The official start of summer is just around the corner and to kick it off, youth from all over North Carolina who signed up in March to participate in the Youth Market Turkey Show, held during the State Fair in Raleigh each year, are getting their new poults (baby turkeys) settled. This week, parents, teachers, county extension workers and kids traveled to the Poultry Teaching Unit on Inwood Road in Raleigh to pick up their poults and starter feed. Over the next four months, participants will raise their birds for entry into the show. Winners receive recognition and entry into a turkey auction – auction monies for winning birds go the participants.
Dannica Wall of PDPS coordinates the turkey show. Pick-up for participants started at 9:00a.m. on June 5; Wall’s day started much earlier. At 4:30a.m., she was on the road to Goldsboro to do her own poult pick-up: almost 1,000 newly hatched poults were waiting for her.
With 43% of participants new to the Show, Wall created signs to guide everyone to the PTU. She updated guideline materials and commissioned a magnet for each participant (with the Show website in case anyone needed poult-rearing tips or Show information). Wall made sure poults, feed, materials and signs were ready for the earliest participants.
As the day went on, individuals, groups and families arrived at the PTU, carefully maintaining the health of their new birds by stepping into a standard disenfectant powder on their way in and out of the building. To help with the long day, many PDPS faculty and staff members were on hand, greeting participants, monitoring the poults, bagging poult feed and explaining next steps to each proud new poult owner. Wall especially thanks the students who helped out: Cameron Bandurraga, Jerry Deloatch, Ashley Gernat, Cailtin Collins, Hope Thomas (visiting student from VSU), Kaitlyn Boykin, Hill Pence, Nick Collins and Savannah Howard .
“I just know that [pick-up] wouldn’t of been successful without [everyone’s] help,” Wall said.
As each poult left the building, participants and PDPS helpers alike mused about which turkey, and which NC youth, would come out tops at the Show – everyone will have to wait for the State Fair in October to find out. In the meantime, watch Carm Parkhurst demonstrate how the turkeys will be judged (1:54):