OLD toothbrushes are the key to nine-year-old Eli Clarke's show success.
The young chook owner said the key to an award-winning chook was in the preparation.
"I clean their feet with a toothbrush and brush off the scaly bits from their crop," he said.
"I also get any dirt out from in their toenails."
Eli washes his chooks in soapy water and rubs Vaseline on their combs.
"It makes their combs come out really red," he said.
Eli learned the art of showing chooks from his pop Peter Lee.
"Pop had chooks up at his place so I'd go and help him out," Eli said.
At the age of five Eli entered in his first show, the annual Maclean Poultry Club Show.
Since then he's been bringing home ribbons from most of the shows he enters.
"The chooks are fun to show and they're really fun to play with," he said.
"You get to see other people's chooks as well and you can see everyone else competing at the show too."
Entries into the junior poultry section of the Maclean Show were well up this year, reaching 86 in total.
Eli has six chooks of his own and was awarded two firsts and two seconds yesterday, along with the Champion Australorp in the junior section.
It could be said chook showing is in his blood.
Eli's sister, his cousins, his uncle and his pop are all involved with the poultry pavilion. All have followed in Eli's pop's footsteps.
"The kids used to come and help me to look after, feed and rear the chickens," Mr Lee said.
"They got the bug I think and it all went from there.
"It just gets in your blood ... I've had chooks since I was eight years old."
Mr Lee said the key to good show presentation came down to time spent with the poultry.
"The more time you spend with them, the better they show," he said.
"I probably spend two to three hours a day with the chooks and even more when we're preparing them for show.
"It's good to sit down in the pen and talk to them."
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