Chaffee County Fair animal judging kicked off Wednesday with 4-H and open poultry and open rabbit judging.

After judging the American pullets Wednesday morning, judge Joyce Conger of Delta said the Chaffee County 4-Hers had brought some of the best chickens she had seen.

“They are absolutely outstanding,” she said.

In addition to judging, Conger gave those showing birds tips on what she looks for in each breed.

Ten competitors showed chickens of many breeds, including Rhode Island red, Plymouth Rock, buff Orpington and Cochin.

Jeffrey Johns-Roberts showed turkeys in addition to several chicken breeds.

Melody Rice, 10, showed a 2-year-old buff Orpington hen that she raised from a 2-day-old chick.

She said showing her hen was exciting.

Afternoon judging was reserved for rabbits.

Rabbits were shown by eight competitors and included breeds such as Netherland dwarf, Holland lop and French Angora.

Judge Stephanie Riegel gave competitors a running commentary of what she was looking for in each animal, including body type, coat, color and markings.

Tanner Shellabarger, 8, said this was his first year showing as a full-fledged 4-H member. He had participated in Cloverbuds until he was old enough to compete at age 8.

Tanner brought Havana rabbits to show. He said the best part of being a full 4-H member was that he can now show competitively. The hardest part of showing animals, he said, was watching and taking care of the animals.

He also showed pigs and goats in Thursday’s judging.

This is veteran 4-H competitor Johns-Roberts’ last year of being eligible for showing as a 4-H member.

He said he hopes to add a few more grand champion ribbons to his collection this year before he heads to Colorado State University in the fall, where he plans to major in a scientific field.

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