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Prize-winning poultry

Local 4-H Livestock Club members got a chance to show off their prized poultry at the Carbon County Fair on Friday.

The poultry showing was overseen by American Poultry Association judge Elton Minnic. Beginning with a judging for showmanship, members Karissa Costenbader, Chelsea Eckhart and Jenna Wallace displayed their chickens and identified parts of the birds. Alyssa Myers proceeded to display one of her ducks independently. Minnic offered several tips to the young contestants for future showings, pointing out proper display techniques and handling methods.Minnic went on to judge the penned turkeys and ducks, noting particular features and flaws with each fowl. Coloration, feathers, head and breast size, and patterning were of prime importance for each species and breed.Myers won the Supreme Champion Rooster award for her Khaki Campbell duck in the 4-H and Open categories.Costenbader won the Supreme Champion Hen award for her black Australorp chicken in both categories.Eckhart won the Reserve Champion Hen award for her Pekin duck in both categories, as well as the Reserve Champion Rooster award for her partridge Plymouth rock chicken in the 4-H exclusive.Kyle Troxell won a Reserve Champion award for his male Black Cayuga chicken in the Open category.Each winning contestant received ribbons, with 4-H entries receiving banners as well."I think everything went really great, and it was a nice comeback from last year. Last year we didn't have shows because they were suspended all across the state of Pennsylvania," said Kristin Simmons, director of the local 4-H."It's been pretty cool. It was cool to show the ducks this year," said Eckhart, a seven-year 4-H member who also participates in the dairy beef category.All members noted that while the care procedures for poultry are relatively easy, it was still very important to work with the birds."You've got to make sure you hold them all the time, give them their food and water, and place them in the cage properly," Wallace said. This can be especially important during showmanship, she explained."This morning, we had to put fresh pine down, put food and water in the pen, and scrub their feet with toothbrushes," Eckhart said.While members usually receive their birds in February and March, this year's batch started a bit later than usual. Simmons said that the members got their birds in May, raising them from day-old chicks to adulthood. Some specimens had yet to fully develop. Even with a disadvantage in time, Minnic was impressed with the showing."Good, good quality birds," he said, in particular with the water fowl.Myers was particularly proud, being the youngest member at the show to win a prize."I really liked it, because I got Supreme Champion with my duck. And it was actually my first year showing ducks," she said.Simmons mentioned the opportunities that participating in 4-H poultry showings affords to children."It's like a steppingstone for 4-H members. Sometimes the children start out in 4-H in the poultry part, and then they branch out and do other projects. These are good kids doing positive things, and I just want to highlight that and give them their recognition."In the end, the 4-H members appeared to have an enjoyable time participating in the show, and working with the group in general."I really like it. You have to know your responsibilities, learn new things and meet new friends," Myers said.

From left, Karissa Costenbader, Chelsea Eckhart and Jenna Wallace show their chickens to American Poultry Association judge Elton Minnic during the showmanship portion of the event. BRIAN MYSZKOWSKI/TIMES NEWS