MIAMI COUNTY — No feathers will fly in the Miami County poultry barn this year, but Miami County Fair organizers got creative to help 4-H members still have fun without the beaked birds this year.
Earlier this summer, the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) canceled all live bird exhibitions due to the wide spread avian flu which had killed more than 47 million birds in the Midwest so far this year. The ban included county fairs, the Ohio State Fair, and all other gatherings of birds for show or for sale, including auctions and swap meets. So far, Ohio is virus-free, yet the disease could be spread by wild, migrating birds which are not susceptible to the virus, during the late summer into fall, according to the ODA.
According to Don Black, Miami County Agriculture Society senior fair board member and poultry committee member, 4-H exhibitors who planned on taking poultry projects to the fair will still be eligible for the junior fair livestock auction next Thursday.
During the Junior Fair Livestock Sale next Thursday morning, the 4-H members will still enter the sale ring for local businesses and organizations to support their efforts.
Black said fair organizers came up with several ways for the 4-H members to be involved despite not having the physical animal present this year.
“The kids will have a tri-fold board displays in the poultry barn to show judges what they have learned,” Black said earlier this month. “The kids will still have to check-in with their poultry books just as they would if they had a chicken or a turkey.”
Exhibitors can still impress the judges with their skills and knowledge during shows — without the birds.
“We’ll still have a judge and the kids will still participate, although there will not be a grand or reserve champion this year,” Black said.
Miami County Fair poultry exhibitions have grown over the years, including last year’s fair record breaking 80 turkey exhibits.
On Wednesday’s Poultry “Fun Day,” 4-H members will let their inner-bird fly with rooster, chicken cluckin’ and turkey gobblin’ calling contest.
Reach Melanie Yingst at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow her on Twitter @Troydailynews