XENIA — A first-timer in the market chicken show walked away from the ring all smiles Aug. 2.
Cole Harlow of Jamestown Jr. Farmers 4-H Club earned a third place ribbon for showing his three chickens in one of the first classes of the contest, a group of lighter-weight birds.
Judge Lucas Dickerson said when judging he looks for chickens with a full breast, healthy legs and thighs and good wings.
“I also look for three birds that match — that are a mirror image of each other with the same characteristics,” Dickerson said.
He added that the cleanliness and condition of the birds is also important. Dickerson, from Michigan, has been judging poultry for 20 years.
Dickerson examined Harlow’s birds, crouching down to speak to the boy at eye level.
“I like chickens,” Harlow said, adding that he was a little nervous during the show, but happy when he found out he had placed.
But the showman’s success was a little more than beginner’s luck. According to his dad, it was all due to hard work.
“This is his first time showing chickens and he did it all himself,” Derek Harlow said with obvious pride. “I made him do everything.”
Harlow said he helped his son build the coop for the chickens, but left everything else up to him.
The young farmer explained how he raised his nine chickens in the last eight weeks, three of which he brought to the fair.
“I water them, feed them, change the bedding, let them run around,” Cole Harlow said. “And I don’t let them sleep — so they get exercise,” he added matter-of-factly.
He said he also took an electricity project to the fair and earned second place for his woodworking project.
Although it was Cole Harlow’s first time showing chickens, his dad recalled his own 4-H days showing chickens at the fair.
“We’re probably going to do it next year again — if he wants to,” Derek Harlow said.