By NICOLE ANTONUCCI
Recorder News Staff
FONDA -- The roosters were crowing and the chickens were clucking Thursday as Poultry Judge James Matts made his way among the cages in the rabbit and poultry barn.
It was the open poultry show and Matts was trying to find the winners.
Each chicken was taken from its cage and held with one hand as he inspected each part of the body before placing them back in the cage and marking their identification tags.
He said he was checking the leg cover, the wing cover, the tone of the feathers, and the body type.
"There are different classes and they are all bred to specific standards," he said. "The condition of the animal is the most important. It tells me how well they are cared for."
Nearby, Marigrace Hoag of Canajoharie watched Matts, anxiously waiting for him to reach her cages. Hoag had several chickens being shown.
"I like to hear what he has to say about the chickens," she said. "It helps me decide whether I should buy different ones or if the ones I have are good enough."
In addition to the chickens, Hoag said she had 40 rabbits at the fair which are taking up two aisles.
"I come every year," she said, adding she has been showing rabbits since she was 8 years old.
Now, however, it's about the kids, which is how she got involved with the poultry.
"My son is allergic to rabbits so we got the chickens," she said.