Monday, November 26, 2007

Winter Chickens

David Sullenberger is a poultry biologist also known as Professor Chicken,, in Santa Fe, New Mexico. He recently gave this response to a question about husbandry for free range chickens in winter:

"Free Range" doesn't mean 'neglected'! Under the very best of range conditions a flock gets only about 28-30% of it's nutrition from the range. The practical average for most flocks is closer to 15-18-20%. Thus, in winter a decent laying flock will increase intake of pellets/grain as the nutrition they can get from the range will drop significantly - say to 8-10%, and in fact it might actually go into negative if the snow is deep (deep for a chicken - lets say over 2 inches) as the birds will expend more energy than they can take in from winter pasture.

Cold nights without supplemental heat will also take their toll - thus high quality grain (corn) along with pellets should definitely be fed in the evening before the birds go to roost.

The photo above is by Traci Torres,, a site supporting pet chicken owners. This Golden Laced Wyandotte is foraging for food between melting piles of snow.

Saturday, November 24, 2007

Thanksgiving Turkey

I can hardly celebrate Thanksgiving without taking notice of the history of this quintessentially American bird. SPPA member Frank Reese was interviewed by Kim Severson for the New York Times,, and then by Jason Beaubien of National Public Radio,
Frank (Bob) is making a serious run at raising heirloom breeds, American Bronze and Bourbon Red, on pasture for commercial markets, He's a purist about breeding as well as husbandry, with certification from the Animal Welfare Institute for humane practices.
The illustration above was painted by an unknown 20th century artist and shared with me by Sabine Eiche, author of "Presenting the Turkey: The Fabulous Story of a Flamboyant and Flvourful Bird."

Friday, November 23, 2007

Rare Poultry Tours

One of the things I like most about SPPA National Meets is that Craig Russell, SPPA president, conducts tours of the rare poultry being exhibited. Here he is extending a Black Java's wing to show eager participants.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Ohio National results

Teresa Kirk, left, wore her fried egg beret at the show. Sarah Awkland's chicken hat features flapping wings, operated with a string. They are from Pennsburg, Pennsylvania and personified yhre spirit of fun and good fellowship that prevailed at the show. Thanks for being such a colorful addition, Teresa and Sarah!

Below are the show results:

Large Fowl
American Class: White Rock: Tom Corey
Asiatic Class: Black Langshan: D&H Poultry
English Class: Buff Orpington: Doug Akers
Mediterranean Class: S.C Light Brown Leghorn: Don Schrider
Continental Class: White Crested Black Polish: Joel Henning
AOSB: Black Sumatra Wade Lefeber
Modern Game: Birchen: Robert Carothers
Old English: Brown Red: Terry Hogeback
SCCL: Barred Rock: Walt Reichert
RCCL: Silver Laced Wyandotte: Sugar Hill Poultry
AOCCL: White Crested Black Polish: Jan Brett
Feather Leg: White Silkie: Michele Burns
Heavy Rouen: Darrel Sheraw
Medium Cayuga: Wild Plum Waterfowl
Light: White Runner: Tanis Poultry
Bantam: White Call: Charley Hodum
Heavy Toulouse: Travis Birdsell
Medium: American Buff: Prairie Song Poultry
Light: Brown China: Tanis Poultry
Champion Large Fowl
S.C.Light Brown Leghorn: Don Schrider
Res. Champion Large Fowl
Black Sumatra: Wade Lefeber
Champion Bantam
White Call: Charley Hodum
Res. Champion
White Crested Black Polish: Joel Henning
Champion Goose
Toulouse: Travis Birdsell
Res. Champion Goose
White Embden: Bernd Krebs
Champion Duck
White Call: Charley Hodum
Res. Champion Duck
White Runner: Tanis Poultry
Super Grand Champion
White Call: Charley Hodum
Res. Super Grand Champion:
White Crested Black Polish: Joel Henning

Thursday, November 15, 2007

Mary Ann Harley of South Carolina holds the triphy her Nankins won from the Nankin Club at the Ohio National. Above her, Charlie Casper of New York holds the Game rooster he acquired at the show. He received a $10 award from SPPA for Best Orloff. The prize had been held for more than a year, in the absence of any qualified Orloffs being exhibited.
Looking for a rare breed to champion? Orloffs are a good place to start. This Russion breed withstands cold weather well and the spangled variety has unusual dappled feathers. Contact me and I will put you in touch with breeders for stock.

