(La Porte County, IN) - A 10-year-old girl feels a good breakfast might be why her chicken easily outdistanced the other birds in the popular chicken flying competition at the La Porte County Fair.
“Jelly Bean,” a Black Langshan chicken, flew more than 51 feet in her first attempt, then over 45 feet in the final round to take first place on Monday.
A thrilled Charlotte Jones was at a loss to explain her bird’s winning hang time. However, she felt that a healthy appetite for chicken feed just before the competition provided her bird the fuel needed to keep her wings flapping at a high level.
“She probably built up a lot of energy to fly really far, especially with how much she ate this morning,” Jones said.
The second-place finisher landed roughly six feet short of the top prize in each of her two flights.
Jones has more than 30 chickens on her family’s small farm about 10 miles south of LaPorte. The chickens are used primarily to sell eggs to the public and show them during the fair.
Her father, Chris Jones, said he was thrilled for his daughter and surprised about Jelly Bean’s ability to fly, considering her small size.
“I thought other birds would have bigger wings to carry them further, but this one just knew how to flap them,” Chip Jones said.
The 32 chickens in the contest flew as far as they could after being pushed from a ten-foot-high platform.
The dozens of spectators were also entertained by chickens using their speed and quickness on foot to try and escape the show arena once landing. The fleeing birds were chased by volunteers who sometimes used nets to grab them.
Carolyn Krause, the chairperson of the longstanding 4-H competition at the fair, said the winning distance this year was excellent, considering that chickens are not the best flyers. A good-sized number of chickens landed fewer than 10 feet from the platform.
Krause said children in the 4-H program could not enter their chickens in the flying contest until they prove they can adequately care for and handle their birds. For that reason, Krause said younger children especially are turned away from the competition but reconsidered the following year.
“The kids really enjoy it, but we can let them all be in it because it’s a learning process,” Krause explained.