Poultry Show at the Fair

I learned more in 2-1/2 hours this morning than in the last 2-1/ years! Watching the poultry judge go from cage to cage, asking the 4-Her to take each chicken out of the cage and watching to see if they took each one out correctly was fascinating. All the broilers were judged before the ducks and the fancy breeds. Here are Reed and Myra in front of Alta, Edna and Eunice’s 3 separate pens.

When the judge finally got around to Reed, he asked several questions about Eunice.

Read more

Then he came to Alta’s pen.

When the judge asked what sex the chicken was, Reed answered it was a hen. The judge stated that Alta was actually a rooster and showed us some specific feathers that indicate a rooster!

We were floored! Murray McMurray made a mistake with our order. It’s funny because Alta has begun to look different and never having had that breed before, I did not know he was exhibiting rooster traits. We decided his name will have to be changed – maybe Elvis?

All three chickens got blue ribbons and then it was on to the showmanship class. The judge asked each participant questions about the bird and Reed answered every single question correctly. He showed Edna, the golden campine and when all was said and done and the dust settled…….

Reed was awarded the biggest trophy of all – overall Grand Champion Showmanship!

Am I proud of him?

Does the sun come up in the east? Haha! I am so very proud of him as are his grandparents, parents, siblings and friends from church. What a great day at the fair!

Could I look any happier? I don’t think so.

Tomorrow is bingo with Concord Care – more fun at the fair!

74 thoughts on “Poultry Show at the Fair

  1. ada

    Congratulations to Reed. I’ve never known much about 4-H. It seems like a very good learning experience for the kids, having to answer to the judge about their project.

  2. marie Beers

    Wonderful, Wonderful, Wonderful, Reed should be so proud of himself. Clap of hands to all the adults who have a hand in his raising as he did you all proud.

  3. Donna

    What a happy day for all. Every one looks happy. Happy for Reed and Myra. 👍👍. Wish I had grown up on a farm.

  4. Darlynn Venne

    I am totally smitten with Reed! What a nice young man. His parents did a grand job rearing him. He is indeed fortunate to have so many people (parent, grands and friends) guide his young life~ Along with his siblings. I also am completely smitten with how tall and erect he stands. It has been grand to follow is young life. Good luck to his brother at state!!!!

  5. Marsha

    How exciting! Congratulations! Another great day at the fair for all of you. Thanks for sharing.

  6. Sharon Lowy

    What a wonderful experience for those children. As a city girl I had no idea how much 4H did for them. If I had it to do over I would make that happen with my boys. We did do a garden and we learned a lot from it. I had no idea how to position the seed to plant but we learned together. I loved how we compared our vegetables to others we saw growing. So funny Alta turned out to be Elvis. I am so proud of those kids what a delightful family and such wonderful life lessons.

  7. Cousin Jill

    Wow, I remember how fun everything was with the fair! And I remember the roller skating too! Thanks for bringing back all of those fun memories!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Cousin Jill – weren’t those fun times? That roller skating rink building brought it all back! Ha!

  8. Kate

    Congratulations to Reed! Funny about the hen turned rooster. We had a young hen who crowed. Weren’t sure about her. Love county fairs. They are the best.

  9. Donna Sproston

    Does this mean Alta aka Elvis and Reed go on to the Iowa State Fair? How exciting for Reed and Mary his mentor. I have heard that determining the gender of baby chicks is very difficult, and Elvis proved it.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Donna – no, Reed isn’t old enough this year – maybe next year

  10. Diane M

    What a great fair experience Nolan, Reed, and Myra had this year! I hope they are grinning from ear to ear. Mary, you have been such a help to Reed. Congratulations to all.

  11. Barbara F.

    Congratulations to Reed, Nolan, and Myra! Great job!! Curious to know how Alta got “her” name. My grandmother’s name was Alta and I know it’s not very common. Was “she” named after someone?

  12. Angie

    Congratulations to Reed and his family as well as his extended family meaning you
    Mary. Family has to love you because you are family BUT those on the the outside love you because you are you.

  13. Beth T.

    Thanks for letting us share in all the fun! We are very proud of you, Reed–and of your siblings, too!

    It is so interesting to see that 4H is about more than the final project; it really does focus on the participants’ learning and choices along the way. As the Alta sexing episode illustrates, the focus on education continues right through the judging, and is designed to teach rather than show the children up or embarrass. Very impressive.

  14. Shelba Durston

    I love when they get a good judge that spends time visiting with and educating the kids.

  15. Linda B

    Congratulations to Reed and all the family! Such a proud moment for all of you!

  16. Bonnie

    What delightful stories about your fair. We grew up in a very small town in northwestern Wisconsin. We had a county fair every year. Your posts bring back great memories for me.

