Last weekend we attended another show in Stevenson, WA. It was hosted by the Columbia River Poultry Exhibitors club.
The American Buttercup Club held a "Special Meet", and lots of Buttercups were entered, both in large fowl and in bantam sizes. The club ordered custom ribbons for the occasion, complete with the club logo.
Of course, "lots" of Buttercups is a relative term. Since Buttercups are so rare, you generally won't see any at all at a poultry show, so having two exhibitors bring a total of 15 birds is quite unusual. With more prevalent breeds, you might see dozens of birds entered by many exhibitors.
Note the interesting differences between the two females pictured: the second bird has a clear hackle (neck feathering) that is pure gold and free of black spangles, and a more widely spread tail. However, the first bird has a more even ground color - a more consistent gold color over the entire body, which is less distracting to the eye. While the first bird has a great hackle color, the buff color varies elsewhere, and distracts from the black spangling, making it less eye-catching.
As you can see, a breeding program is a long process, where the genetics of an entire flock are fine-tuned, with the hope of eliminating bad traits, while combining the good traits from different birds.
Large Fowl Entered
Firstly, most folks hatch their birds throughout the spring. Breeders are usually too busy during the raising of young birds to go to shows. Besides, summer is a busy time anyway. These young birds will be ready to show when they are 6-8 months old, or in the fall and throughout the winter.
Secondly, and more importantly, most adult birds molt sometime during the summer. Molting is where birds shed their feathers and grow new ones. It makes sense for birds to undergo this transformation during summer, because there is plenty of food to fuel the growth of new feathers, it is generally warm so they won't freeze from a feather shortage, and breeding season is over, so they don't have to impress anyone. During molting, birds look terrible and mangy. After molting, they look brand new and shiny. It makes sense to have poultry shows when birds have recently molted and look their best.
Our next fall show will be November 21st in Chehalis, WA. It will be hosted by the Washington Feather Fanciers club.
Meanwhile we will continue to watch our young birds finish growing, and select our breeding birds for next year.