Showing 4-H?

Fallen Leaf Farm

Chirping
8 Years
Mar 4, 2011
52
0
92
We started our little flock a year ago, and two of my boys (9 & 13) joined the poultry project in 4-H. Our fair is in August, and the boys want to show their chickens at the fair. I have a few concerns and questions about this.
First, is it really fair to the chickens to be put in a cage for 5 days when they are free ranged? My husband is very concerned about this.
Second, how do you choose which chicken gets (or has) to go? My oldest wants to show the rooster, but he sustained some damage to his comb over the winter during the -24 degree nights (did Vasaline and heat lamp, but it wasn't enough). The damage is minor, but I would think an educated judge would spot it immediately. How much would that be judged against him in an aged class? Or should the boys take a couple of the new pullets from this years group (currently 12 days old)?
Lastly, would we need to quarantine the birds when they return home? They do a health inspection before the birds can even come onto the fairgrounds, but how much risk is there? How long would we need to quarantine the birds for?
 

chickendales

Songster
8 Years
Feb 24, 2011
3,586
32
191
Michigan
i would pick what birds u want show and cage them for at least month before fair i have polish rooster that still hit the top cage after a month when u stick ur hand in to feed him
 

chickendales

Songster
8 Years
Feb 24, 2011
3,586
32
191
Michigan
our fair was quarantined 4 years ago the poultry fair so stuff can happen but that was 1st time any bad happened in 100 years
 
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MissJenny

Songster
10 Years
May 11, 2009
974
10
141
Cincinnati, Ohio
I am not sure where you are from, but my concern with showing any 4-H animal is the heat!!!! Holy Moley, those animal barns get hot -- there are usually two or three rabbits who perish. So be aware that these smaller animals benefit from fans and frozen pop bottles.

There is some concern about transference of disease during fair -- it's possible, it does happen -- this is less likely at 4-H shows than at regional poultry events.

I am not sure how focused a 4-H judge is going to be on a spot on a comb -- what the 4-H judge wants to know is how much the child knows about his animal. These events are more about the presenter than the project. These boys need to be up on their animal's breed and characteristics and care and needs. They need to speak up and say, "This is a Bantam Cochin Rooster, first bred in China and made popular in Victorian America at the turn of the last century. As they are too small for meat and lay small eggs, these birds are primarily used for ornamental purposes." THAT's what the judge wants to hear .

Even if the birds are most often free-ranged, five days in a cage will not significantly detract from it's experience (mine have been trapped indoors for most of the winter -- I open the door and they look at me like I am nuts). But rather the experience of your boys following through with their project and showing their birds is a growth and development experience they will not encounter anywhere. 4-H builds confidence and focus in ways no other school or activity can.

I hope they have a great time and learn a lot!

Jenny
 
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Fallen Leaf Farm

Chirping
8 Years
Mar 4, 2011
52
0
92
They do have large fans in the poultry/rabbit building, but it's still hot. I run the horse show at the fair, so we have our travel trailer there. We could always sneak them down to the trailer and the air conditioning during the hottest part of the day!
wink.png

On a side note, before we got chickens, my now 13 yo took a turn supervising the poultry barn for service hours for Boy Scouts a couple years ago. The turkeys got loose that night. Poor kid just stood there terrified of the huge birds running amuck around the barn. Luckily a leader came along and helped him corral them, but poor Ryan! Now if it had been a rabbit, he would have had to cuddle it and snuggle it and....
As for the comb, two of the tips got frostbite and eventually the very top of the tips fell off. His comb is slightly shorter and rounded now. The girls that got frostbite have combs that don't stand up straight, they sort of flop over. He wouldn't take those girls.
 
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Henferno

Chirping
9 Years
Mar 27, 2010
155
1
99
Waushara County, WI
Quote:
That's fine. 4-H shows and actual, APA poultry shows are judged quite differently--if the rooster poses nicely in his cage (you can train them to do this) and handles like a doll for the judge, that's the better to a perfect comb. And, as Jenny pointed out, 4-H shows judge the 4-H kids as much as their birds--what you know about them, color, variety, origin, etc. You could ALSO take the pullets, as well--it couldn't hurt! It also doesn't hurt the chickens to be cooped in for a few days, as long as it doesn't get too hot. I feed mine frozen grapes when the weather gets hot...
 

MANNA-PRO

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