  17. Carolyn Boutilier

    Congratulations to Reed. Wonderful memories for all of you. Thank you for sharing all the pictures. I enjoy all of them.
    Carolyn B

  18. Kathy

    Another good day at the fair for all of you. Great job to all those kids with the animal exhibits. I was always amazed at those who were having animals judged as I was more knowledgeable of the home arts so to see a judge give kids positive feedback makes my heart sing. Very happy for Reed!

  19. Brenda archambault

    Wow, Mary. You are to be congratulated for being such a caring mentor. Congrats to Reed and his siblings, and nice to know the judging experience is so educational. My daughter had 15 4-H Capons one summer and she named them Tom, Dick and Harry, figuring she’d get the right name one out of three. Imagine our surprise when the judge announced the big fat capon was really a rooster, based on the extra parts with the giblets. Mistakes happen!

  20. Louise

    Congratulations to Reed…He has no idea how many of us are rooting for him..
    Great effort by his family and to you Mary!! 👍

  21. Martha Engstler

    Another surprise rooster. I wonder if they get along with each other. Thanks for sharing the fair with us.

  22. mary jane

    I want to thank you Mary for bringing all of this exciting news our way. I too remember the roller rink in my home town..loved it. How fortunate it is for all of you to have met and to become such good friends. I would be so proud of Reed and his siblings too and also proud of yourself Mary for introducing them to the different things we have seen being taught and shared. Thanks to all ….

  23. Colleen

    So darn interesting I have to confess to not knowing how to tell the girls from the boys with chicks. Once they are grown easy enough but before that I had no idea certain feathers were clues.
    I am so happy for Reed and his family and proud of your contribution of housing those young chicks so Reed to take over and finish them off for showing.
    Congratulations to you all

  24. Nancy Pleimann

    Isn’t the Fair wonderful. We were and still are in Angus Cattle. We took Bull’s and Heifer’s to the Fair. My two children and then the Grand kids. The 25 year old grandson still works with 4H kids to help them break there cattle and teach them how to show. He is in charge of the cattle on the ranch. We went to a lot of show’s and they learned a lot. And I’m a city girl and I learned a lot during all that showing.

  25. Nancy Wines

    What. a wonderful day for Reed and Myra! I had no idea that you could do Showmanship with chickens. Totally Cool!

  26. Beryl Hoff

    Congratulations Reed and Alta!! Hard work pays off. And congratulations to you to Mary for all of your work with the kids. They will always remember what you have taught them. I am sure their parents are very grateful for all you do with them also! Fun times!

  27. Diane

    Big smiles for all!!! It has been so much fun following Reed and the chickens. Good for him in answering all the questions. What’s your favorite fair food, Mary? Reed’s?

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Diane – I told Reed I had to have a funnel cake sometime – I’ll ask him what his favorite fair food is.

  28. Kathy Hanson

    What fun you are all having at the fair! Reed and his siblings are so fortunate to be in 4-H – it is so wonderful for kids. Congratulations to all of them and to his family and YOU for all that they have been able to learn and to what you have learned as well. Keep enjoying the fair and sharing it with all of us!!

  29. Mary Waller

    Being an ex-4H poultry leader and county poultry advisor from California I an pleased to see Reed doing so well. Judges love to show how to tell a young rooster by his feathers . I was laughing to see they are still impressing the youngsters with that. Poultry are fun to raise and I enjoy seeing your birds when ever you post. I am a quilter now and live on 10 acres so we have lots in common. Tell Reed he did well, Championship is showmanship is no little thing.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Mary Waller – can I pick your brain a bit? We ordered our 18 purebred chicks from a very reputable hatchery, Murray McMurray Hatchery in Webster City, IA and because we did NOT want any roosters we paid premium price to get only hens. This particular chicken, Alta, has the most interesting coloring and is Reed’s favorite. I felt bad for him when the judge said it was a rooster. Do I have any recourse from the Hatchery? We picked up the chicks when they were just a few hours old. And I have three roosters at home who hatched here – surprise!- is there any way to neuter them so they aren’t constantly riding the poor hens?
      Thanks for taking time to answer me. Sounds like you’re going to be my go-to advisor! Could you email me so I can talk to you ? marye@ncn.net

      1. Mary Waller

        Trouble sending reply by your email address but I think I fixed it! if not I will contact you again. Mary

  30. Gloria B.

    Mary, you aren’t the only one learning through the fair experience. These posts have been very informative for us city people. What a wonderful event.

    Reed, congratulations on your honors. You should be very proud of yourself.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Gloria B – goes to show you’re never too old to learn!

  31. Pat Smith

    Wow! What a great day! I feel like I learned so much as well about how difficult it is to tell the sex of chickens. I never realized there was so much attention paid to showmanship as I was never in 4-H. Really exciting news today about Reed winning such a big award. You all look SO happy!

    1. Mary Etherington

      Sure was fun meeting you, Pat, and having coffee! Don’t forget to send me those pictures, OK?

