Chooks get to strut their stuff
There’s nothing paltry about poultry. Anyone who has seen the recent Kiwi doco Pecking Order would get that message loud and clear.
A couple of the ‘characters’ featured in the movie will be in Palmerston North this weekend for the Manawatu Poultry & Pigeon Show at the Barber Hall.
Show organiser Ron Pratt knows quite a few of the people from the film, but cried ‘fowl’ over the inclusion of the political infighting scenes. Still the old maxim of ‘any publicity is good publicity’ applies, and the film wasn’t about his club.
‘‘Ian Selby will be attending from the South Island. Ian Selby is one of the few all-breeds judges and compiles The New Zealand Poultry Standards.’’
In the film poster, Selby is the one wearing the white coat. Darcy Philp from Levin, also in the movie, will be judging at the event.
The Manawatu show would be the biggest show in the North Island with the public getting the great deal of ‘‘well over one thousand birds for five ‘buks’’’, Pratt said.
‘‘It’s a premier show, and everyone tells us it’s the best one. People come from all over New Zealand to put birds in our show.’’
Pratt and his wife Lynn, who is club sec- retary, have dedicated the last 30 years to running the show as professionally as poss- ible. It gets to be a family affair with daughters Angelina Knight and Shelly Reardon also helping out.
The display birds themselves have exotic names.
There are modern game, which are lean and minimally feathered birds that bear a slight resemblance to roadrunners, Indian game, fluffly pekins, orpingtons, Dutch barnevelder, old English game which are descendants of birds bred for cock-fighting.
There are also miniature or bantam versions of these breeds, along with ducks, game birds and ‘‘a lot of fancy pigeons that people probably don’t realise exist’’.
The breeders and their birds will be competing for cash prizes, ribbons and cups.
Show poultry was not just for show, Pratt said. Breeders play an important role in maintaining New Zealand’s pure breeding stock.
‘‘Some of these breeds have been in New Zealand for 150 years.
‘‘New Zealand is largely disease free and to keep it that way, the breeds we have are all we’ve got.
‘‘We can’t buy birds in from overseas to enrich the stock. Without careful breeding, the birds will lose their vigour.’’
The Manawatu Poultry & Pigeon Show is open to the public Saturday 1.30pm to 5pm and Sunday 9.30am to 1pm in the Barber Hall with entry $5 adults and $2 for children.
Long time Levin-based bird man Darcy Philp in action during Pecking Order.