Saturday, April 30, 2016

Bantams and historic conservation

Traditional breeds are best for small backyard flocks. They have adapted over their history to local conditions. Finding the appropriate breeds and learning about them is part of the fun. Telling your birds’ story enriches your experience.
Doris Robinson, director of the Youth Exhibition Poultry Association,
is developing a program to help YEPA members earn recognition for focusing on heritage breeds that have become rare. She encourages YEPA members to consider keeping breeds such as Ameraucanas, Andalusians, Dorkings, Rosecomb and Single Comb Nankins, Buttercups, Minorcas, Crevecoeurs and Langshans. Aylesbury bantam ducks.

White Silkie rooster
The ABA compiles census information on all bantams shown at ABA shows. It’s extra work for the show secretary, but having facts on the number, breeds and varieties shown helps ABA leaders know what birds are being raised. Old English Games remain far and away the most popular bantam, and Silkies have a strong following. Polish are regaining popularity, especially the White Crested Black and White Crested Blue varieties.
ABA President Matt Lhamon of Ohio gets requests almost daily for the full range of bantam breeds. He usually refers them to the appropriate breed club, but information about all breeds is available in the Yearbook, which comes with membership, $25 a year.
“The ABA yearbook alone is worth the price of the membership,” he said. “If you want to find a bantam, you can find it in the Yearbook.”
Lhamon raises Modern Games and is a member of that breed club.

Modern Game
“No single breeder can save everything,” he said. “A breeder needs at least five males and ten females to have a solid foundation. There’s a difference between multiplying them and keeping a breed going.”

Bantams that have been on the Inactive list are occasionally shown, and the breed brought back to Active status. Cornish bantams have declined in popularity, but the Ko-Shamo, newly recognized in 2013, has attracted a flurry of new breeders. Their unusual erect stance, split wing, and sparse feathering mark them as distinctly different from the conventional image of a chicken.

This KoShamo cock is from Germany, credit feathersite
Lhamon has updated the ABA books on Silkies and Cochins and is working to revise the book on Wyandottes. 

Blue and Black Cochins

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