  32. Jan VanDeWalle


    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Jan – we are so lucky the weather is in the 70’s and mid 80’s this year. Some years it’s so hot for those animals in cages. FYI – last year at the auction, the winning cage of 3 broilers brought $500! Great support from the sponsors, wouldn’t you agree?

    2. Diane M

      Jan, our fair is in late August and we have had extremely hot days for it. One year it was so bad that some small poultry died. The kids took liter bottles or water bottles and froze water in them. It really helps keep the animals cool. We used to do it for our rabbits.

  33. Sue H

    High 5!!!! What a fantastic ending to a fantastic fair. All were such blue ribbon winners … yourself included!

  34. Paula

    Reed this is wonderful. You are blessed guy to have such a mentor as Mary. Happy Happy Day for you all.
    Paula in KY

  35. Anita Fetzer

    I’m as PROUD of Reed and his family as if they were my own. What a wonderful experience they had with you to help. This is truly an All American Family. Congratulations!!!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Anita – it’s been such a fun two days to watch the judging and be a small part of the background. Yes, I am very proud of all three of them!

  36. Kelley

    Very happy for Reed. What a surprise about Alta being a Rooster! I was on a state champion poultry and egg judging team for 4-H back in the day. I doubt I would have known that was a rooster. HA! Congrats to all the kids…4-H is wonderful.

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Kelley – did you know there are certain feathers that are pointed on a rooster? The same feathers are rounded on a hen. OMG – what a revelation!

  37. Ellie

    What a wonderful story! Congratulations to Reed! You must feel very proud of him!

  38. Diane

    Oh my… Reading this brought a tear of joy to my eye! How exciting for Reed. Congratulations to him and Myra too. It warms my heart to read stories like these. Especially in a time where there seems to be so much conflict, crime, and corruption. Thank you for sharing your stories and more importantly congratulations to you and all of the other’s (parents and grandparents) for the guidance you’re providing these children. The world needs more of you!

  39. Julianna

    While I am very excited for Reed, Myra and big brother – I am amazed at how much these youngsters have learned and continue to learn. What valuable life lessons! I love that they are required to complete the questionnaire and explain their process(es). And tearing apart the motor and rebuilding – talk about problem solving skills!?! That’s just wonderful. They are building teamwork skills. They already seem to be well-rounded, I look forward to watching them develop into great adults. And it can’t be understated how fortunate they are to have a wonderful neighbor and friend called Mary!!!

    1. CountryThreads Post author

      Julianna – as I looked around the building I, too, couldn’t help but think that here was a bunch of kids learning life skills, perseverance and pride. For me it’s such a delight to have someone who wants to learn from my own commitment and love of quilting. It’s a win-win for all of us!

  40. Launa

    I’m certain this will be the first of many trophies for Reed! Congratulations and thanks for the great photos, Mary. What a great family!

  41. Sue

    Congratulations on your fantastic win, Reed. Hooray for you!! And, Myra, too. You had great success at the fair.

    I loved the part about Eunice/Elvis. I once got a rooster instead of a hen at our farm store. Sexing those babies is pretty hard to do, I guess.

    1. Micky

      Congratulations to all the fair winners. Mary, I admire you for you mentoring these young people, what a good foundation your adding to what the parents and grandparents are doing. Yea for county fairs. Peace Micky

  42. SusanfromKentucky

    Congratulations to Reed! I know you’re proud as you can be. As for a new name for Alta- how about Alton? Close name to the original. I was really surprised when you came up with the name Alta. That was my grandmother’s sister’s name and I had never heard anyone else with it.

  43. Debbie B

    Congratulations to Reed and his whole family! How exciting! It’s so fun to see your interaction with the kids. You can tell you all love each other. Fun learning times!

  44. Angie

    Way to go, Reed!!!!! I hope he knows we are all over the country cheering for him, his hard work and his success!! Congratulations!!! So happy for Reed and everyone that contributed to his success.

  45. Susie Q

    There is a blue “Read More” link in this post……. but the link just goes to your web site….. don’t know the questions about Eunice…..

    the reason I mention it is because it happened another time recently……

    Great post about the FAIR and Chickens !!

  46. Helen Jane

    Hi Mary…Congratulations to the Rauk kids/family and you! These posts are so interesting. Being a farm girl in my growing up years I am surely learning and appreciate doing so. Yes, to roller skating and 4-H in Texas. Wow! Do a Happy Dance!

  47. Teresa

    Loving these posts about Reed and his family showing at the fair. Will you be going to State Fair to watch them show? Isn’t it amazing how your kindness and friendship have blossomed into State Fair exhibits! Those kids will always have wonderful memories of you no matter where they go in life. ❤️

  48. Felicia Hamlin

    Wow, Reed! How exciting for you to win. Congratulations to you and your siblings, I am proud of you, Reed. Mary. God bless all your good work with the youngsters.

Comments are closed.