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Rowan sends junior poultry judging team to Raleigh


Morgan Watts

On July 20, the Rowan County Poultry Judging Team traveled to Raleigh for the State Poultry Judging Contest. Rowan County had six kids participate; those six made up a junior team (youth ages 9-13 as of Jan. 1) and a senior team (youth ages 14-18 as of Jan. 1).

If you are unfamiliar with what poultry judging entails, let me explain. The participants must learn how to judge past production hens; they have to determine which hens they think have been laying the longest based on how white their shanks, feet and toes are.

They also have to check and see if the hens are molting and how big their abdominal capacity is. The participants have to judge two classes of these birds. There are four hens in each class, and they have to rank them best to worst.

After judging the classes, the participants must then give a set of oral reasons on why they placed them the way they did. Basically, they have to give a speech to a complete stranger.

Another thing involved in the contest is grading ready-to-cook carcasses. They have to grade 10 of these based on the condition the carcass is in (any exposed flesh, broken bones, missing meat, etc.). They also have to identify 10 different cuts of chicken.

The next process is judging exterior, broken out and interior eggs. When judging exterior eggs, they have to look and see if anything is misshaped, dirty or has any obvious defects. With broken out eggs, they are looking to see how well the egg stays together and if it is watery.

Last, but not least, are interior eggs. They use a candler or LED flashlight in a darkened room to see how big the air cell is — the smaller the air cell, the better.

As you can see, there is a lot to learn. The Rowan County team started practicing every week before school got out. They stayed committed and dedicated to learning all the parts. I think they are ready to go back again next year. If you see any of these 4-Hers around, make sure to congratulate them.

Our junior team was made up of Talton Correll, Lucas Parker and Joshua Wilson. Our senior team was made up of Dylan Hawkey, John Lee and Josie Correll. They have not released the full results from the contest yet, but we do know that Josie Correll was third overall in the senior division. Congratulations, Josie!

If you have any questions about poultry judging or how to get your youth involved in this amazing opportunity or any opportunity through 4-H, please call the Rowan County Center for more details 704-216-8970.

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