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

SPPA Members Win at Ohio National

At the center of this picture from the inside of the Voinovich Building, where nearly 4,400 birds were exhibited, a young turkey owner is catching his fly-away bird, an attractive Slate Turkey.
John Thomforde judged SPPA member birds for the National Meet held at the show. Winners were Mari Krebs, Best Rare Fowl for her Steinbacher Geese, Jim Parker, Reserve Rare Fowl for his Red Dorking Bantam, and SPPA Second Vice President Mary Ann Harley, Award of Excellence for her Nankins. Her Nankins also won the Nankin Club award for Best of Breed, Reserve of Breed, Best Rosecomb, Best Single Comb, Best Rosecomb Trio, Best Single Comb Trio, Best Rosecomb Display and Best Single Comb Display. Charlie Casper was awarded a $10 prize for Best Orloff.

The Steinbacher Geese are exhibited in Mrs. Krebs’ name, but the birds are a family project in which their three sons, Eike, Bjorn and Lars, are involved.

Mr. Krebs has observed that most people are unfamiliar with how to cook goose, so he is collecting recipes that will be published in the Bulletin and compiled for future publication. Educating the public is important to creating markets for poultry that requires different cooking techniques. Send your recipes via the comment section below.

Three birds belonging to SPPA member Don Schrider showed off on Champion Row: His Light Brown Leghorn rooster was Champion Mediterranean, Light Brown Leghorn pullet was Reserve Champion Mediterranean, and his Buckeye rooster was Reserve Champion American. Don is communications director for the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy.

“I was pleased to see a Buckeye return to champion row after many years of absence,” said Mr. Russell.

SPPA First Vice President Monte Bowen traveled to the show with one of his 4-H students Layne Richert and his mother Connie. Exhibiting birds at shows and competing in showmanship classes gives youngsters invaluable experience.

Layne won best of breed among juniors for his White Plymouth Rock Bantam cockerel and best of breed in the open class for his large fowl La Fleche pullet.

“The work he has done over the last few years was recognized in these wins,” said Mr. Bowen. “There were a lot of nice birds there that showed a lot of care and work from the junior members.”

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Poultry Show Schedule

The Show page of my site,, now lists all the upcoming shows advertised in the Poultry Press. It includes show name, date, place, contact person and information and some highlights of each show.

Please let me know if you find any errors. Send me information on other shows, and I will be happy to post it.

Next is to post show results and pictures. That will begin with the Ohio National Show this weekend. I shall return with pictures and news of SPPA and other show events. Send me information about your shows and it will be posted here.

This is an exciting project! I look forward to watching it develop.

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

Ohio National Show

Neil Grassbaugh, long-time supporter of the Ohio National Poultry Show,, and serious amateur photogapher, sent this picture of a Spangled Orloff bantam rooster. He's the third-longest-term member of the Ohio Poultry Breeders Association. He celbrated the centennial of the American Poultry Association when he joined in 1974, and the 125th anniversary in 1999.

"I knew many of the legends," he says.

He will be at the show this weekend, extending greetings to the many specialty breed organizations holding national, state and district meets at the show. Check out the list on the Web site.

See Orloffs and other rare breeds on display there, and join Craig Russell for an entertaining tour through the aisles. Craig's knowledge is encyclopedic and he's a great storyteller. Come by the SPPA table at 1:15 for the 1:30 tour or 3:45 for the 4 pm tour.

Monday, November 5, 2007

Turkish Denizli Chickens

This magnificent rooster is a long crower. His breed, the Denizli of Turkey, is reputed to the be the longest-crowing breed in the world. Roosters typically crow 25 seconds.

I don't know whether there are any of these in the U.S., but they are an attraction listed on Burak Sansal's site, He is a tour guide in the area.

Loyl Stromberg mentioned this breed to me on my recent visit. He heard about them when he was working on his book, "Poultry of the World." In searching for examples of the breed I found Burak's delightful site. Some day I dream I will visit Turkey, with its wonderful art and historical sites.

Saturday, November 3, 2007

SPPA at Ohio National

The SPPA will hold a member dinner on Saturday night November 10 in Columbus. We will meet at Carrabba's Italian Grill, 8460 Lyra Dr. at 6:30.

This will be an occasion for celebrating our birds and the fellowship we enjoy. We will all have a chance to share the important events of the past year and get to know each other better.

It's a great time to make that contact that will help you solve a breeding problem or find new stock. Putting a face to a name we know well from the Bulletin and email messages makes life more interesting, too.

Stop by the SPPA table to sign up during the day on Saturday, so we can let the restaurant know how many of us to expect.

See you there!