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Raising poultry is hard enough. Manatee County Fair puts kids’ knowledge to the test

Nine-year-old Kaylee Reid is learning responsibility early and she doesn’t mind. For nine months she’s enjoyed raising her cock, Raisin, and on Monday, Kaylee and other children had their knowledge of poultry put to the test at the Manatee County Fair.

Kaylee stood proudly as she politely answered a judge’s questions during the fair’s Poultry Showmanship event while her mom and grandparents watched nearby.

She generally loves talking about Raisin, but she was nervous as she waited to interviewed. Afterward, when she approached her mother she told her how hard the questions were.

But the work was easy, Kaylee told a Bradenton Herald reporter.

Even without knowing the results of the showmanship event, Raisin was already a winner. Kaylee was proud that Raisin won Best of Breed overall for bantam, miniature breeds.

Kaylee, a third grader at Virgil Mills Elementary, and her 11-year-old brother already had five chickens of their own at home.

“I do the feeding and he does the water,” she explained.

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Together the siblings are responsible for collecting any eggs the chickens lay and cleanings their pens. But unlike their other five chickens, Raisin was not kept at home but at grandma’s house.

“Our girls are loud enough,” their mother Ashley French said.

Kaylee’s grandparents’ home in Parrish has nine acres of property, so bothering neighbors is less of a concern.

Already, Kaylee is looking forward to next’s year fair.

“I want to show a dairy cow,” she said smiling as her eyes grew wide.

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Nine-year-old Kaylee Reid answers a judge’s questions during Monday’s Poultry Showmanship event at the Manatee County Fair. Jessica De Leon jdeleon@bradenton.com

According to French, both children entered the plant competition and her son, who’s entered the poultry competition before, also entered the swine competition for the first time this year.

“I learned about pigs this year, and next year I get to learn about dairy cows,” she said.

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The youth agricultural events teach them a sense of responsibility and social skills because they have to be able to answer the judge’s questions.

“I think it’s a good hobby for them,” French said.

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