From the moment she was old enough to hold a chicken, Kollah Cannon has been waiting for the day she was eligible to compete in the NSW state poultry young judges contest at the Sydney Royal Show.
It has been a long-standing dream for the 15 year old, who has always had a love and fascination for chooks and ducks
And now, in the first year of finally being eligible to compete, Kollah took out the title by a landslide, gaining 188 out of a possible 200 points, over 15 points ahead of reserve.
"It was just so exciting, getting up on stage to receive my award. I didn't know whether I should jump up and down with happiness or scream!" Kollah told The Land.
Kollah and her family currently live in Sydney's northwest but she grew up in Glenorie. Kollah's mum Torie Cannon said the family has always owned chickens and ducks, and her daughter has always wanted to be around them.
"When she was seven, I remember she pointed out one of our ducks, saying 'That's such a pretty duck.' I told her 'You know they have beauty pageants for chooks and ducks,' and that led to her attending her first local agricultural show where she won the title of junior champion," Ms Cannon said.
"I bought her the poultry standard, then she chose what breeds she wanted, and then we sourced them; Kollah has Bantam Buff Sussex, Australian Langshan, Old English Game and others. But, since moving from Glenorie, we've gone from 300 birds to about 12."
Kollah feels lucky she has grown up around ducks and chickens.
"When I started to learn more about poultry, I focused on how to get a good bird, then I focused on learning about breeding. I'm lucky to have had mentors to help and encourage me," Kollah said.
Her favourites among her birds are the Langshan chooks, whose fluffy feet and friendly nature have won her heart.
"They are very unique with feathers on their feet. It's so cute to see their fluffy feet! It's also great to see how they respond to people. I also love ducks, they are so special, you can spend hours watching them waddle around and swim. I hand-raised a duck who thought he was a dog - he'd hear the car and come to the gate, wagging his tail!" Kollah said.
For seven years straight, Kollah has won the young poultry judges award at the Castle Hill show, biding her time until she could compete at the state's biggest show, the Sydney Royal show.
As for Kollah's future, she has more than one idea about where life is going to lead her.
"When I was younger I wanted to be a vet, but now I'm in high school I realise I'd like to be a police officer. But I will always work with poultry and take part in judging too, that's something I will always want in my life."
The young poultry enthusiast feels fortunate to have grown up around these delightful creatures, and she is eager to pay it forward. "When I'm older, I'd like to mentor young people too," Kollah said.
The next challenge for this rising star is the national championships, which she will take on at the Melbourne show next year.