There are groups of poultry lovers all around Australia who share a passion for one (or more) breeds of chickens, ducks and all manner of other poultry. A lot of them have formed specific clubs to get together and share information, breeding tips, compete against each other to reach ‘The Standard’ (the benchmark of how this particular chicken breed is meant to look) and more importantly, keep the passion alive.
All recognised poultry breeds have a set of ‘standards’ that are adhered to by show breeders, which means that birds that, from a young age, look like they have the potential to meet the standards are kept and ‘growth through’, ones that are not are ‘culled’. Some of the reasons that a chicken may get culled include:
* wrong coloured eyes/legs
* uneven coloured feathers
* uneven/crooked combs
* wrong number of toes
* body shape
* neck length
A show breeder might hatch 30 chicks of one breed, and keep 8-10 to grow through (with the other 20-22 culled or sold on). Dependant on the breed, the chicks/pullets/cockerals that aren’t kept and grown through might be for any reasons above, or others that I haven’t mentioned.
Then of those 8-10 that were kept from the first lot, they will then cull/select further and keep 1 -3 for showing. Number four may very well still be a great quality chicken but 1 – 3 are better…
Suburban Chooks came about when the first chickens that we bought were ‘cull birds’ from a show breeder. They were beautiful healthy chooks which gave us a lot of joy, and from the perspective of a backyard poultry keeper, nothing wrong with them. As are the majority of chickens that are culled from show breeders… As our love of poultry grew and we met others who showed, we began to understand that there were a lot of chickens that were culled because there wasn’t anyone to sell them to. So we decided be the middle man and spread the joy of chicken keeping – hence our logo being ‘Let your love of chooks begin’ 🙂
Here is a short list of a few clubs, both Victorian based as well as National clubs, as randomly chosen from the Club Directory of the Australasian Poultry magazine:
* Victorian Rare & New Breed Poultry Society Inc. (03) 9844-0534
* Belgian Bantam Club of Australia Inc. (02) 6550-7295
* Australian National Pekin Club Inc. (02) 4933-0733
* Silkie Club of Australia – www.freewebs.com/silkieclubofaustralia
* Warragul Poultry Club (03) 5122-2446
* Wyandotte Club of Australia (Central Victorian Branch Inc) (03) 5435-3794
* Essendon Poultry Society Inc. (03) 9333-3609
The above list is by no means exhaustive. The best resource for finding the local clubs or ones specific to the purebreed you are passionate about, please see the listings in Australasian Poultry Magazine.
And remember, visitors and new members are always welcome at any club!!!