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THOMPSON – County fair livestock shows are always a learning opportunity for the young people involved.

At Saturday’s Winnebago County Fair Poultry Show, Judge Larry Eichenberger offered some important advice to exhibitors as well as future exhibitors, when showing poultry.

“Even if you think they are clean, always wash your light colored birds before you show them,” Eichenberger said. This drew the crowd’s attention to some of the white-feathered, market broilers being exhibited. “It just makes the feathers and coloring pop so much more.”

Feather quality, condition and thickness were some of the main factors he took into consideration while judging.

He turned birds over to expose their breasts and explained to the young exhibitors about the importance of making certain their chickens were lying around on mesh, to avoid getting bruises or sores. This could irritate and cause discomfort to the animals and hurt the quality of the meat when they went to market.

In addition, Eichenberger pointed out to the exhibitors and those in attendance some of the things they needed to be cautious of when removing a bird from a cage.

“Their wings are very fragile and can be broken easily,” Eichenberger said. “Always try to bring them out head first and be mindful of their wings when they splay them out.”

Eichenberger reminded the exhibitors to take their time removing their birds from the cages.

He added to not let the fact it was a show or that they were being judged make them careless or impatient.

Eichenberger even took the time to point out an occasional anomaly in the comb of one of the production pullets.

“When these come from a hatchery, you might see the occasional anomaly where the comb is a split comb instead of a single comb,” Eichenberger said. “That doesn’t matter at all for egg production, but when I am looking for a uniform pen of four, then that is something that will stand out.

“It might seem like a small detail but it would still be considered a variant from the other chickens.”

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