Something to Crow About
by Michelle Sepiol
Derik RemlRachiel ey and Nowakowski
The 38th Annual Delmarva Poultry Fanciers show was held in Harrington Delaware and attended by several Tioga County, PA residents. It was a long drive for Michelle Sepiol, Derick Remley, Heidi and Dylan Dingman, Rachiel Nowakowski, and Amy and Matt Shuey and their show birds.
These chickens are not your backyard, feed-store, run-around-the-farm chickens. Months and months of preparation go into raising and making a winning bird. From the time of the selected mating and the hatching of that egg and growing the chick. The selection, feed, care, facilities and the grooming all are part of making the future champion. Beaks and toenails are trimmed, a keen eye is kept on evidence of parasites and health issues. Facilities must protect them from extreme cold, sun bleaching, each other and predators. Birds are handled and trained to display at their best in individual display cages at shows and be handled by people, something that is against a chicken’s nature. They even get baths!
In the world of Poultry Fanciers there are many species and varieties of birds that are exhibited. From chickens, water fowl, turkeys to doves. The birds are categorized by Species, Ex.: Bantam Fowl Chicken; then by Class, Example: Feather Leg; then by Breed, Example: d’Uccle; then by Variety, Example: Millie Fleur; then they are classed by sex/age Cock, Hen, Cockerel, Pullet.
An entry must beat all the birds in their respective sex class in their breed and variety. The bird then goes to be judged for the Best of all the Variety of Ex.: Millie Fleurs regardless of age and sex. The bird is then judged for the Best of Breed, Ex.: All Varieties of d’Uccles: Porcelain, White, Black, Mottled, Gold Neck, Gray, etc. A bird may be competing against 50 to a hundred birds in their Breed division. Finally in that Breed Type Division there may be more breeds/classes/varieties. In the case of the Feather Legs there are nine breeds to compete for the Over-All Title Best Feather Leg Champion. The very last placing in a show is the Show Champion where the Champion of all the Champions is selected.
Licensed judges are hired to judge and select these beautiful birds. Glenn See, Doug Cauthorne, and Rick Hare were the judges for the Delaware show. Unlike a class of horses or cattle this process takes hours. Every bird is examined and handled. It is awarded points from its head to its toes and then back again to see if it meets the ‘Ideal Standard’ for its breed/type/variety according to the American Poultry Association and or the American Bantam Association.
What does a poultry exhibitor do while they wait? Well, that’s the fun part. There is often a raffle table with some interesting items, a silent auction, tailgate or in house sales, vendor displays, and then of course there are all those birds to look at. Oh, and the people, you can’t forget the other exhibitors. It’s interesting to see and talk to other people in the poultry world. “What do you use for bedding? “What do you use to treat this ailment?” “How do you breed a better feather color?” It was agreed that the Delmarva Poultry Show attracted some of the nicest people around the country.
Matt Shuey, of Sabinsville, PA exhibited a pair of Call Ducks; Snowy Variety. His cock placed Best of Variety and his hen placed Reserve Best of Variety. He also placed Best of Variety for his Bantam Light Brahma hen, Reserve Variety for his Bantam Light Brahma cock, and Reserve Best of Variety for his Bantam Buff Laced Polish hen.
Dylan Dingman of Gaines, PA, placed 1st and Best of Variety with his Cochin Millie Fleur Bantam and 3rd place Junior Showmanship. His sister, Rachiel Nowakowski placed 2nd in Senior Showmanship. She won Best of Variety with her White Crested Blue Polish hen, Reserve Junior Polish with her hen, Missy. Her crown jewel win was with ‘Mary’, a White Crested Black Polish hen that she bred and raised when she won Best of Variety, Best of Breed, Best Junior Polish, and Champion Continental.
Michelle Sepiol of Wellsboro, PA competed in the bantam groups with her Birchen Modern Games, Millie Fleur d’Uccles, and rare Nankins. Various birds in her varieties brought home Best of Breeds, Best of Varity and Reserve Best of Breed, Reserve Best of Variety. The Nankins, which are one of her favorites are on the Livestock Conservancy’s Critical list.
Derik Remley of Remley’s Poultry in Liberty, PA took Champion honors with his Rhode Island Red Cock and Best of Breed for his Buff Orpington Cockerel. For more information regarding poultry shows check out the Poultryshowcentral.com.