Fancy Poultry say it all

by Doris Cote
(Bergen County, NJ)

This show seemed to concentrate on fancy breeds and although there were ducks, geese, pidgeons, game birds and chickens, I was surprised that there weren't a greater variety of chickens. There was an abundance of the same breed in the same coloring. We passed by cage after cage of silkies and then the bantam silkies. I was interested in seeing the hens of the chickens I will be getting. There wasn't an Australorp hen, or any Cuckoo Marans. I was amazed at the variety of Plymouth Rocks.

There was no one near the birds to answer questions or tell about their birds which, as beginning poultry keepers, would have been very interesting to us. This show seemed to be purely for getting your birds judged. I stopped one young man and asked a few questions, but he seemed the only one approachable.I thought a purpose of such a show was to spread an interest in raising poultry. This show did not seem to have that in mind.

We had recently gone to a 4H show in south Jersey and there was a wider variety of chickens, people were friendly and asking us if we had any questions, telling us about their chickens and the whole atmosphere was just inviting.

In another barn, there was one vendor who had a great variety of poultry items and took the time to explain to me about how a product was used.

We spent a considerable amount of time with the vendor selling coops and may be purchasing one. They were very helpful in explaining things and giving their view points on some of my ideas.

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May 26, 2014
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shows for new folks
by: Anonymous

Please note that there is a big difference between those people who want to sell you a product and those who are running or exhibiting at a show. Those who show are often busy prepping their birds or selling birds on the lawn. They will answer your questions once you consult your exhibitor list and probably talk your ear right off about their breed, as they love their breeds. When helping to run or judge or clerk in a show there is a lot going on all the time all over and its important to do a good job for those people who have come to look and come to show. Lots of paperwork and careful looking. The club I am a part of runs one show a year just for juniors and getting them and their families information and support. That might be something to try to find in your area. Again, people invested in the long term keeping of their flock want to see those young folks take up the torch. It sounds like you didn't know where to look for the things you were wanting. A show is a great place to learn what is in your area and find out who has what and what it should really look like. Its also a fantastic time to learn about what goes on at a show. Different breeds are shown at different times of the year and even at different shows. If you want to see a huge variety go to a huge show: NECP or Ohio or something similar. You'll be blown away. Maybe think about which breeds you want to try keeping. Find a club to support you and then keep them for a while. Shows really are pageants and social times for those people who are serious about their breed. Extensions and 4H and clubs are for all the support you are seeking.

May 18, 2014
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Well, actually...
by: Mary Hussey, NJ

I'm sorry you were disappointed at the show, but your comment about the show being purely to have the birds judged is true - that IS the purpose of the show. At 4H shows, the purpose is geared towards the education of the 4Hers, and they are encouraged to circle the grounds and teach others. Open adult poultry shows are where the adult breeders bring their birds to be judged - its not aimed at educating the public, although we are happy to do so. It's up to the visitors to contact the exhibitors to ask questions. You probably saw everyone talking to everyone else - we are a very social group, and shows are usually the only times we get to see other exhibitors - sometimes we see those people only once a year.

The next time you're at a show, pick up an exhibitor list. Go to the cage of the bird(s) you liked, and note the exhibitor number on the coop tag. Find the name associated with that number on the list, and call the number listed. They are usually the cell phone numbers. When the exhibitor answers, tell them you are new, and have some questions about their breed. They will come meet you at the cage, and you can ask all of your questions there. Ask, also, for recommendations of other breeders to speak to. That's how you get to know people and their breeds, and birds.

I've met breeders from all areas of the country this way. They are, by far, the friendliest group of people I have ever had the pleasure of dealing with. BUT - we don't know that you have questions until you approach us with some. It's sometimes intimidating to do so, but just walk up and ask, or call us! I know I'm always happy to brag on my birds! (Sometimes, too much!)

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