They say birds of a feather flock together. The same can be said for brothers Riley and Walker Dycus, of Centralia. The pair both raise poultry and both saw success during the 2019 Missouri State Fair.
On Friday, Riley stood beside the pen housing his brother’s White Corbin Bantum named Baby Bear. He noted with pride that his brother had won first place with the Bantum.
As Riley explained, the breed is very hard to raise because of the white feathers that completely encircle the bird's legs.
“You really have to work extremely hard to keep their feet feathers clean and in good condition,” Riley said. “On top of that, she is white so she gets a bath two times a week.”
To bathe a Corbin, Riley explained they have to put the chicken in a sink with a spray hose. The brothers have found that Tide with bleach alternative is the best soap to use because, in Riley’s words, “it gets her cleaner.”
“We tend to blow dry her under feathers but then we let her dry the rest naturally after we put her in her pen in some clean grass,” he continued.
At that point, his brother Walker stopped by the cage. Walter said he realized he liked chickens when he was 3 years old, noting they are “small and easy to care for.”
Today the duo has 130 birds they raise. The brothers brought 40 to exhibit at the Fair.
Winning first place with one bird is quite an accomplishment but that isn’t all there is to this fine feathered story.
It wasn’t until the boys’ mother stopped by that Riley modestly said he won Grand Champion Old English Dame for his rooster, Buddy.
To win Grand Champion is no easy feat. First, the bird must win their age group, in this case, a mature male over the age of 1.
Then they must win their variety within the breed. Buddy is a silver duck wing. Riley pointed out there are many colors and patterns within the breed the judges take note of.
Finally, the bird competes against all others in his breed to win best in class.
Riley said Old English Dames was the first breed he started to raise.
“I saw them at a show and I had to get one,” he commented. “There was a lot of excitement when I finally realized I had won.
“I walked by the pens and I thought to myself did I win, did I actually do this,” he continued. “I thought I must be reading this wrong, then it finally set in and I felt such a sense of accomplishment.”
Riley added he plans to take Buddy to show at the national competition in Ohio in late November. He may show him in the future but it all depends on Buddy.
“Right now he likes it,” Riley explained. “He has an attitude about him but then they start to get tired.
“After he gets to be about 2 or 3 years old he is kind of out of his prime,” he added. “When he does we will place him in a pen with two or three females and see what we can breed.”