Michigan 4H Shows Get Creative with Poultry Shows

All poultry shows in Michigan are canceled to help stop the spread of bird flu.

This is forcing local 4-H fair programs to get creative with poultry education for kids. The Grand Traverse County 4-H Program is looking at alternatives to live birds.

“We have approximately 50 youth that are in the poultry program. And so we hope to keep everybody in the poultry program, but we do know that some will maybe switching to others like rabbits or goats,” said Grand Traverse 4-H Program Coordinator Karin Steans.

4-H organizers hope some creative props will do the trick.

“We’re going to be bringing in some stuffed poultry and geese and turkeys, and allowing the kids to show those in place of the showmanship of live birds.”

It’s not ideal, but the Grand Traverse 4-H is doing what they can to keep 4-H exciting and educational.

They can’t have live birds, but they’ll have every other component of 4-H.

“The market program, they’ll still be able to sell their birds. In past years, it’s been by the pound. This year, it will be by the pen.”

And it won’t just help the kids. They’re hoping to turn the bird flu into a lesson for everyone.

“Also to be able to educate the public on the avian flu, and how with bio security measures they’ve learned about through the cancellation of the avian programs because of the avian flus.”

Right now some prop birds are selling out, but they hope to get them in time for the Northwest Michigan Fair in August.

“We’re going to get real creative with it, and just encouraging the kids that even though they can’t have the birds there, we can still have a lot of fun at the fair with poultry.”