WINNING GRIN: Aiden Richardson nursing his prize chook Prince at the Ridgelands Show on Saturday.
WINNING GRIN: Aiden Richardson nursing his prize chook Prince at the Ridgelands Show on Saturday. Tamara MacKenzie

Family clucking with pride after taking out top gong at CQ show

IT ALL started with six pet chickens, but before the Richardson family knew it, they were bathing their feathered friends and applying lotion to their legs.

For the past two years, Rebecca and John Richardson, their children Aiden and Aliesha and Rebecca's dad Esmond Wilkinson have devoted their attention to poultry showing - and their careful grooming certainly paid dividends over the weekend.

On Saturday, the entire family was clucking with pride when seven-year-old Aiden and nine-year-old Aliesha ruffled the feathers of the competition at the 35th annual Ridgelands Show.

Aiden walked away from the event with a smile ear-to-ear after clinching first place in the Junior Boy Exhibit and being named overall Reserve Champion for the poultry showing contest.

It was a similar story for Aliesha who took out second place in the Junior Girl Exhibit. Rebecca and Esmond also saw success as a team of two taking out the Champion Female title with their Rhode Island Red chook.

Rebecca said the family's poultry passion snowballed from the spur-of-the-moment purchase of half a dozen chooks two years ago.

"My dad started renting a property at Gracemere a few years ago and we bought six random chooks; it then spiralled to about 30 chickens of multiple breeds,” Rebecca said.

"We have now been involved in poultry showing for about two years.

"We just jumped in the deep end really. We didn't know what we were doing when we first started out - none of us had ever given a chicken a bath.”

Rebecca said initially, the family learnt on the go, but had picked up plenty of new tips and tricks after joining the recently formed CQ Poultry Club.

"Rockhampton doesn't have a poultry club so we have joined the CQ Poultry Club which is based in Mt Larcom,” she said.

"They hold seminar days so you can learn how to handle and prepare the birds. We have learnt so much.

"You have to start getting the chickens ready about three days out from a competition. We give them a bath, clean their feet and apply paw-paw cream to their legs.”

Rebecca said while there was sometimes a bit of sibling rivalry between Aiden and Aliesha, their poultry showing hobby was great for their confidence and life skills.

"The kids really enjoy it. We have an incubator so they get to watch the eggs hatch and experience seeing the chickens growing up,” she said.

"They also get experience in handling the birds and speaking to the judges.

"They pick their own birds for the competitions. They show Silkies and we have eight for them to choose from each contest. When they win at shows, they sometimes get a little bit of pocket money which is used to pay for entry into the next competition.”

With such success at the Ridgelands event, Rebecca said the family was now preparing for the Monto, Mt Larcom and Mount Morgan shows.



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