Chicken Cinema

Hi Everyone;

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 ( .  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 Saito….the depth of knowledge this man has on various breeds and standards for fancy chickens was staggering.

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.

The creative process…it is WAY more complicated than I ever thought!

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!

Winner in the Polish class….one of the stars of the video

  Mike the Chicken Vet


5 responses to “Chicken Cinema

  1. It sounds like it was a great day. I can’t wait to see the video.

  2. Pingback: Everything Eggs » Mike the Chicken Vet Visits the Ancaster Fall Fair

  3. Hi Dr. Petrik,

    Sounds like you had a fun day. I love going to to these type of fairs.

    I have a quick question…

    As we get into the winter weather (and cooler weather), I am going to start winterizing my coop.

    This year, since I do not have insulation in my coop, I am going to provide heat lamps.

    Last year I gave them white lights to help them lay. The heat lamps I bought are red lights. Will the red light from the heat lamps induce laying too? Or will I have to provide an additional white light, to the red heat lamps?

    I do not know how putting red and white lights in the coop will work out.

    Do you have any comments/suggestions?


  4. I have a hen. She has been vomiting, refusing to eat, drink and lots more. We have feed her olive oil and massaged her crop. She recovered nicely. It has come back, we did the same thing and she recovered again. It has come back yet again. How can we prevent this from happening?

    • Hi Ali;

      It sounds like a case of sour crop, impacted crop or pendulous crop. This occurs when the crop, which is a muscular bag, gets stagnant, impacted, over-stretched (respectively). Changing diet is often in in order. If the crop is impacted (feels hard when you squeeze it), make sure there is plenty of water near the feed, or soak any dry feed. If the crop gets stagnant, try to feed small, numerous meals, and stay away from fibrous things like fresh grass longer than about 2″ long, or corn husks. Try to change things soon, because, if the muscle tone goes completely, the pendulous crop can become permanent.


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