In just her second year raising chickens, 8-year-old Taylor Yanta has earned herself a belt buckle.

Yanta, a student at Pawnee Elementary School was selected Jan. 27 as the showmanship award winner in the pee wee division of the Bee County Junior Livestock and Homemakers Show poultry show. Despite the excitement of having the shiny antique brass-tone buckle with its turquoise stones in her tiny hands, the smiling redhead remained humble.

“I have a lot to learn still,” she said.

And those lessons are coming courtesy of her parents and older brother, Scott, 11, who won his own showmanship award in the junior division.

Their mother, Stacie Yanta, said it has been a lot of work to tend to the birds, which includes making sure they maintain an optimal temperature.

“I take care of them before school and as soon as I get home and all evening, checking on them,” Taylor said.

Scott echoed their sentiments when he said, “It’s a lot of effort.”

Among the older children, it was Ellie Daughtry’s time to shine. The 16-year-old homeschooler, who is in her fifth year of showing chickens, won grand champion for her pen of broilers. For Daughtry, victory came through dedication.

“I just went out and checked them all the time and kept up their feed and water,” she said. “I kept them really healthy and worked really hard.”

Showing chickens is a sizable commitment. Daughtry said the project lasts 41 days from start to finish. But receiving her education at home is an advantage, she said, because it allows more time to tend to the birds.

“It helps teach me commitment,” she said of raising chickens and participating in other 4-H projects.

Daughtry knows participating in such events is preparing her for the future. The 11th-grader hopes to attend college and study wildlife management.

“It will help me in the long run in life as I go to college and get a job,” she said.

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