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Once a rescue, Cockatoo's now a fair competitor
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MONROE - For 12-year-old Chandler Tarala, showing animals at the Green County Fair doesn't seem like a big deal. But his entry is no ordinary fair fare.

On Thursday, Tarala, of New Glarus, showed the family pet Cockatoo in the Animal and Veterinary Science event.

"She likes being around people and I knew she would like this," Tarala said, after he and Baby, the family Cockatoo, placed first premium at judging.

"Baby is a really calm bird if she can do this," said Tarala's mom, Sara Kiesz.

Baby, it turns out, has come a long way. The family rescued it from an animal shelter. While at the shelter, Baby was very intimated by the other birds, and would injure herself, pulling out feathers.

"She didn't like living with the other birds," Kiesz said.

The family volunteers at the shelter, and after spending time with the bird, they knew she'd fit right in.

"Chandler and her met and bonded well," Kiesz said. "So we brought her home."

Even though Baby has been living with the family for the past three years, Kiesz said the bird could be around 18-years-old. Her actual age is unknown by the family or shelter.

"She's playful and she likes to cuddle," Tarala said. "She likes it when I rub under her wings."

Baby was not the only animal Tarala entered at the fair - on Wednesday the 4-Her was showing pigs.

"My cousin did pigs and I wanted to do pigs," Tarala said.

His little sister, Nora, 8, also joined her family in fair competition, entering art exhibits for the Junior Cloverbuds.

Even though Tarala has participated in the New Glarus 4-H club for only a few years, he said he's gained from the experience.

"It's fun to know that you own these animals and that the animals love you," he said.

Both brother and sister shrugged when asked if they enjoy being together during fair week.

"You get along just fine, don't you?" asked Kiesz.

"Sometimes," said Chandler Tarala.

- Holly Ann Garey