Monday, July 9, 2012

What's Going On Around Here?

Something is definitely going on around here. Stalls are being cleaned. Pens are being readied. Water dispensers are being washed.

We are getting ready for the County Fair.

Kelli will show pigs, Will is going to try his hand at showing chickens.

Did you know?

Chickens like to fight.

They run at each other and do chest bumps. They mercilessly peck at each other until they have naked behinds. To prepare them for the fair, we pick the best looking ones, the ones with the most intact tail feathers, and separate them for a few weeks. It gives them a chance to 'pretty' up before the judging.

Here they are in their time out place. No chest bumping, no tail feather plucking. They have to behave. They have to get pretty.

Chickens need washed before their judgement day.

Washing chickens is definitely an adventure. It involves a five gallon bucket, baby shampoo and some towels. We wash them about two days before they get judged. They get dunked in some water, lathered up in some baby shampoo, then a rinse dunk, dry off with a towel, and then into their cages where fresh saw dust awaits.

The last time we showed chickens, the judge was a lady. As she walked from cage to cage, commenting on chickens being fully feathered, the structure of their backs, the pads of their feet being burned or not from walking in too much manure, I let her voice carry me away.  It took me to her house, a cottage full of chickens with sweet names like Lilly or Penny. They roost on her bookshelves. She talks to them and at night when she is reading they rest on her shoulders, her constant companions.

Weird I know but I can't imagine being skilled at judging chickens. How does one achieve that goal?

Will seems to be excited about this new poultry adventure. It is a different thing caring for a few chickens in individual cages, then walking into a coop filled with a flock of hens. He's been getting up, checking on their feed, their water, and making sure they are not devising ways to break free. Chickens can be wily creatures you know.

Kelli is a pro at all this. She's the one who blazed the trail to the County Fair. She is the one who taught us about washing chickens. After she conquered showing chickens, she branched off to sheep. After sheep, she tried her hand at pigs. This year she decided to only show pigs. She loves sheep, but it is hard to set them up to show properly.

Pigs are more simple to show. Truth be told they are probably smarter than sheep. Sheep are not smart. Cute yes, smart no.

I'll miss sights like this though. How sweet is that?

Mary had a little lamb it's fleece was white as snow.
Everywhere that Mary went, that lamb was sure to go.

Lizzy and I don't really get into the fair.

We love cheering Kelli on but it's not really our thing. Pigs are cute and personable but I have to say I don't care if their rate of gain is 2.7 to 2.9 pounds per day which translates into feeding each pig 500 pounds of corn for four months. The piggies will be close to 300 pounds by fair time. We feed them cake batter to make them gain more weight. To make it into the market class which is more of a show class, they have to be under 290 pounds. They have to have nice hams, walk well, and have a fit appearance. If they are too fat, they will go into the Derby class which is judged on rate of gain.

Lizzy and I aren't too concerned with all that. We like to hang out in the house.

We like fussing over chocolate birthday cake and homemade pico de gallo for the chicken enchiladas she ordered for her birthday supper.

We don't worry about our rate of gain, or making it to the market class. We don't worry about stance or if tail feathers are in place. Naked behinds? Not even on our radar screen.

We all are looking forward to the fair to see how our animals will do. Just a couple more weeks and the fair will be here.

Stay tuned for updates.

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