Sumatra Chickens at the Poultry Show

Reader Contribution by Alexander Goldberg
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Recently I attended two poultry shows, one near Richmond, Virginia, and one in Knoxville, Tennessee. I enjoy going to poultry shows because I love seeing the strange rare and exotic breeds that I rarely get to see otherwise and meeting all the people who love poultry as much as I do.

The first show that I went to was the one near Richmond. It was hosted by the Virginia Poultry Breeders Association (VPBA) and was held at the Caroline County fairground. I brought two of my Sumatras, one blue, who placed third out of five, and a black one named Jet (as in the black stone), who placed second out of four.

While I was at the show I saw plenty of fascinating chicken breeds; my favorites were the D’anvers, the Orloff, and the La Fleche. The most interesting was a Ko-Shamo, a breed that is newly accepted by the American Bantam Association (ABA), and a breed I had never heard of before, called the Olandsk Dwarf!

I also saw tons of waterfowl, including the East Indies Duck, the Runner Duck, the African Goose, the Egyptian Goose, and the Muscovy Duck. They had turkeys there too, but they were moving around so much that I couldn’t get a good picture.

In Showmanship I placed second out of three. Some of the questions I was asked were:

Q: What are the four classes of Duck?

A: Heavy, Medium, Light and Bantam

Q: Can you name three breeds in each of those classes?

A: Heavy: Pekin, Aylesbury, Rouen, Muscovy, Saxony, Silver Appleyard.

Medium: Cayuga, Crested, Swedish, Buff.

Light: Runner, Campbell, Magpie, Welsh Harlequin.

Bantam: Call, East Indie, Mallard, Wood, Mandarin.

Q: What is the Uropygial Gland and where is it located?

A: The Uropygial Gland is an oil gland located at the base of the tail that is used to keep the bird’s feathers soft, flexible and waterproof.

Q: What does the NPIP (National Poultry Improvement Plan) test for?

A: Pullorum-Typhoid, Mycoplasma (Gallicepticum, Synoviae and Melegridis), Salmonella Enteritidis and (optionally) Avian Influenza.

The show in Knoxville was the American Poultry Association (APA) national show and the site of the national meets of many breed clubs, including the American Sumatra Association (ASA). It was hosted by the Tennessee Valley Poultry Club in the Jacob’s building, a huge two floored building with plenty of space for the seven thousand birds were shown there. The junior show was held upstairs and open show downstairs. There were overlooks from the second floor to the first so one could see the open show from above.

Once again I brought two Sumatras, Jet and another blue, Nova (a.k.a. Mr. Sumi). Jet did the same as the last show, placing third out of five. Nova did well, getting Reserve Large Fowl Blue Sumatra (equivalent of second out of five). At this show the places are awarded as Champion, Reserve Champion followed by first, second, third etc. (At the VPBA show the placing was Champion, Reserve Champion, third, fourth etc.)

It was very nerve-racking getting ready for showmanship because it was a national show, and the contestants were from all over the U.S.A. I ended up getting third out of six, with 86 points out of 100, and because this time I got my sheet back, here is a listing of each of the questions and how well I did on each one of them.

First the judge discussed the breed standard of the Sumatra with me. I got 40 out of 40 possible points. Next I was asked to explain what a Gamy tail is, and to name two breeds that have this type of tail. I got 8 out of 10 points for this. The answer to the second question is Cornish and Modern Game.

The next question was, what new breed has entered the Bantam Standard that is required to have a split wing (which would normally be a disqualification)? I got 10 out of 10 points, the answer being the Ko Shamo.

The final question was, what is the proper procedure if you think there is a sick bird in the showroom? I got 3 out of 3 points for this and the answer is to alert the show superintendent.

This year they added a new activity for the juniors called Poultry Jeopardy. This is a version of Jeopardy created by a girl named Malory as a school project. It was played in a similar way to Jeopardy except you did not have to answer as a question. There were more entrants than buzzers, so there was a series of preliminary rounds to determine which people would continue on to the finals. I was one of the four finalists and I ended up winning with 130 points.

While I was at the show, I joined the before-mentioned ASA, which meant when Nova got Reserve Large Fowl Blue Sumatra, I won $5 and a medal. Also I saw Dr. Martin from the Livestock Conservancy. I am very glad that I went to these shows. I met so many amazing people and saw tons of beautiful poultry and learned lots of interesting facts (for instance, did you know that the first poultry show held in the U.S.A. was in Boston, Massachusetts in 1849?). I guess I will just have to keep going to more shows!

Last post’s question has a funny story behind it; when my Mom first saw the —— breed, she immediately thought of Big Bird and sure enough (according to Wikipedia at any rate) the original inspiration for the Big Bird character was the Polish chicken!

This post’s question is: How many different varieties (colors) are there of peafowl? There were only three in the wild.

Thanks for reading.

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