Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Chicken Congress

chicken congress by Dietrich-Gehring

Last Saturday I was fortunate enough to be invited by a friend to attend the Northeastern
Poultry Congress’s 29th Annual Poultry Show titled From Chicks to Champs. The show
was held indoors in the Mallary Complex at the Eastern States Exposition (known to
everyone simply as The Big E). It turned out to be the perfect place to spend a frigid
January day.

Once inside, I’ve never heard so much clucking, crowing, gobbling, quacking and cooing
in my life. In a way it was not all that different from that human congress that just started
convening again in Washington DC. Enclosed in rows and rows of wire cages were
hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of poultry of every imaginable size, shape, color
and species. Land fowl, water fowl, turkeys, guineas, pigeons, cocks and hens, cockerels
and pullets, large, bantam, modern game, game, single comb, rose comb, clean legged,
feather legged, heavy, medium, light—all competing for ribbons, trophies and cash.

My friend, Annie, is a chicken fanatic. We looked, literally, at every single bird in that
place. It took several hours and it was a lot of fun. There were many people walking
around with chickens tucked casually into the crooks of their arms or perched on their
shoulders. Others wore chicken hats, or jackets with cool bird club insignias on the back.
We the Junior Poultry Showmanship where young poultry keepers dressed in white shirts
and jackets, black pants and black ties show off their birds and their technique. People
were selling birds, raffling and auctioning off birds, fertile eggs and chicken equipment.
Tables were set up with all kinds of poultry accessories both necessary and fun.

An excellent time was had by all and to top it off Annie’s daughter Claire won an
incubator in the raffle! Now Annie is trying to get me to go to the Mid Ohio Alternative
Animal and Bird Sale and the end of March. All we need is to borrow a livestock trailer.
According to their website “Animals range from domestic to exotic with over 100 species
for sale.” I love a good auction and have some good auction stories to share, like the time
I went to the Catskill Game Farm auction, or the Sprucehaven Farms auction where I saw
a holstein heifer sell for $60,000. More on that later…

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