Fowl Fun Friday with 4H

By Holly Giles | Field Trips

The Volusia County Fair is in 2 months and we are gearing up for our entries!
The fair association and 4H were offering a “Fowl Fun Day” to teach you about entering chickens.
The flyer I received sounded too good to pass up!  They would teach anatomy, breeds, disease and pest control, and show you how to wash your chicken.  Yes, I said wash your chicken…
We are relatively new chicken owners. 2 1/2 years of on the job training, yet I have never had the urge to wash one of my hens. Was I missing something? Had we been doing this all wrong?  I had to find out.  Plus, Grayson could learn what the details were in entering a hen at the fair and 4H for future reference.  I did forget to mention that at the bottom of the

 flyer it said “bring your own chicken”.
I don’t normally transport chickens around in my 4 door sedan.  I needed a cage and to decide which chicken should we take. I was envisioning utter chaos with bubbles and feathers everywhere.  I was excited!

Hope was the lucky girl chosen for this 4H adventure. We figured she had the sweetest
disposition of them all, and she might enjoy a sudsy bath.

When we arrived at the 4H agricultural center, it was full of mom’s and their kids and their chickens.  Chickens, not in cages, but sitting on tables and in laps. It was like going to the local dog park, but with chickens. Up front where the lecture was to take place was five cages or so. One with a very large rooster, and lots of bantams.  For you chicken novices, bantams are very small versions of chicken breeds.
We were instructed to take our cage over to our seat and let the chicken out if we wanted to.
 Why on earth would I want to?  Hope was perfectly content in her cage. Why would I want
 to risk her embarrassing us with her untrained chicken-ness? Not to mention, poop.
 Don’t these people know chickens poop on a whim?
The 4H instructors were great! They knew their fowl facts and shared tips on how
judging works.  They helped us to understand that it is not just the chicken who is judged.
 The children are judged on public speaking, knowledge of the breed and other breeds.
 Knowledge of anatomy and disease.  How they hold the bird and pass the bird to the judge.
 I was fascinated on what an educational lesson this process really was.
(yes, the homeschool mom in me finds a lesson in everything) They even had the kids do a
mock entry and practice speaking and testing their knowledge and handling.  Great stuff!

Now for the chicken washing. I know that is what you are reading this for, right?  Well,
fortunately, it was a demonstration only.  Some of the older teens who had been in 4H
quite a while did the chicken washing.  Those girls were good speakers and knew their stuff.
 I was impressed. She chose the rooster to wash, I personally would have gone for the
 tiny chicken.  He was NOT very enthusiastic about getting a bath.  It was quite comical!
You could wash your own chicken at the end if you wanted, but I had had enough
 hen talk by then.  In the end, I don’t think we really needed to bring our bird, unless it was to
just show her off. Hope is a beauty though, and she got lots of compliments. 
 I think she enjoyed herself.  She was quite behaved and sat quietly either on the
table or in Crockett’s lap.  Who knew?
I share my fowl fun with you to give thought to another avenue of education.  If you have
 a county fair, get your kids involved with a craft, food item or animals!  We have been
 entering things for three years.  I will be doing an upcoming post on using the fair as
your art/ craft/ skills projects for a year.  You don’t have to be farmers to enjoy
 what the fair has to offer kids.  They earn ribbons, money and even scholarships!

It is well worth the effort to take a look at the entry categories. I have even been entering my own items in the fair.  I do it for me, and to show my kids that even your mommy can learn new things and win blue ribbons too!  I  know there is something you can enter into your
county or state fair.  I learn something new every year.
 This year, chickens, next year????
Thank you for sharing Hope’s Fowl Fun Friday with us. Maybe it will encourage you to check
out what your county has to offer. Share with us what your are entering in the fair this year……

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