Fowl Fun Friday with 4H

By Holly Giles | Field Trips


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4H Fowl Fun

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. In addition, they were going to show you how to wash your chicken.  Yes, I said wash your chicken… We are relatively new chicken owners. Two and a half years of on-the-job training. However, 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 the details of how to enter a chicken 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”.

Chicken transportation

I don’t normally transport chickens around in my 4 door sedan.  However, 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.

hope the chicken going for a car ride
When we arrived at the 4H agricultural center, it was full of moms and their kids and their chickens.  Chickens are not in cages, but sitting on tables and on laps. It was like going to the local dog park, but with chickens.
Up in front of where the lecture was to take place were 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.
boys talking about their chickens

Free-range chicken

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?
4H chicken demonstration
The 4H instructors were great! They knew their fowl facts and shared tips on how judging works. In addition, 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.  Lastly, how they hold the bird and pass the bird to the judge.
 I was fascinated by 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. For instance, other 4H kids pretended to be judges and tested their knowledge and handling of the chickens.  Great stuff!

learning to show a chicken at the fair

Chicken washing

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!

washing a chicken demonstration
You could wash your own chicken at the end if you wanted, but I had had enough chicken 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 Grayson’s lap.  Who knew?
hope sitting in grayson's lap
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 items for three years.  You can read my other posts on our involvement with the fair.  You don’t have to be farmers to enjoy what the fair has to offer kids.  They earn ribbons, money and even scholarships!

4H lesson on showing chickens at the fair

Your county fair

It is well worth the effort to take a look at the entry categories. I have even been entering my own items at the fair. However,  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????
hope the chicken eating a snack
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 you are entering in the fair this year……
4H how to wash a chicken for the fair
You can study chickens with our fun lessons and no chickens are required!
homeschool science curriculum chickens
4h how to wash a chicken


About the Author

Holly Giles is a wife, mother, and storyteller. As an author and Florida Master Naturalist, she writes about heritage homemaking skills, motherhood, and why Florida offers the best hidden natural gems to explore as a family.