New rabbit and poultry barn is ready

Rabbits, chickens and turkeys will have some more comfortable quarters during the 2014 Washington County Fair. Sawdust and cages have been moved into the new 9,000-square-foot rabbit and poultry building that officially opens to the public when the fair begins Friday.

Built to replace the former rabbit and poultry facility that was destroyed in a fire in 2013, the new steel building cost $368,750 to construct and was just completed this year.

It’s a welcome upgrade, considering the small animals had to be housed in tents during last year’s fair.

“The rabbit and poultry barn is ready, and the fair board’s small animal committee has everything moved in-in fact, we’re probably a little ahead of schedule for a change,” said Fred Boyd, president of the Washington County Fair Board.

He said other buildings are also ready for the fair, including the livestock barn and arena, and junior fair building.

“But the new rabbit barn is ready to go-there won’t be any tents for the rabbits and chickens this year,” Boyd added. “And I think the contractor did a very good job in constructing the building itself.”

Walking through the new facility Sunday afternoon, Boyd noted the hundreds of cages along the walls and lined in rows in the middle of the building would soon house a variety of rabbits and market chickens and turkeys raised by local 4-H Club members.

Geneva Moore exhibited market rabbits at the fair for three years before becoming a junior fair board member.

“Last year the animals were in tents, and it rained one day which didn’t help anything,” she said, noting some of the rabbit and poultry cages were placed on concrete, but others were set on graveled areas that became extremely muddy.

“I definitely think the better circulation and additional room in the new building will be a great improvement for the rabbit and poultry displays,” Moore said.

Boyd said large garage doors on all sides of the building can be raised to allow extra ventilation, but the fair board may have to consider installing some fans in the future to help circulate air throughout the facility.