Evie Davis sits on a bale of hay looking through a book for the name of a specific breed of chicken. Behind her at the Baker County Fairgrounds are rows of chickens, some of them fowl that Davis, 12, has raised and will show at the Baker County Fair.
Davis, from Oxbow at the eastern edge of Baker County, said she has always liked animals.
Her parents allowed her to start showing animals at both the Baker County Fair and Fair in Halfway, when she was 8.
“It’s probably my favorite thing I’ve ever done,” Davis said.
This year, her fourth showing at the Baker County Fair, Davis is joined by her siblings: Grace 15, Reid 14, Peter 10, Gideon 9, Colin 7, and Abby 5.
Altogether, the family members are showing 13 chickens, four sheep, three rabbits, and two pigeons.
Evie also had two new chicks with one of her chickens to show.
“I’ve done the best with chickens,” she said.
The family raises several breeds of chickens including australorp, brown and white leghorn, sagitta, partridge cochin, braham, blue cochin, and others. They keep their chickens for eggs and do not butcher them.
Besides the fowl, Davis will be showing a breeding ewe and a market lamb this week.
“I mainly show the same thing so I get better at it, but this year I’m showing pigeons which is a new thing,” Evie said.
Evie grew up around animals and has raised sheep for six years, and chickens for six to seven years.
“I learned it, I just figured it out I guess,” she said.
Evie and her siblings are the third generation in their family to show animals. Their grandmother, Vicky Fisher, was active in 4-H and FFA when she was growing up.
Their mother, Jodie Davis, began in fourth grade with rabbits, chickens and a pygmy goat. When she was older, Jodie worked mainly with horses, as they are “very time consuming and all encompassing,” she said. She showed horses at the County Fair, Columbia County Fair, and the Oregon State Fair.
When she was growing up, Jodie had to wait until she was in seventh grade to begin showing at the State Fair. She also did sewing and cooking.
Evie said the family is already planning for next year’s County Fair, with breeding ewes to have babies for next year.
In getting ready for the Fair, Evie said she had to wash the chickens and make sure they didn’t fight so they would not lose feathers.
Chickens are washed in a bucket of warm soapy water, rinsed off in a second bucket, and then washed in a mixture of warm water and vinegar to help their feathers shine for the Fair.
Evie said chickens are judged on how filled out they are and how well their colors represent what’s typical for their breed.
As for sheep, Evie said they are sheared before the show as they “don’t really judge their coats.”
“You want them big-legged, well hairy legged, and that you want them nice and stocky,” she said. “Mine are really tall.”
Rabbits are judged depending on their breed.
Evie said she has learned a lot from showing animals at the fairs in Baker City anbd Halfway.
“I think when I get older, I want to work at the extension office and help with the fairs,” she said.