Fur and Feather event adds valuable members to family

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April 11, 2010
— Someday, this grocery bag will produce food.

But on Saturday morning, it just was making tiny peeping noises.

Jenny Bugenhagen and her daughter, Katie, joined more than 600 shoppers Saturday morning at the Walworth County Fairgrounds for the annual Walworth County Fur and Feather Swap.

Jenny carefully carried a brown paper bag holding two 5-week-old Sicilian Buttercup chicks. The gold and black mottled chicks will join 30 or so chickens in the Bugenhagen’s backyard in rural Mukwonago.

They will add to the 10 or 15 eggs the family collects to eat or sell every day.

The family likes the Sicilian breed for its beauty and rarity, Jenny said.

Katie, 11, snuggled a white Leghorn bantam rooster against her winter coat. She chose the rooster and two hens for their sweet personalities, she said.

The birds are about a year old, she said. “Bantam” is a word to describe the small stature of the birds as opposed to the larger “standard” size, she said.

Katie stroked the rooster’s wing and explained how she and her 4-H friend, Brody Jones, 10, of Mukwonago care for their chickens after school. They let the chickens out in the yard where they eat bugs, Katie said.

The kids feed and water their chickens, collect eggs and clean the chicken coop. What eggs they don’t eat, their parents sell at work.

They use the money to buy chicken feed and more birds. “They pretty much pay for themselves,” Katie said.

The annual event was packed with dozens of other domestic birds and small animals. Farmers and hobbyists from around the stateline area sold ducks, parakeets, hamsters, lambs, rabbits, turkeys and pheasants, to name a few.

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