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For These Gorgeous Fort Collins Chickens, The Beaks Are On Fleek

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Luke Runyon
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KUNC, Harvest Public Media
This chicken, a Polish crested hen named Chicken, listed her favorite activity as "chasing chihuahuas."

Chickens aren't a traditional pet.

Still, with chicken coops springing up in more and more urban and suburban backyards, some owners take just as much pride in their poultry as in their dog or cat. So much so, they're primping and preening their farm fowl for beauty contests.

That was the case one sweltering afternoon at Wolverine Farm’s Letterpress & Publick House in Fort Collins, Colorado. Part of what owner Todd Simmons says are “silly animal contests,” contestants submit their finest hens and roosters for the chance to win the beauty contest. Some of the urban chickens performed tricks -- one pale-feathered rooster named Bruce pretended to sleep on command -- while others donned costumes, like Miss Felicia Fancy Feet’s emerald green hat.

“You hear people talk about chickens just like they’d talk about any of their other pets,” Simmons says. “They’re excited about their different breeds and their different personalities. I think people have really been expanding their knowledge of the breeds they know, the Rhode Island Reds, the Leghorns, the Barred Rocks, and getting into some of the more exotic breeds.”

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Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC, Harvest Public Media
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KUNC, Harvest Public Media
This year's Best In Show, an Easter egger named Agnes, with handler Oliver.

Best in Show went to an Easter Egger named Agnes. For consolation prizes, other chickens pulled in “Loveliest Legs,” “Best Dressed,” and “Coolest Cluck.” The 2016 Prettiest Chicken contest was the inaugural event, but Simmons says the hope is to make it a recurring contest.

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Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC, Harvest Public Media
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KUNC, Harvest Public Media
Pasty, a Laced Polish hen, took home the award for "Prettiest Plumage." One of her owners, Kristina Cash, says the hen's "Phyllis Diller hair," prevents her from seeing clearly and often runs into things.

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Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC, Harvest Public Media
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KUNC, Harvest Public Media
Leopold Simmons with his leghorn, Dove.

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Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC, Harvest Public Media
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KUNC, Harvest Public Media
Cale Whicker with his chicken, Miss Felicia Fancy Feet, displaying their award for the competition's "Best Dressed" chicken.

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Credit Luke Runyon / KUNC, Harvest Public Media
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KUNC, Harvest Public Media
Miss Felicia Fancy Feet, a buff brahma hen, came to the contest dressed in a handmade green hat.

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