July 29, 2012 by csukach
The El Paso County Fair took place July 21-28 in Calhan, Colo., complete with a midway, entertainment and exhibits. Exhibitors from across the county showed handicrafts and baked goods, but most of the real estate at this year’s fair was dedicated to livestock.
Members of local 4-H clubs showed cattle, hogs, goats, rabbits and poultry. Grand and reserve champion ribbons were presented for the best and second best entry in each category.
Wyatt Wear, a poultry exhibitor at this year’s fair, talked about his chickens and pigeons and explained the intricacies of raising prize-winning birds.
Wyatt Wear, Poultry Exhibitor: “Here I have 16 chickens and 12 pigeons in that pen over there.”
Wear: “I’m 12 years old and this is my Buff Brahma Bantam. Her name’s Fluffy. She’s just over a year old so she’s a hen as opposed to a pullet, which is a female chicken under a year old.”
Wear: “And this year I got grand champion bird of show which is the best bird in the barn and reserve champion bird of show, which is second best bird in the barn. Plus Fluffy is reserve champion bantam, so she’s reserve champion small bird.”
Wear: “I’ve had chickens for 10 years but most of my learning about them has been since I joined 4-H.”
Wear: “You need to pick out the prettiest birds. You need to pick out the ones that are closest to the standard for that breed. There’s a book called the ‘American Standard of Perfection,’ so you just compare your birds to that and you take the ones that are closest and you keep breeding them. And you either, you sell the rest or you cull the rest depending on if you’re just getting started. You just cull them—chop their heads off—they go in the stew pot you know.”
Wear: “Probably the most valuable thing I’ve learned is that you might think a bird’s a winner and they’ll take fifth place. You might think a bird is just not going to do anything and they’ll be a champion.”