Interested in chicken? Think about it—when I asked you that question, did your mind go towards your favorite meals involving chicken, or did you consider the process of raising poultry as livestock? Poultry breeding plays an important part in your life, no matter where your mind went. But get this: The Heart of Oklahoma Expo Center has the chance to host not just one, but two important poultry shows! The American Poultry Association (APA) already had their meet this year, but the Oklahoma State Poultry Federation will be having their show on the second Saturday in December.
We got the chance to visit the APA’s show in November. Imagine the Expo Center’s big ol’ show floor bays fitted wall-to-wall with poultry cages showcasing breeds of chicken, waterfowl, geese, Guinea fowl and more. Birds of all size and shape were on display, all to compete against each other scoring points based on their proximity to the breeding standards established by the association.
Truth is, the North American Poultry Breeders are the oldest association of their kind around, and their judges are all licensed in order to make judgments based on the breeding standards. What are those standards? For every breed, there are certain traits and characteristics that are considered by how close they are to an established pedigree. The closest specimens score the highest and win the prizes, the highest honors available to American poultry breeders. Many of these professionals and enthusiasts drive their livestock from far out of state to be judged, which speaks immensely of the APA’s regard.
This latest show was especially important, as a new breed of waterfowl was being considered for establishment via a standard. Big, fluffy-feathered birds like geese honked in their cages as we approached, their voluminous and downy coats casting an intimidating but beautiful presence. It was an exciting time for them and their breeders.
And that’s just it: the commercial implications of poultry breeding are there, but many of the competitors that were at the show were families with their kids—many of the breeders were just there because they loved it. It looked like everybody was having fun, enjoying a community of people sharing in a mutual interest. The birds certainly kept the atmosphere lively!
Does any of this sound interesting to you? It’s not too late in the year to go see something similar. The Oklahoma State Poultry Federation Show & Serama Express will be at the Expo Center on December 8th, so try and make it out there to see the best in Oklahoman poultry showmanship.