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4-H girl talks turkey at the Ninilchik State Fair

Posted: Monday, November 19, 2001

When we first got our turkeys at the end of March, they looked exactly like baby chickens do. But boy did they turn out different. They shot up like bean stalks, they grow so fast. Soon we had to get a bigger box to put them in -- it was still too cold to put them outside -- and with that box we had to add big sides so they couldn't jump out. The first of May was the turkeys' first outing and they didn't come back in. They stayed in the pen with our chickens, which was fine. The turkeys' feathers started to change from yellow chick fluff to white turkey feathers.

Every day we would let the chickens and turkeys out to scratch in the horse pen. It was pretty fun to see the white turkeys and the chickens scratch around in the dirt. They liked to follow us around wherever we went. Summer went by, and soon it was time to rush to get ready for the fair. There were quick bluing baths for the turkeys, as they had managed to get themselves filthy and were in need of a whiting bath.

The day of the fair we packed up all our animals, crafts and displays and drove to Ninilchik. When we got there, it was the animals first then the other crafts. Finally it was all taken care of and it was time for a rest -- not. Do you ever rest at the fair when you are in 4-H? I don't think so!

There were still many things to do, and that night I had to get ready to show my turkey. The showing was pretty funny because there were quite a few people showing those big white birds. Good thing we didn't have to lift them up onto the table. I got red in showmanship and a blue in conformation.

Friday went by in a blur and Saturday was here. Auction time. I got all dressed up in black pants and a white shirt, pulled back my hair and got ready to enter the ring. When I went in, I heard the bids rising and then Blakely's Auction had bought my turkey. After I sold my turkey I went and served at the Junior Market Livestock barbecue. It was tasty. Fair time was over and we all dreaded when the time came to butcher the turkeys. But that is part of Junior Market Livestock. We butchered the turkeys and felt sick to out stomachs, so instead of cooking we went and got a pizza. That made us feel better.

Now it's time again to start thinking about doing a lamb. I'm so glad that I am in 4-H. It gives me so many opportunities. If I hadn't been in 4-H, I wouldn't have raised a turkey. Enjoy your Thanksgiving.

Kara Bethune is a 4-H participant.



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