I apologize for the lack of attention I have been giving to my blog lately….things have been busy, but that’s no excuse. I have been very active with chickens, however, and today was no exception. I got the opportunity to spend the morning with Norm Saito at the Ancaster Fall Fair (http://www.ancasteragriculturalsociety.ca/Pages/Fair/fairframe.htm) . Many thanks to the fair organizers for all their help and accommodation. Also thanks to the Egg Farmers of Ontario for putting me in contact with Norm in the first place. I am impressed with the community outreach that the EFO is doing, trying to let people in the province know about poultry of all types. They have the idea that letting urbanites know more about poultry can do nothing but improve the relationships the farmers have with the public, and I couldn’t agree more.
Norm has been a judge of fancy chickens for over 40 years throughout North America. He is the end-all and be-all of knowledge regarding Buff Orpingtons, Barred Rocks, Polish, Wyandottes, Minorcas, and Rhode Island Reds. He also judges turkeys, peafowl, guinea fowl, ducks, and rabbits. His background information on where each bird origionated….both geographically and through history (how bantam chickens were bred to be smaller versions of regular hens, and how many of the sport breeds are descendants of fighting cocks, once fighting became socially unacceptable) was amazing.
We had a great time “talking turkey” for most of the morning. He started his career with fancy chickens when his son was in Cubs, and wanted to get his “pet keeping” badge. Norm and his son decided they wanted a chicken, so they purchased Sylvester, who lived in their basement until they moved. The family loved the bird by then, and couldn’t leave him behind, so Sylvester came along, and became the base for a flock of fancy chickens that eventually numbered in the hundreds.
For anyone not familiar with video production, it is a LOT more complicated than I ever thought. Worrying about background noises, direction of sunshine, background composition, etc. is really involved. Plus, once I knew what I wanted to say, getting the phrasing right, and saying it in a way that sounded somewhat coherent was tougher than you’d believe. I will be posting the interview video in a little while, once it is edited, and hopefully you will have no idea how many mistakes went into each of the little segments.
Hopefully there will be some information and insights that are of interest to people who raise and show these “beauty queen” chickens. I don’t know how many of you have had the chance to see behind the scenes to see how a fair poultry show is judged, but I sure am glad I got a chance to see it!
Mike the Chicken Vet