What will the best breed be to start showing? We are not set on winning, just want the kids to have the experience. Yet after and unfortunate boy scout pinewood derby race we do not want to crash and burn either:)

    How many chicks should we get each kid to pick the best suited for showing?

    Which chickens seem to be show favorites?

    What type of coop would be best?

    We are buying chickens from a guy not far from us. He has chicks ages 2-10 weeks now as well as hens already laying. Which age will be the best for showing. Our county fair is in June and the State fair is in August.

    In my chicken research (countless hours) I have come across the following several times. That chickens with lice should be dusted? Is there a huge issue with lice on chickens? That kind of freaks me out a little. I do not want the little buggers in my girls hair.

    Thank you in advance for your help. Any other suggestions are welcome. I am sure there are a ton of things I have not thought of.


  2. Buck Creek Chickens

    Buck Creek Chickens Have Incubator, Will Hatch

    Nov 26, 2008
    Neenah, WI
    cochins always good for fair, and 4-h, fancy and freindly, as for lice they don't live on people, if they get on you they tickle for less lhan 1/2 hr and die. just dust regulary. the best thing is have the kids handle there birds as much as possiable. then they calm down fast at fair and don't act nuts.
    Last edited: Apr 8, 2009
  3. feathersgalore

    feathersgalore Songster

    Sep 4, 2008
    Central Ohio
    My daughter started showing chickens in 4-H last year. We started with cochins. They are so laid back and friendly.
  4. Micmoore

    Micmoore Hatching

    Apr 8, 2009
    Thank you for the quick replies.

    I looked at the Cochin and they are really nice. How old should I try to get the chicks to be ready for a late June fair? Any color show better than another? What are the judges looking for? Is chicken lice different than the lice little girls can get in their hair. I know it sounds like a crazy fear, but I am terrified of the thought of it. What am I dusting them with? I would prefer something natural so it is safe for the chickens and my kids.

    Thanks again.

  5. Buck Creek Chickens

    Buck Creek Chickens Have Incubator, Will Hatch

    Nov 26, 2008
    Neenah, WI
  6. Crunchie

    Crunchie Brook Valley Farm

    Mar 1, 2007
    Quote:I haven't read through your entire post, but this caught my eye--late June fair--you mean of this year? If this is the case, you're going to have to go with started birds. You wouldn't have enough time to grow out very young chicks to show that soon. If you have any upcoming poultry shows in your area, I would suggest hunting down some breeders of the breeds you are interested at some shows, seeing if they have any quality birds to part with. Also check the breeder's lists of the clubs of any breeds that you are interested in. And of course, you can check right here on BYC. [​IMG]

    Good luck!! [​IMG]
  7. Sonoran Silkies

    Sonoran Silkies Flock Mistress

    Jan 4, 2009
    Tempe, Arizona
    The lice and mites that chickens get are NOT the same ones that affect humans. The earlier reply was accurate.

    The best thing you can do is get a descent quality pair of birds (or two pair) from a breeder. As you learned with the Pinewood Derby, quality is important. To show, the birds should be at least 6 months old, but with some breeds that is not mature enough.

    Many breeds are good choices; as a mom, I would be more interested in letting my kids choose their breeds. It might be a good idea to encourage them to select different breeds so that they aren't competing quite so closely against each other: they could both win BB and possibly even the division, if their breeds aren't in the same one. If they both have the same breed--one will certainly place over the other.

    You might try to find out what breeds have larger numbers of entries and steer to one where their may be a bit less competition, and they will have more of a chance of placing.

    Henderson's Breed Chart give some general characteristics of different breeds. One thing I will say is to take the "Rarity" rating with a little bit of salt; depending on your location, there may well be plenty of an "uncommon" or "rare" breed in your area--probably because someone has taken an interest in them. Or a common breed may be hard to find.

    Once your kids have chosen a few breeds to look into a bit further, check those breeds out on feathersite. With a couple of choices for each kid, come back and ask questions about those particular breeds.

    To the question "what's the best breed?" there is really no answer. You'll find as many people who don't care for a particular breed as you'll find that think that is the best there is.

    I dislike rhode island reds and buff orpingtons--many people adore each of those breeds. I love my silkies, but I know many who do not like them. Every breed has its pluses and minuses; there are only a few that I would say were a bad choice for children.

  8. JessaLynn

    JessaLynn Songster

    Aug 7, 2008
    Sandusky County,Ohio
    Each 4-H is different but ours you have to have a min. of 25 birds to perticipate but only a pair or 2 hens and rooster to actually show.Might want to check on that just in case.Polish,Cochins,Silkies are always good and are docile birds. FOOD GRADE Diatamatious Earth (not sure on the spelling) is a natural pesticide that will get rid of internal and external bugs.Dust them with it and add some to there feed to eat. Good luck!
  9. warsaw

    warsaw In the Brooder

    May 31, 2008
    rural Ohio
    Here with our county 4H you can only sell a Meat bird."fryer" or a Broiler . On the other hand you can only SHOW a fancy bird , and thats only after you have your Fancy blood tested.
    I mostly saw Phoenix and GLW and even a few polish but The one I like best and is hardly ever seen here in Ohio is a Partige Rock Rooster

  10. Micmoore

    Micmoore Hatching

    Apr 8, 2009
    Thank you all for your help.

    Sonoran- I do want the kids to pick their own chicken. I just want to be somewhat informed myself. I want them to make a good choice so I can say for instance "these 5 breeds are good for showing" or whatever. They will still make the decision, but it will not just be about what is the cutest:)

    It is a good idea to have them pick different breeds. I had not really thought of that. I assume they would because they do not like to do anything exactly the same, but I will suggest it to them before we go to the breeder.

    I was afraid we would not have enough time this year to start with a chick. I just thought it would be easier for the kids since the chicken would be used to them handling it. I will start looking for older chickens.

    What would be a good price range for an older fancy chicken? I know chicks are fairly inexpensive, but I am clueless on buying an older hen.

    Jessa- We are in a large county so I am hoping they have enough to show. I will ask at our 4-H meeting tonight.

    Warsaw- We also only sell meat birds in our county. That is why I they are getting the Fancy. I didn't think they could handle selling them. At least not this year. Thank you for the recommendations. I will look into the Partige Rock Rooster.

    Thanks again for all of the help. Who knew there was so much information about chickens. I think I might be more excited about this than the kids and they are really excited:)

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