It's time for the paws and claws at Mercer fair

July 27, 2004|LIZ MAPLES

HARRODSBURG - The bunnies were brushed and the poultry bathed.

All the animals were in tip-top shape for the youth poultry and rabbit show at the Mercer County Fair.

It was the highlight of the year for the 4-H Paws and Claws Club here. All year long these kids have raised rabbits or poultry, and on Monday the animals were judged by the experts.

Emily Keller's parents watched nervously as she talked to the judges about her three Dwarf Holland Lops. It was the 12-year-old's first summer raising rabbits, and it is something she's always wanted to do, her mom said.

She came away with three blue ribbons, a best-of-breed and a smile from ear to ear.

"Hopefully next year I'll have more to bring," she said, looking at her three rabbits.

All the parents at the show agreed. It takes no time and little effort to double their bunny population.


Kaylynn and Kelsey Best, 13-year-old twins, each own a doe. They want to keep their rabbits down to a family of two.

They met with the Paws and Claws Club all year, waiting for the show. After all that preparation, were their Dutch rabbits nervous? "I think the rabbits are nervous," Kelsey Best said. "I am."

Kaylynn appeared quite calm, holding her bunny like a baby in her arms.

Aaron Shewmaker, 11, of Harrodsburg, brushed his Mini Rex named Snowball. It is a white rabbit with red eyes.

"You can take care of it and hold it a lot," he said.

He and his sister, Megan, 10, both raised rabbits for the first time this year.

Across the show barn the poultry was pinned up in cages.

Eric Hopewell, 14, of Salvisa, brought his Rhode Island Reds.

He feeds them twice a day, in the morning and the afternoon.

Raising animals in 4-H is meant to teach students responsibility. What does Hopewell do when he doesn't want to feed his birds? "I have to do it anyway," he said.

He used dog shampoo to bathe his birds for the show.

"You just put them in there and they sit there," he said.

Dan Harlow, 12, of Versailles, swore his white Silkie, with its round feather Afro and five-toed feet, could do Karate.

"I'm serious," Harlow said. "I go in to feed these roosters and this one does a jump kick."

He usually bathes his chickens in Woolite. "I don't usually like to advertise for certain products, but Woolite works best," he said.

For this fair, though, he skipped it because he got home late Sunday night.

"Let's face it, bathing chickens at 11 p.m. is not fun."

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