Pictured: Isaul Arismendez has a knack for raising big tasty turkeys. He's showing off a few of the ladies he brought to the fair this year. Photo by MAURICIO JULIAN CUELLAR JR.

Participants hope their animals can take the top spot

Mauricio Julian Cuellar Jr., Alice Echo-News Journal

Roosters are called roasters, hens are called broilers and turkeys are still turkeys.

There was a lot of activity Tuesday afternoon as the poultry division held its weigh-in at the Jim Wells County Fairgrounds.

This is the first year for Schallert fourth-grade student Angelica Salinas to participate in poultry.

She brought three broilers and two roasters to the fair. Salinas said raising chickens is pretty easy and they grow up fast.

Salinas raised her chickens from baby chicks beginning seven weeks ago.

"I like them because they listen to me," Salinas said.

Overall, the chickens were well behaved. They sat in their boxes quietly, waiting to be weighed.

In order to ensure strong chickens, Salinas said she let them go in her yard and would periodically chase them around to give them a workout.

The Alice Jr. FFA student said her main drive was just to see an animal grow up, to be responsible for an animal. She didn't name her chickens this year, and she admits it would have been difficult because often she can't tell them apart. She said she's ready to take on a larger animal next year.

The turkeys at the JWC Fair are a lot bigger than the average Thanksgiving fare.

Isaul Arismendez, a member of the Alice Jr. FFA can tell you firsthand that turkeys will eat just as much as you give them, and Isaul gave them a lot.

He said turkeys at competition must be at least eight months old. Isaul has been raising his female turkeys since May, and they now average 31 pounds each and are anywhere from two to three feet tall.

"Last year was my first time competing in the fair, and I got third place," the St. Joseph sixth-grade student said. "I wanted to see if I could break into the top two this year. It's not easy."

While other students spent their summer vacation running around outside and having fun, Isaul devoted a portion of every day to caring for his plump friends, making sure their shelter gave them proper shade in the hot summer, and making sure they had plenty of feed.

"They really eat a lot," Isaul said.