Sara McNatt, 16, holds her unnamed Black Cochin Pullet after winning Best in the Barn, Wednesday.
(Emily Russo Miller Photo)
Her hocks were perfectly curved inward, wattles fine in texture and earlobes oblong. Her full plumage flowed over her arched neck and shoulders and yet somehow her unruffled comb remained wrinkle-free. It was a no-brainer for the American Poultry Association certified judge: she, an unnamed Black Cochin Pullet, was the best in the barn.
â€œShe is gorgeous,â€ gasped Debbie Kischur, whose son entered several birds in the Eastern New Mexico State Fair Bird Show.
â€œAnd sheâ€™s just a baby,â€ piped Susan Hickman, superintendent of the fairâ€™s poultry barn.
The award-winning fowl belongs to Sara McNatt, 16, a junior at Roswell High School. She confirmed that her cackling hen, which also won Grand Championship at the county fair, was less than a year old and weighs approximately seven pounds.
â€œSheâ€™ll get a lot bigger,â€ McNatt said as she refilled the henâ€™s empty trough with medicated feed.
McNatt, daughter of Joey McNatt and Sandra Padilla, said she has been showing chickens for as long as she can remember. The key to a successful showing, she said, is to soak the bird in a bath beforehand.
There were over 150 varieties of birds on display Wednesday morning, divided into six categories. Each bird is ranked individually according to the breed standard determined by The American Standard of Perfection, a textbook published by the American Poultry Association.
The award for Reserve Best of Barn went to Kaliegh Sinkaâ€™s White Call Drake.