The kids worked really hard to care for their turkeys and present them in the NC Mountain State Fair this year. I was really proud of them and all they learned. They worked together as a team doing chores, and raised eight turkeys from day old poults. They learned about animal science, business and marketing, responsibility, and lots of hard work in the process.
If you would like to see some of what they did to raise their birds and get ready for the fair, please read here . If you want to see how they learned about showmanship and how to show their birds you can read here . You can find all our 4H related stories here .
There were five rounds of hens shown, and five rounds of toms shown in the Youth Market Turkey Show. For each round of judging, 10 kids with 10 similar weight turkeys would enter the judging ring, so that is about 50 hens, and 50 toms, were shown in the show. Each kid was expected to show a hen and a tom in the show.
From getting the birds to the show, setting up their pens, waiting for the show to start, and showing the birds, it was an all day event. We started around 8 in the morning, and finished around 5 in the evening.
You enter the ring with your turkey and sit on a hay bale. You are supposed to hold your turkey by the legs until the judge comes over to you. Your position around the ring is based on the weight of your bird, with the lightest at the beginning and the heaviest in each round at the end.
The judge looked over the health and presentation of each bird (feathers, feet, head, eyes, breast, etc.), ask the kids questions about the bird (breed, age), and how they raised it (type of pen, feed, exercise, etc.), and feel its breast and legs. After comparing all the birds in the round, he would score the birds (first, second, third, and so on). If you took first place in one of the rounds, you would have the chance to compete for the Grand Champion spot in the last round.
Our 11 year old son took second place with his hen turkey.
Our eight year old son placed 7th with his hen turkey.
Our six year old son took 6th place with his hen turkey.
The hen turkey my younger son showed was pretty calm for him in the show ring. But the tom was a different story.
Here, my six year old son is showing his tom and was scared and trying not to cry as his turkey was kicking his legs and trying to escape during the judging. He could barely hold his strong legs and was afraid of his sharp claws. Dad had gotten a deep cut on his hand from the claws just minutes before the tom show started, it bled badly and was painful, and this really scared him. For the hen show, the judging team allowed the parents to sit close by and help the youngest kids hold the bird if needed. But for the tom show, they asked the parents to let the kids show the birds on their own, rather than have the parents help hold the birds. He was just petrified. Dad was worried about him to, given the wound that had just occurred and knowing how strong and dangerous a tom turkey can be.
After the judge checked the tom over, they allowed the him to let the turkey stand while the judge made his decisions. (several of the younger kids were allowed to let their birds stand).
My eight year old was not a bit afraid, and held the tom turkey’s legs with one hand while the judge was finishing up at this point.
All three of the boys and their tom turkeys did well.
The six year old took 6th place with his tom, the eight year old took 3rd place with his tom, and the eleven year old took 7th place with his tom. Sorry I don’t have a picture of them holding their toms with their ribbons, but as the day went on, it became more difficult to get pictures because the room was full of dust making it hard for the camera to get a good photo, and my toddlers were out of patience. Many times I just sat the camera down and missed some photo opportunities.
All of our turkeys were donated to the Mana Food Bank following the show. The birds will go to feed the hungry for Thanksgiving meals.
The kids who won Grand Champion and Reserve Champion received really nice prizes.
The winning Grand Prize Hen received an $800 cash prize and the runner up a $400 cash prize.
The winning Grand Prize Tom received an $800 cash prize and the runner up a $400 cash prize.
That is a great thing about participating in programs like this, if you win the top spot, you also win a nice cash prize you can set aside to help with college, or future endeavors.
Though this is our first year, and we did not win any top spots, there is always the chance to try again next year. Many of the kids in this program have shown for several years to reach these goals of Grand Champion. With lots of hard work and tweaking your methods of raising your birds, you just might place in the top spot someday. It is a worth while goal, and a great program for kids.
This post will be linked with
No Time For Flash Cards
ABC and 123