Going to the county fair is one thing; there’s a lot to do, and everything has its charm. But for Elihu, he can hardly give anything his full attention until we’ve spent a good hour in the poultry house first. Only then can we venture off and try other things. But there’s a second visit during our day at the fair, and a third, and maybe even a final look-see as we heard out…. Yup, it takes a lot of visits to the poultry barn to fully appreciate the variety and wonder of these silly creatures. And I have to admit that I myself would rather pass an hour with the chickens than any other farm animal. There’s just so much variety and action. There sure is a lot of entertainment value to be found in these fancy fowl….
It always starts innocently enough…
But before long you’re sucked in. There are just so many birds, so little time….
There are facts to be learned…
…and prize winners to be admired.
You know this fellow and recognize his display…
The wife is clearly not impressed with either.
A ‘Call’ duck. Scientifically proven to be one of the cutest animals on the planet.
Another relative. Such lovely eyes, don’t you think?
A red golden pheasant. We once had one named Timothy (plus two hens). We eventually gave him to a local pheasant breeder in order to give him the higher quality of life we couldn’t provide for him here in our modest setup.
Oh dear. It isn’t her fault. ! If only she’d had a say in the creation of her breed.
A handsome pair of banties (miniature chickens).
Handsome in an obvious sort of way….
… and handsome in another sort of way.
Elihu could never pick a winner. He loves every last one of them.
But the grand discovery of this year’s fair was definitely the Emus. We spent a lot of time getting to know these bizarre-looking creatures. While passersby all advised not to put fingers anywhere near the fence, Elihu and I spent a lot of time with our arms completely inside the fence while we scratched their necks or sunk our arms up to the wrist in fluffy ostrich-like feathers.
The hen accepts a smooch on the soft spot under her bill.
Then she closes her nictitating eyelids – an expression of supreme trust and pleasure in a bird.
We must have logged a good hour in hands-on contact.
They have very big, amber eyes.
This hen was such a sweetie. As engaged with us as any bird could be.
Here’s the fellow who raises the Emus. His farm isn’t too far away. We’re going to set a date sometime to come out and take a look at his operation. Not that we’re going into the Emu business anytime soon, but the thought had occurred to us… (We’ve also learned it takes 18 months to raise up an Emu before butchering – we’re a bit concerned that we might end up growing attached in that amount of time. Maybe it’s best we just visit our new friends.)
The Elsworth family farm is the only one within almost a hundred miles that grows non GMO crops – and they save their seed, too. They only sell what they grow and process themselves. We’re going to buy our chicken feed from them in the future, and we feel very good about that. We also feel very good about our entire experience this year with the Washington County Fair birds of 2013. See ya next year!