NPF Livestock contest is more than just competition for one family

DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -- For 10-year-old Emma Weeks, chickens are life. She owns many different breeds and hybrids, and she raises them from the time they hatch.

A decorative sign for NPF 2019's poultry contest theme, "roadside attraction" (Source: WTVY)

This year she’s sharing her knowledge with the rest of the National Peanut Festival during the poultry show by designing a Chicken Life Cycle exhibit for a contest entry.

“There’s different stages of it. A lot of people think ‘chicks just hatch’ they don’t know that it has to be 99.5 degrees," Emma said, "They don’t know it takes 21 days for them to hatch."

The love of poultry runs in her family. Her mother, Lindsey Weeks grew up participating in 4-H projects.

“We love chickens!" Lindsey exclaimed. "We love raising chickens. I’m thankful my children love to [raise chickens] and be outside with them.”

Driving from Florida daily during the festival, Emma gets to showcase not only her chickens but also her ideas.

“I wanted to do something that’s educational and shows people that a chicken’s not just a chicken," Emma said.

Entering the contests is a group effort; Emma's family has multiple displays, and they help each other with tasks ranging from putting the finishing touches on exhibits to caring for each other's chickens.

“At the first of the year we all put our heads together and we talk about the theme and how we’re going to make, what we’re going to make,” Emma explained.

Although the Weeks have their eyes on the prize, this time of the year means a little bit more than just winning contests.

“We love doing this as a family, we love chickens," Emma said, "We love building things, and we love coming together to do this every year.”

All of the livestock exhibits will be displayed until the end of the festival.