Category: Poultry

Ohio National Poultry Show

It’s November again and the much anticipated 3-day Ohio National Poultry Show was a couple of weeks ago. Yes, so thankful the weather was perfect for the drive. I still remember clear as yesterday my first poultry show as a young boy. I was so excited and full of wonder. My love for poultry was nurtured at such an early age by family that believed in the preservation and respect of all creatures big and small.

If you didn’t know, poultry shows allow breeders, young and old, to exhibit their best birds in show. Many of these birds are beloved pets too. You would be amazed at the hundreds of chickens, geese, turkeys, and ducks at the show. It was quite an exceptional presentation of breeds in Ohio this year!
Like every year, I returned home with renewed vigor to improve upon my efforts to preserve our heritage breeds and encourage our young enthusiasts to do the same. I will miss seeing old friends until next time.

What I like best of all, this competitive yet amazing forum gives everyone who shares my passion in poultry a chance to network and promote education, conservation and rare breed preservation—which is especially important for junior participants. So glad to be a part of it and I can hardly wait for the next show.

First day at Ohio National

Reserve Champion Spanish Black Turkey

Dr. Keith Bramwell with a large Light Brahma Rooster

Spitzhauben Rooster

Bantam Salmon Faverolle

African Goose

Naked Neck Buff Silkie

Royal Palm Tom

Mandarin Duck

Young junior participant

Ohio National Poultry Show

I first fell in love with poultry when I was a kid and my mom was my biggest supporter. Mom would load the station wagon down with birds and off we’d go to the poultry show with my little brother in tow. She was kind of like a pageant mom without the sequins and she facilitated a passion that has never faded. That’s why it’s important to me to do the same for other youngsters who have been bitten by the poultry bug.

Poultry shows are a fun way to encourage a child’s interest in poultry. It’s a great venue for learning solid breeding practices, discovering heritage breeds and finding a community of peers. Over 100 years, let’s them compare their birds and breeding practices with others. It’s like an art critique allowing breeders to get insights from more experienced breeders and learn how to improve their birds.

I recently returned from The Ohio National in Columbus, Ohio. It’s an event that is considered the Westminster of poultry shows where breeders show the best of the best. This year there were close to 6,000 entries including chickens, turkeys, geese, ducks and even pigeons.

Frizzle Cochin

White Crested Black Polish

White Leghorn

White Crested Black Polish

Tobunt Polish

Blue Ameraucana

Dark Brown Leghorn

Dark Brahma

I was at the Ohio National representing the Heritage Poultry Conservancy. The Conservancy gives prize money for winners in youth competitions.

Good to Know

The American Standard of Perfection is the poultry bible for poultry judges and entrants alike. It explains how each breed and variety should look from the angle of their tail feathers to the color of their beaks. It’s a great gift for young poultry enthusiasts. You can purchase the latest edition of the American Standard of Perfection from the American Poultry Association.

 

Let’s Hang Out

Hangout Starts at 6pm cst

Watch Live!!

I’ve spent most of my life learning about things like gardening, farming, design and décor and I always want to share these new ideas with my friends and followers. It’s amazing how our communication channels have changed over the years and just how many of them there are- books, television shows, videos, print articles, radio shows, my website, social media… you name it, I’ve used it! Now there’s a new technology that I can’t wait to try out, because it brings you, the viewer, into the conversation unlike ever before.

This Thursday at 6pm CST, I’ll be hosting my first Google+ Hangout all about chickens. Don’t know what a Google+ Hangout is? Don’t worry, I only recently found out. Essentially a video conference, Google+ Hangout allows you to “hang out” with a group of people in an online chat room and have a virtual conversation, meeting, brainstorming session, or any other type of get-together.

The brilliance behind it is that while my friends and I have this conversation with one another via webcams and our Google+ accounts, YOU can watch and engage on YouTube. It actually streams live, so you can comment on the video and we’ll be able to answer your questions and comments in real time. For a guy who has a habit of responding to fan questions once a week, this is a huge improvement in communication!

