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.
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.
Congratulations to Ellie! Girl, you've got a pretty bad case of Barnheart!We're sending you a copy of Jenna's book.
Thanks to everyone for commenting. You've all painted wonderful pictures of rural life.
Do you have Barnheart? According to author and homesteader Jenna Woginrich Barnheart is a "dreamer's disease" that attacks "those of us who wish to God we were outside with our flocks, feed bags, or harnesses instead of sitting in front of a computer screen." Symptoms include studying chicken coop plans, daydreaming about heritage livestock breeds and calling in sick to work in the garden.
I am no stranger to the Barnheart syndrome so it was with relish that I read Jenna's memoir Barnheart*. Her story of setting up her first homestead in Vermont is thoughtful and humorous and will definitely ease your longing for the farm life.
In between tales of caring for her expanding menagerie, and tending the garden she articulately describes that feeling of independence and satisfaction that comes from having homegrown food right outside the back door. It should be no surprise that my favorite chapter is about her turkey TD (Thanksgiving Dinner).
These days Jenna is living in New York. She is the author of three other books and a blog called Cold Antler Farm.
If you think Barnheart is just what the doctor ordered for your "dreamer's disease" here's your chance to win a copy. Tell me about your homesteading daydream in the comments section below.
I'll select a winner on Friday February 10, 2012, just in time for Valentine's Day.
*I received a review copy of Barnheart from my friends at Storey Publishing.
There are lambs galore at the farm! The little cuties romp around so much we can hardly count them. I think there might be thirty or so. Adorable!
This little one's mother died Saturday for no apparent reason. She's only about a week old so we are bottle feeding her.