Thursday, August 30, 2007

Golden Campine

Leah Shelburne, above, won Continental Champion in the Youth Poultry Show at this year's Kentucky State Fair. Leah, daughter of Lynn and Robert Shelburne, is seen here with her Golden Campine Cockerel named Jabber and with APA Judge Eric Englesman. Leah is a member of Spencer County 4H.

The Campine is a light laying breed that originated from the Old Turkish Fowl of the eastern Mediterranean. It was developed as a breed in the Low Countries of western Europe.

The breed has white-skin and lays white eggs. One of the interesting things about them is that the roosters are hen-feathered. They do not develop the long sickle feathers, pointed hackle feathers on the neck or pointed saddle feathers in front of the tail that are typical of roosters.

Campines are recognized by the American Standard, in Golden and Silver varieties. Campines are related to Braekels, which are not recognized in the U.S. but are shown in Europe. Braekels are larger than Campines and the hens and roosters have different plumage.

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Madison Capital Times

Mary Bergin at Madison's Capital Times newspaper wrote a story about me and my book for the Culinary Clips section of Friday's edition, posted on line at

An SPPA member is looking for a Royal Palm turkey hen as a mate for her tom, Dharma. Anyone have any leads for her? Southern location preferred.

Tuesday, August 21, 2007

Java breeders

Larry J. Smith of North Carolina has started a chat group for Java enthusiasts,
This group of Javas is at Garfield Farm Museum in La Fox, Illinois, The museum has been active in restoring this historic breed. Thanks, Larry, for giving Java people another way to connect.

Friday, August 17, 2007

New Hampshires

Here's Larry Reynolds' New Hampshire rooster.

Farmers in New Hampshire started working with Rhode Island Reds around 1915, selecting birds for early maturation, quick feathering, strength, vigor and large brown-shelled eggs. Over time, this distinctive breed emerged.

Roosters should weigh around eight pounds, hens six and a half. The lustrous black feathers of the tail gleam green in the sun. They contrast attractively with the rich red of the feathers on the body.

New Hampshires were admitted to the APA Standard of Excellence in 1935.

Tuesday, August 14, 2007

New Hampshires

An experienced breeder contacted me, looking for some large fowl New Hampshire chickens recently. I was disappointed that the breed has become difficult to find.

Several breeders are working with flocks, such as Larry Reynolds of Illinois. Larry is a professional photographer,, who sent this picture of his flock.

The New Hampshire is a 20th century dual-purpose breed known for its large brown eggs and rapid growth to maturity, making it desirable for meat production as well. It was a popular farm bird, tracing its history to the Rhode Island Red. Selection pressure to develop birds that grow ever faster degraded its egg-laying ability. Its dual qualities as meat and eggs were its original strength.

Thank you, Larry, for the picture and for your work with this reliable American breed.

Friday, August 10, 2007


Bantams are small size chickens, usually bred down to about a quarter the large fowl of the same breed. Some, called true bantams, have no large fowl correlate. Their small size is characteristic of their breed.

This Belgian Bearded Mille Fleur d'Uccle is a true bantam. Mille Fleur refers to the pattern of his feathers, A Thousand Flowers in French. His name alone makes him special!
Bantams are organizedfor show purposes into different categories from large fowl. They are organized more by description: Single Comb Clean Legged breeds are classified together for judging. Feather Legged birds such as this d'Uccle compete in a separate class.
If large fowl chickens, weighing seven, eight lbs. or more, are beyond you, consider bantams. They can be shown and open as many doors to enjoyment as large fowl, at weights of a pound or less. Go to the American Bantam Association's Web site for more information,

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

Cinnamon Prevents Poultry Diseases

A report from Tel Aviv University in Israel,, shows that cinnamon extract not only protects people against common influenza but is effective immunizing chicks against Newcastle disease as well as a low-path form of Avian Influenza.

Cinnamon extract could be used to eliminate influenza in airpoirts and other crowded places, as well as in poultry uses. An Israeli neutraceutical company is exploring ways to make the extract available for the various uses.

An article from Israel's Ministry of Foreign Affairs,, provides more background.
During the National Tropical Botanical Garden Fellowship on Kauai in May, we learned about how plants used by traditional healers often turn out to be effective against disease. Dr. Paul Cox, executive director of the Institute of Ethnomedicine,, which is associated with the NTBG, has identified botanical compounds that are effective against AIDS, ALS and other diseases.

This drawing of the cinnamon plant and the curled bark from which the spice is made comes form Florida's Educational Technology Clearinghouse.

Let's hope this is true and can be used by poultry keepers to keep their birds safe!

Tuesday, August 7, 2007

Poultry Poetry

Our church recently had a Talent Night and I couldn't resist doing a recitation of Robert Frost's poem to his favorite chicken, "A Blue Ribbon at Amesbury." I invited a young friend, Heather, who is seven years old, to assist me by holding a chicken on her lap.

Buttercup, a Buff Cochin belonging to another church member, volunteered to participate. Heather and I gave her a shampoo the morning of the show, so that she would look her best.

Buttercup proved to be a Kid Magnet. She sat in a box on my lap while we waited for our call, but kids found us backstage. They visited frequently, taking the opportunity to pet Buttercup's soft feathers.

Little Kristina, standing behind me here, was among them. She was so delighted that she could hardly tear herself away. So she joined us on the makeshift stage, running up to touch Buttercup and bounding back in delight.

Heather and I wore matching scarves made by her mother. The recitation was well received and we all counted the performance a big success.

Friday, August 3, 2007

Exhibition Poultry

The Washington Post carried a feature on poultry shows in last Sunday's paper,
In these pictures, taken at the Badger Poultry Club's 43rd Annual Show in Richland Center, Wisconsin in June, judges examine birds in accordance with American Poultry Association standards.

In the top photo at left, judge Gary Rossman takes a closer look at a Black Cochin. Below, Judge John Thomforde holds the bird and discusses its finer points with judges. Rossman and Robert Carothers.

Don't interrupt judges when they are judging birds, but after they are done, they are available to discuss their findings and opinions with exhibitors. This is a great way to learn about poultry and how to improve your birds.

Judges work hard and do their very best to keep poultry standards high. Thanking them is always appropriate.

Thursday, August 2, 2007


Silkies originated in China. When Marco Polo returned to Venice from his travels there in 1295, his reports of chickens with feathers like hair, among other things, were not believed. The book he wrote, "The Travels of Marco Polo," was called Il Milione, which means The Million Lies.

Silkies are bantam in size and come in many color varieties, such as this non-bearded buff rooster in a picture taken by Corallina Breuer. All have black skin and bones, however. In China and other Asian countries, their gamy flavor is popular and broth made from them revered for its medicinal qualities.

The New York Times recently focused an article on them in its Dining and Wine section,

More than 20 members of the Society for Preservation of Poultry Antiquities raise these beautiful and beloved birds in Black, Blue, Buff, Gray, Partridge, Red Splash and White colors, both Bearded and Non-bearded.

The beard is a cluster of feathers on the upper throat. In Silkies, it should be thick and full, forming a collar.