Speaking of communication, I can’t wait to kick off the chat where I’ll be joined by a few poultry experts and friends alike. Dr. Mikelle Roeder, a nutritionist from Land O’Lakes Purina Feed, Jeff May, a poultry specialist with Dawe’s Laboratories and Keith Bramwell from the Department of Poultry at the University of Arkansas will share their chicken wisdom and insight. Kylee Baumle, a garden blogger and backyard chicken owner and Heidi Berry, another chicken owner and gardener will also join in for what I suspect will be a fun and very informative “chicken chat”.

Want to get involved? I’ll share the link to the chat on my Facebook page, Twitter, and homepage- all you need to do is head over from 6-7pm on Thursday and click on the link to join in. If that time doesn’t work well for you, don’t worry- you can still get the chicken scoop! A recording of the entire conversation will stay on my Farm Raised YouTube channel. While I’m really looking forward to getting together with these guys, I also think it’s a great way to share information on a topic that I find to be more and more popular with my fans. I hope you’ll join me!

The Chicks are Hanging Out

Spring is the season of adorable out at the farm. This week the chicks get first prize for cuteness. They are about 4 days old and starting to show some sass. Jersey Giant, Buff Orpington, Dorking, Wyandotte and New Hampshire are the breeds we’ve hatched.

These pictures beg for captions don’t you think? Well, the folks in the office sure thought so and spent a good deal of time emailing choice chick words; some with visual aids. Check out their suggestions on our Purina Chicken Chat Facebook page.

 

Henny Penny, My First Feathered Love

My love of poultry began in a rather unconventional way. I was a young boy in McMinnville, Tennessee on a trip to town with my grandmother when I spied a brown Leghorn hen running loose on Main Street. On this particular day I was fixated on getting back at my sister for her recent goat acquisition so this chicken seemed like an answered prayer. I asked around about the owner of the bird and was told that she was mine to have if I could catch her. With some fancy foot work and a lot of flying feathers I managed to corral her. Half way home I had named her Henny Penny and forgotten all about my sister’s goat. There would be many feathered friends after Henny, but I credit her with sparking an enthusiasm for poultry that persists today.

My interest has grown to include the preservation of heritage birds, many of which are experiencing alarming declines in breeding flocks throughout the country. Heritage breeds are officially described as original breeds and strains of domestic fowl that were developed and/or recognized in the late 19th or 20th centuries, and they are defined by a specific set of criteria as determined by the American Poultry Association.

1. APA Standard Breed
2. Long Productive Outdoor Life Span
3. Naturally Mating
4. Slow Growth Rate

At the farm we focus on maintaining the genetics of a handful of heritage breeds.

Slate Turkeys as pictured here as well as Black Turkeys

Sebastopol Geese

Buff Orpingtons

Barred Pylmouth Rocks

While you might not have room for a flock of chickens in your backyard there are ways you can help with the preservation of heritage breeds. The first thing I suggest is learning more about the subject. Here are some websites to check out:
Heritage Poultry Conservancy
American Bantam Association
American Livestock Breeds Conservancy
American Poultry Association
International Waterfowl Breeders Association

Fall is the season for poultry and livestock shows. Get your toes wet by visiting a few. They are great places to learn about breeds, buy birds and meet other poultry enthusiasts. Check with your local state fair, I’d be willing to bet they have one going on. This year America’s National Crossroads of America Poultry Club show is October 28th – 30th in Indianapolis.

Know someone who has or wants chickens but doesn’t “like” Chicken Chat on Facebook? By liking Purina Poultry and Chicken Chat on Facebook, you qualify to enter the Purina® Rule the Roost Sweepstakes and for the chance to win a new coop from Horizon Structures, free Layena® Plus Omega-3 for a year from Purina and 10 hens and 2 roosters from the Garden Home Retreat! Enter today! No purchase necessary. Sweepstakes ends Sept. 18. Click on the sweepstakes tab for complete rules.