Chooks get to strut their stuff

The Tribune (NZ) - - COMMUNITY COOKBOOK - RICHARD MAYS

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.

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