Sunday, April 6, 2014

Rare Breeds Show in May

Garfield Farm in LaFox, Illinois, is preparing for its annual Rare Breeds Day, May 18 11am-4pm. Breeders from around the Midwest display rare and historic types of livestock.  Member participation by the Livestock Conservancy.  $6/$3.

Garfield Farm's Java breeding program was responsible for re-discovering the White and Auburn Javas, varieties that had been lost to neglect. They also keep Narragansett turkeys and other heritage breed livestock.

This is always a terrific event for poultry. Bring birds to show and sell, or come and admire them.

From the web site:

Garfield Farm Museum holds its annual rare breeds livestock and poultry show each May.  The only show of its type held in Illinois, looks at the loss of genetic diversity amongst domestic animals that humans have depended upon for food, fiber, and work for hundreds of years. For many visitors to the show it is the first and perhaps last time in their lives they might ever see some of these highly endangered breeds.
In today's market, very few breeds are used in modern farms. Those that are tend to have very small gene pools as artificial insemination makes it possible for one prized male animal to father thousands of offspring. This leads to a lack of genetic diversity. Genetic resistance or hardiness to disease might be absent in such a line. A disease could strike that could eliminate such a breed. Breed diversity is not only a novelty, it is a necessity.
Oxen at Garfield Farm
In times of economic uncertainty like the one we are in, any threat to our food sources could be disastrous. Should a disease or other factor make the breeds currently used not viable, food would become harder and more expensive to come by. What genetic diversity does is provide the option of a different genetic strain that may not be affected by the same things as the modern commonplace strain. Should the currently used breed be effected the heritage breed may not.
There is also the matter of taste. Many of the currently used animals are used because they can grow to a desired size in a relatively short amount of time. Some older breeds may take longer to reach maturity, but they have a flavor to their meat or eggs that is missing in the genetically narrow market.
Breeders are invited to exhibit their animals at the museum with a chance to meet other breeders and prospective buyers. Pens, water, and bedding are provided by the museum just bring feed and any information, displays, products, demonstrations, or lectures related to the breeds being shown. There are no registration fees for exhibitors. Exhibitors must have appropriate health paperwork on their animals.

    In addition to seeing the animals, visitors and exhibitors can tour the 1846 Teamster Inn and Tavern, watch demonstrations of sheep shearing, wool spinning, or enjoy refreshments.

No comments: