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Winning hen is Westcountry's newest soap star

By Western Morning News  |  Posted: December 06, 2013

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Meet Britain's best looking bird – a hen which maintains its beauty by bathing in washing-up liquid.

The chicken – known simply as Hen – recently saw off 6,000 rivals to take the Show Champion cup at the 2013 National Poultry Show in Warwickshire. Owner and poultry fancier Clive Stephens, from Newquay, said he keeps the black mottled pekin's plumage looking pristine by gently shampooing it with Fairy Liquid.

Mr Stephens, 62, a retired carpenter, said: "Every fancier probably has a different method but this one works for me.

"Shampooing the black ones with Fairy Liquid seems to give them a perfect sheen, but it's too drastic for the whites, so I use something milder – Dove Body Wash.

"They quite like it. After a bath you feel completely refreshed. It's the same for them."

Mr Stephens and his wife Margaret keep around 200 hens during the breeding season at their home in Cornwall.

They've been showing their prized fowl since 1972 but this is the first time they have claimed first place. They didn't get to take the £150,000 cup home, but were given a painting of it to hang on their wall.

Mr Stephens added: "Getting the top prize was amazing. It's beyond a dream. This seems a good year to bow out on. I can't do any better now."

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