The broiler project for the Jr. Livestock Show has certainly been an experience!
Over the last five years, we’ve raised the chickens indoors (in the garage) and outdoors. In handmade buildings and in our water trough (that has been used as our pool during the rest of the year). 😉
We’ve had a year when we lost several of them to the cold or bad health. We had this year, when only one passed away during the whole process.
We’ve enjoyed the first week of every project year, cuddling those little balls of fluff. We’ve avoided touching the yucky birds they turn into for the rest of the project.
We’ve tended to them through decent days, but also through cold, wind, rain… and even snow this year!
Ben has done well in the show ring. But he’s also come in second to last. One year, we even missed the show because I had the date wrong on the calendar. (no joke!)
Ben has also done very well in the auction. He’s also been a little disappointed, like last night.
Yesterday was a bunch of hurrying and waiting. We hurried out to Seguin, to have the birds processed. And then we sat for about three hours, as we waited our turn, as we waited for our birds. Then we hurried to the auction. And then we sat for six hours, as we waited for Ben’s turn on the stage. During this time we saw some small bids, we noticed lots of poultry getting what Ben usually receives, we saw animals of all kinds get incredible totals for the kids (I mean, there were several moments of clapping and cheering!). And then it was finally Ben’s turn. In just a couple of minutes, it was over. Of course, a BIG THANK YOU to Kendall County Abstract Company (where we’ve actually done business several times ). And to Wild Game Dinner for the add-on (where Ben has loved going with his dad the last couple of years)!!!!! But I know Ben was sad that there weren’t a few add-ons that we were expecting. Especially since he still has to pay me back for all of the feed and shavings. Bummer. But… we could always be surprised with add-ons that happen over the next few days (fingers crossed!). 🙂
But here’s what I really wanted to tell, in case you don’t know the show day fiasco yet…..
It begins with the fact that we had chosen three large, matching female birds. We separated them from the rest. Ben and I bathed them. We transported them to check-in at the barn on the day of the show. We were there in plenty of time. We were ready for a successful day.
As we’re in line, we go ahead and start the paperwork. During this time, we notice that one of the broilers doesn’t have her required id tag. We had no other choice than run back home to trade her out for another female. This is trip #1.
We’re back in line again. And we actually make it up to the check-in station. Then it’s pointed out to us that one of the birds has broken her wing. No choice but to run back home to trade her out for another female. This makes trip #2.
We’re almost back to the barn, when Ben yells “The new chicken is bleeding!!! She’s torn off her tag!” So we pull over. Check-in ends in about 20 minutes. We’re all laughing at this point. Laughing so hard, I’m also crying. And getting very worried Ben’s completely missed his chance to be in the ring and in the auction. We know it will take about 11 minutes to get home, about 11 minutes back (we know this because I had this inkling during our second trip back home that we’d need to know this information). As a group (Ben, his dad, and I), we went through our options as quickly as we could. And we decided to try one more time. There was obviously no time to try to choose three males instead. We had to trade out a female again. This is trip #3!
When we get back to the barn, the incredible officers, directors, and volunteers are waiting for us!!!!! We’re exhausted. I explained why we took so long. I was told to breathe. No problem! And then they were laughing along with us.
When given a chance to reflect, we realize we really don’t know what the two new birds looks like. No chance of doing well in the show ring. And he was dismissed from the show during the second round. But seriously, we were okay with that. Lessons learned! And we also saw how amazingly everyone worked under pressure. So impressed with our teamwork, I announced that we should sign up for The Amazing Race. But not really. I don’t ever want to do something like this ever again. 😉