SYCAMORE – For the second year in a row, Sycamore High School junior Bailey Hunt has been crowned the champion of chicken-raisers.
Hunt, 16, won the Illinois State Fair’s Grand Champion Poultry contest Thursday. His three Jumbo Cornish Cross chickens beat 20 other entries in size, uniformity and muscle. Chickens could not weigh more than 8 pounds.
Hunt raised about 45 chickens, feeding them three times a day, to pick the best three for the contest. He won for the first time last year and received about $3,200 after his chickens were auctioned at the Governor’s Sale of Champions. The record purchase for poultry is $8,000, said Jackie Hunt, Bailey’s mom.
This year’s Governor’s Sale of Champions will be Tuesday.
“It’s really exciting,” Bailey Hunt said. “Honestly, I didn’t think the quality was as good this year as last year, but the judge thought the quality was a lot better. I somewhat got lucky and somewhat picked the right birds.”
All three judges agreed that Bailey Hunt had the best chickens, Jackie Hunt said. Bailey Hunt is involved with DeKalb County 4-H and has been involved in Future Farmers of America.
“He’s been great with it,” Jackie Hunt said. “Sure enough, he put his heart and soul into it, and he won.”
Bailey Hunt used some of the proceeds he received from last year’s auction to purchase 45 chickens and feed in June. The rest of the money went into a college savings account, Jackie Hunt said.
He brought six chickens with him to Springfield and ultimately chose three to compete in the contest. He was introduced to raising chickens while in the 4-H Cloverbuds program for children ages 5 to 7.
Hunt also has learned how to better pick his chickens for when he competes next year. He is eligible to compete in the contest three more years.
“That’s what I try to do every year is learn from experiences,” he said.