Steamboat Springs Marley Loomis' standard Rhode Island red chicken, Fluffy, won three ribbons at the Routt County Fair Thursday. But she didn't think the competition was very hard.
"There were probably some chickens that could have tied," Loomis said. "Fluffy won first place in the breed competition because the judge said she's a good layer."
The judge was unaware that Fluffy laid an egg in her cage while she was waiting for her turn to be judged.
"He feels around and somehow he can tell if she's a good layer or not," Loomis said.
This was Loomis' first year competing with her chickens at the fair. It was a little tough to get her hens acclimated.
"They were totally freaked out, but once they knew I wasn't going to kill them and they weren't going to get away, they started to calm down," she said.
Sheep superintendent Kelly Gates was at the fair Thursday to assistant junior 4H participants.
"I manage the show ring and I love just helping the kids and being part of it," Gates said. "It's fun to see what they do with their projects."
Gates was assisting with the bum lamb competition in the afternoon.
"Bum lambs are lambs that have lost their mothers, and the kids hand raise them with a bottle," she said. "In the competition, they turn all the lambs loose and the lambs run to their owners and their milk jugs."
The participants in this contest are in the peewee 4-H division and are between the ages of 3 and 7. Contestant Scout Reynolds and her 3-month-old lamb Kiwi did well in the competition.
"I think she did pretty good because we got a rainbow ribbon," Reynolds said.
Raising Kiwi by hand was not easy.
"I had to bottle-feed her every two hours until she was six weeks old," Reynolds said. "Then we started feeding her in the morning, afternoon and night."
Orphaned lambs only have a 50 percent chance of survival because they don't always take to the bottle, and there can be other complications as well.
"She's pretty huge. She can eat the flowers on my head," Reynolds said. "I'm keeping her for one more month and then she'll be meat in our freezer."
- To reach Allison Plean, call 871-4204 or e-mail email@example.com