Paige Phillips, a 16-year-old freshman who plans to study physics, recently was named the Poultry Princess in Washington County, Ohio, where she was raised.

“I love chickens,” says Phillips, who has been a 4H Club member for 10 years and who has raised hundreds of chickens. She won dozens of awards for showing chickens and is an expert on their care and feeding, often traveling across the county with her crown to educate others. Dissatisfied with commercial poultry leg ID bands, (“they’re inflexible and interfere with growth,”) she constructed Velcro bands with embroidered ID numbers.

“Chickens are simple, silly, and fun,” says this expert, adding it is in fact the chicken that comes before the egg.