Raising Show Chickens

By: Joe Brown Email
By: Joe Brown Email

“This chicken house was my grandfather’s, so it’s about fifty years old or older, and it used to be up at their house and when I started ten years ago, we moved it from their house down to our house so it’s been around a while.”

Jennifer Marino has shown chickens in the Brazos county youth livestock show since she was in third grade.

“When you order your chickens they’re all a dollar per bird, and they all come from the same spot, so everybody gets their chickens on equal playing ground, and nobody has a better chicken since they all come from the same spot.”

Brand new baby chicks can be fragile.

“When you first get them, we have them set up in like a brooder, with a lot of heat lamps and it has to be pretty high temperatures, like in the eighties, and keep them warm so they don’t get sick.”

Jennifer says that the amount of time you spend on your chickens is directly related to how well they do.

“If you just ignore your chickens and just feed them in the morning or at night, that’s not, you don’t get a good chicken out of that. You have to constantly get them up and eating, because if they just sit there, they don’t gain any weight.”

We asked how the chickens would be graded.

“The judge looks at the breast meat of the chicken, so they want it to be wide, and then it needs to taper at the end, so it needs to be shaped like a football, and in the show you show a pen of three chickens, and what you want is for all three of them to be uniform. They need to be the same size and weight and shape, because when you go to the grocery store, and you buy a package of chicken breasts, you want them all to be the same, so that’s what you’re trying to do here.”

This weekend Jennifer competes for the last time in the Brazos county youth livestock show. I’m Joe Brown, looking at Brazos Valley agriculture, From the Ground Up.

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