It’s a busy time of year if you’re a show bird.
There is less than two weeks to go until they will be striking their best poses at the Maitland Show and preparation – as well as breeding and genetics – is the key to success.
For Brod Vallance, who delved into poultry as a way to spend time with his son – who was already hooked on the pursuit, now is the time to choose which birds will appear at the show and decide how they will be prepared.
And yes, there will be some bathing, and blow-drying, involved.
“I will wash two or three of my better hens and blow dry them, I breed Australian langshan bantams and they have a soft feather, and a tight feather, so I don’t have to do much to them,” he said.
“My son shows pekins so there’s a lot more washing and grooming involved with them.”
Up to 200 birds are expected to be entered in the show and housed in the poultry pavilion. There are over 200 classes including ones for soft and hard feathers, and a junior section.
The pavilion will sit alongside the animal nursery so families can interact with a range of farm animals and then make their way into the poultry section.
Robert Steen, who is well-known in poultry circles, will judge the entrants and chose which birds are worthy of a prize.
“He is one of the best Plymouth Rock judges in the area, and in Australia, it’s a bit of a coo for us that he is going to judge for us this year,” Mr Vallance said.
Mr Vallance is the chief steward of the poultry section and has urged poultry enthusiasts, including children, to enter.
“We have a junior section and we would like to see a good number of entries this year,” he said.
Maitland has been a long-standing hub of poultry. The showground is also home to the annual Rare Poultry Breeders Association show, which is held in May.
“There are people in this area who are very interested in poultry. There are five clubs in the area, it’s a bit of a battle with the encroachment of housing estates these days to keep the numbers up, but there are still a lot of people from properties who have birds and support the show,” he said.
“The next big hub of poultry would be in Dubbo or Tamworth.”
The February show means the birds are not in full feather and will not look as good as they do over the winter months.
POULTRY ENTRIES: Download the entry form at maitlandshowground.com.au and email it to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Entry frees are $2 per entry and entries close on Friday, February 9. More details: phone 0417 406 842.