Thursday, October 3, 2013

Poultry Barn at the Fair

Breed:  Chinese Brown
As we entered the Poultry Barn at the Kansas State Fair, we were greeted with a cacophony of crowing, which seemed to be an ongoing competition among all the roosters in the barn, punctuated regularly with the honking of geese.  Once inside the barn, my husband's autumn allergies were immediately aggravated, so he found a chair outside, anticipating (erroneously) that my interest in the poultry would be brief.  When he called my cell phone to see if I wasn't about ready to end my visit, the noise in the barn was louder than the ringing of my phone, so I enjoyed a long, guilt-free exploration of the exhibits.   

Figure 1

The official greeter at the door was a beautiful goose, separated from his like on the other side of the barn.  I wasn't sure whether he was flattered to be displayed independently or disappointed by having none of his own kind nearby to impress.  (Figure 1)
A rooster caught my attention with his crowing, and I stood there with my camera, waiting to catch a picture of his cock-a-doodle-doing.  At last I gave up, but I back-tracked as I left the barn, in hopes I might catch him crowing again.  This photograph was the result.  (Figure 2)  I am particularly fond of this breed and wish I had carried pad and paper with me to write down the names of the breeds I admired.  Unfortunately, I had my hands full with purse and camera.  So, I am numbering the pictures I post, and if you know any of the breeds pictured, please supply them in a comment identified with the image number(s).
Figure 2 
The lovely couple below (Figure 3) was my favorite pair.  I took one shot of them, but they seemed disappointed by my failure to give them the opportunity to pose properly.  They took it upon themselves to arrange this far superior composition.  Someday, I may have to get out my pastels to draw this pair, but I will use my imagination to place them in a happier setting than a cage!  The second couple (Figure 4) is equally beautiful, but they were less obliging about positioning themselves artistically. 
Figure 4 
Figure 3
Figure 5
When I downloaded the photographs from the Poultry Barn, my bias toward black and white feather combinations was apparent, but this "cock-of-the-walk" was too colorful to ignore.  (Figure 5)
Nearby was another beautiful but less colorful feather combination.  I hope you take the time to click on this photograph to enlarge the image and enjoy the intricate patterns of this subtle beauty.  (Figure 6) 
Figure 6
Chickens ruled the Poultry Barn, but this goose won my heart.  (Figure 7)  Because I still love Nursery Rhymes and Fairy Tales, I naturally thought of these lines, with a slight alteration:  "Goosey, goosey gander, Whither shall I wander, Down a dozen aisles or two, 'Till at last I spotted you."  My apologies to Mother Goose!

Figure 7
Beside the goose by the entrance, this lonely turkey was also displayed.  (Figure 8)  One of my favorite authors is Barbara Kingsolver, and among her wonderful books is Animal, Vegetable, Miracle, in which she describes spending a year attempting to feed her family only with food they had grown themselves or that they had purchased locally.  I recommend the book, but the passage I recalled while photographing this turkey, whom only another turkey could think handsome, was Kingsolver's description of breeding her own flock.  Apparently there was no old turkey in her flock for the young Tom turkeys to observe and learn what the hens expected from them, and Kingsolver's description of handling that teaching experience had me laughing out loud!  Not many writers could turn turkey breeding into a multi-page comedy. 

Figure 8

As those of you who follow my blog regularly know, Isaac Werner raised chickens.  (See "Isaac Builds an Incubator," 8-22-2013 and "Isaac Raises Chicks with a Broody Hen," 8-29-2013.)  Doing research to determine which breed of chicken he might have been most likely to raise, I decided that the Barred Plymouth Rock was most likely.  I love the look of this breed, developed in New England in the 19th Century and very popular for small farms because it is cold tolerant and is both a good producer of eggs and meat.  It comes in several colors, but the barred black and white is the most popular, and this is the breed I assumed that Isaac would have had running around his farm. 
Barred Black & White
Don't forget to add a comment if you wish to help me identify the various breeds pictured in this blog, and if you are curious to learn more about the amazing variety among chicken breeds, there are many wonderful websites you might want to visit.  I posted the images small because I used so many, so you may want to click on the photographs to enlarge the images to see them better.


Yolonda said...

Beautiful chicken photos! I could probably stay in that exhibit all day!
By the way, did you see any bantam silkies? They are the fluffy chickens that look like this:

Lynda Beck Fenwick said...

Yolonda, I tested my husband's patience as much as I I didn't walk down the aisles of bantams. Maybe I have a prejudice because of a bantum rooster that terrorized me the summer I was ten, chasing me whenever I went outside! ;>)

Lynda Beck Fenwick said...

LK shared this wonderful comment with me via e-mail. "We had a brooder house for baby chicks. The babies came in boxes from the hatchery. There was a gas heater with an umbrella-like shape so the chicks could get under and keep warm. We took each chick out of the box, put its beak in the waterer and expected it to grow. Someone had written on the wall inside the brooder house, 'Don't count your chickens before they hatch.' As a child I thought that was rather a dumb saying, as who could? Experience and age gave me understanding."

The Blog Fodder said...

The red rooster MAY be Rhode Island Red, the black and whites are Barred Rock. My mother raised both breeds when I was young. The white ones are most likely Leghorns, the Holsteins of the chicken world. There are other breeds of chickens, raised by chicken fanciers but Leghorns are the most prolific egg layers and have pretty much taken over the commercial flocks.

Lynda Beck Fenwick said...

Aren't they all beautiful?! I'm glad hobby-farmers and 4-H kids keep these breeds going...since chickens raised commercially for meat and eggs tend to reply on particular breeds.