I finally managed to grub up the courage to enter one of my chickens into a poultry show. I selected my Gold laced Wyandotte hen, Wynona whom my daughter Hannah affectionately calls "Little Win" for the show.
It was a small show for one of the poultry clubs I am a member of, so I thought this would be a good way to dip my toes in the water. Wynona is a very placid--dare I say-- bombproof hen, who takes most things in her stride around home, so she made a good candidate for my nervous handling during preparation.
I took the preparation slowly, bathing her on a Wednesday, giving her a rest day on the Thursday then doing nails, feet and legs on the Friday with another rest on the Saturday before Sunday's show. I'm pleased to say that this time when I attempted to trim her toenails there was no bloodshed! I trimmed them back just a tiny bit and then tidied and shaped them with a small nail file. Wynona seemed, if anything, curious about that process and offered gentle comments to her "pedicurist' from time to time as I worked.
Here she is all washed, trimmed and ready for her big day. All that needed to be done on the day of the show was to give her feet a quick wash and oiling and to oil her comb and wattles.
She doesn't look very impressed with me in this photo. I think she just wanted back in with her flock mates by now. I'd had her separated and quarantined from the others for almost a week!
The morning of the show dawned and we were up and on the road bright and early. It was a crisp cool Autumn morning, the kind that lets your breath hang in clouds of steam in the air. The chickens were all still roosting when I went to fetch Wynona from her pen. As for Wynona, she was up and having a sip of water as I slipped through the gate into the orchard. My rooster stirred and grumbled in the chicken coop and I am sure I heard one of the hens mutter something about how 'mum' must be sick if she was up that early!
We loaded Wynona into the back seat of the car and headed out on the highway. None of us having eaten breakfast. Wynona sat quietly in her carry pen, curiously peering out at the world rushing by the windows at 100kmh, faster than any chicken has ever travelled on foot!
If it was crisp at home, it was downright cold when we reached the venue for the show. Hannah and I got Wynona out of the car. I went to see the stewards and registered my entry and then we began the final preparations. A few stray feathers had popped up along the sides of her comb and I held her while Hannah carefully trimmed them away with a small pair of curved scissors. I gave her legs and feet a last minute clean and then rubbed oil into the scales to make them gleam. Wynona quite enjoyed that part and had a little doze while I gently massaged.
Finally, she was as ready as she would ever be, and I carried her down to the poultry pavillion and loaded her into her show pen. The hardwork and patience paid off though when I went back to her pen a little while later and discovered a lovely surprise!
"Little Win" had lived up to her name and took out first prize in her class. (Just don't tell her she was the only bird in her class! I'd hate to shatter her illusions).
I also received a lovely prize as a female exhibitor on the day and I had a lot of fun. I think this is something I will do again. It was a friendly atmosphere, a lovely day, and there were so many beautiful fowls there to view and admire!