Poultry judging at the 2017 Pratt County Fair took place last week and Vanessa Leckner was the proud owner of the reserve grand champion exhibit, a little red hen named Mrs. Fluff.
Vanessa Leckner excels at math and English at Pratt High School where she will be sophomore this fall. With a reserve grand champion chicken under her arm at the 2017 Pratt County Fair, it is also apparent that she excels at raising chickens.
"I've been showing chickens at the county fair since I was little," Leckner said on Wednesday after the poultry show. "I get chicks in the spring from Tractor Supply and raise them. I just have these three this year - two cochin bantams and one Silver Laced Wyandotte."
Leckner's chickens, named Mrs. Fluff, Warrior and Stranger seem to enjoy her company. She keeps them in her backyard in Pratt in a unique trampoline-top enclosure that keeps out varmints and keeps her egg-layers safe.
The chickens have become a waste-not, want-not addition to her family as they feed them kitchen waste (along with commercial chicken feed), and in turn the hens churn out eggs for the family.
"We don't sell eggs," Leckner said. "If we have extra we just give them away sometimes."
At the fair, worry about the heat was a factor for the poultry exhibitors.
"We put some fans on them and make sure they have plenty of water," Leckner said. "But I do worry a lot about them."
Mrs. Fluff, the red cochin bantam, was named reserve grand champion of the show based on health and quality of structure.
"The judge said her comb was straighter and the color of her legs more yellow," Leckner said.
All of Leckner's chickens won blue ribbons at the fair this year, evidence of the excellent care they receive at home.