Abby Pyle took home the grand prize for her pen of three market chickens during the Poultry Show held Sept. 19 as part of the 2020 Delaware County Junior Fair.
Pyle, a seventh grader at Buckeye Valley Middle School, said she didn’t expect to be crowned champion this year. Pyle, 12, said she had been working with her prize-winning chickens for around six weeks before the fair started, and she was nervous going into the competition.
“There are always good chickens at our fair,” Pyle said. “You never know exactly what the judges are looking for. So yes, I was a little bit nervous.”
Pyle said she was caught off guard when she won the top prize.
“I felt a mix of surprise and excitement,” she said. “It was also bittersweet because the fair was so different this year.”
Pyle’s excitement was shared by her mother, Amy.
“As Abby’s mom, I could tell that she was surprised that she had won, and I was happy for her,” said Amy Pyle, who added Abby took care of the chickens along with her sister, Maggie.
Amy Pyle added there’s more to the competition than “just grabbing three chickens from the pen.”
“Prior to the fair, Abby and her sister, Maggie, select the birds they will be taking and then wash and dry them,” she said. “That can be very interesting and fun to watch. We like to call it our ‘chicken spa day.’”
Amy Pyle explained the judges judge the chickens based on their quality and symmetry, as well as other aspects.
“This year, the judge was very thorough and spent a great deal of time ensuring that the birds were the right choice in all aspects, including bird health, meat quality, cleanliness, and the overall conditions that the birds were raised in,” Amy Pyle said. “I think the judge did a great job, and I was proud that Abby’s hard work on this project was recognized.”