FLORENCE, S.C. — For the past eight months, 4-H Friendship Club member Charlotte Watson has been raising Betsy, a Dominique chicken.
Friday evening, Charlotte competed with Betsy at the Eastern Carolina Agricultural Fair.
Charlotte, who has been a 4-H Friendship Club member for two years, took part in the Laying Flock Project this year.
As part of the project, Charlotte worked with Betsy for nearly two months to get her used to being around people for the showmanship competition at the fair.
“Every day, I’ve been working with her to train her for the showmanship part of the chicken project,” Charlotte said. “Every day, I go through the routine when I go out and feed and water them. I’m constantly handling her so she gets used to being around people.”
During the showmanship competition, Charlotte had to go in front of a judge to Betsy’s physical features, such as her wings, neck height and legs. Charlotte also had to pose Betsy and lead her across a table with a dowel rod.
“I’m glad that it went fairly well, and I know what to do next time,” Charlotte said. I’m glad I got this experience.”
In addition to showmanship, Charlotte also took part in an interview, and Betsy was judged in her cage.
Charlotte also had to keep a record book throughout her project that showed her goals at the beginning of her project, problems she might face during the project and outcomes from the project.
“You got to stay on top of it,” Charlotte said. “I found out because it is very long, and it takes a lot of work and research. It is very useful to understand that you have to research more, and you see how much you’ve gained and the experiences you’ve gotten from it.”
Charlotte won second place for her record book, the interview and the cage judging.
At first she did not know how to train a chicken, Charlotte said, but she attended a workshop to learn. She said the hardest part was trying to get Betsy to cooperate with her.
Charlotte said her favorite part of completing the project was getting to see the chickens’ personalities as she was working with them more.
“I’ve had chickens my whole life, but I’ve never really went out there much only to feed them and water them, but with this project I’ve had to be more social with my chickens. It’s like the change I’ve seen. They’ll all come running.”
Charlotte said Betsy has a sweet personality, but she has a tendency to be stubborn.