Cleaning up after the chickens at the fair

Tinley Mette cleans up at the Effingham County Fair.

By Tuesday afternoon, the birds — including chickens — had left the Effingham County fairgrounds, or moved to different cages, to make room for the rabbits.

Kids who showed chickens were very busy Tuesday morning preparing to either take their chickens home or move them elsewhere. They had to clean the cages and scrape up the sawdust under the cages to prepare for the rabbits' arrival. The rabbits were scheduled to arrive between 2 and 6 p.m. Tuesday.

Sam Huber, 9, was among the kids helping in the cleanup. This was his first year showing chickens.

“It’s a learning process,” said Karen Huber, Sam's mom.

The Hubers are from Dieterich. The family brought its chickens to the fair on Friday. They have been camping at the fair to take care of their chickens. Sam plans to sell his chickens at the 4-H auction Wednesday night.

Tinley Mette, 14, was also helping clean the area. Mette, of Altamont, has been showing chickens, rabbits, goats and pigs for six years. Her family had 30 chickens at the fair this year.

Talking to the judges about the animals is Mette's favorite part of showing. Although she enjoys showing all of her animals, pigs are her favorite to show.

Mackenzie Brewer, 14, of Altamont, was also helping clean Tuesday morning. Brewer showed five chickens and four pigeons this year, but chickens are her favorite to show.

“You have more of them to show,” she explained.

Seeing what birds the judges select to win is Brewer’s favorite part of showing. Brewer usually feeds and waters her birds once a day, but she checks on them occasionally to make sure they’re doing OK. According to Brewer, they also had to put sawdust under the cages when they brought their birds out to the fair. Brewer has been in 4-H for two years. Besides her birds, she shows her photography.

Another helping prepare the area for the rabbits was David Adams of Altamont. Adams, 12, has been in 4-H for two years.

This year Adams showed chickens and crops. Adams also showed chickens last year along with a woodworking project. Adams said his favorite part of showing was getting ribbons.

Cleaning up usually takes around 30 minutes, according to Mette. She said it is an important chore in order for things to be ready for the rabbits.

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