The Reading & District Bantam Society reports that its decision to give the end-of-year Youngstock Show a bit of a shake-up paid dividends. Instead of the usual, midweek evening, the event was switched to a Saturday, and what a difference it made!
The organisers were delighted with both the attendance and the number of entries. The tea bar even sold out of cake! One of the highlights was seeing a few new juniors trying their hand at showing, as well as plenty of familiar faces.
Another highlight was the talk given by Jed Dwight, who was also judging the eggs on the day. Jed is well known for taking fantastic photographs at shows, and he explained many of the techniques he uses to capture that perfect shot.
Rob Whittingdon judged the birds, and special congratulations are due to Tim Millard, whose lovely OEG pullet won Best in Show, and to Cathie Phillips, whose Welsummer pullet was Reserve Best in Show.
Retired auctioneer-turned-poultry showman, Trevor Addison, headed the pecking order when presenting the supreme champion pair of large white Wyandottes at the Craven Feather Auction Christmas Show at Skipton Auction Mart, back in December.
Mr Addison saw his 2014-hatched title winners – a cockerel and a pullet home-bred from prize-winning stock – first win the large fowl show class, then get chosen as overall champions by show judge, Reece Jowett.
The victors also ruled the roost on price when selling for the day’s high of £120, with Mr Addison also selling a second pair of large white Wyandottes for £90.
Other notable sale prices include £95 for a trio of Light Sussex, £65 for a trio of silver-laced Wyandottes and £55 for a trio of Light Sussex.
New from Perthshire-based Halley’s Feeds – a specialist producer of dehydrated forage and feeds – is the Hen Blox, which the maker claims is an innovative way to keep your chickens healthy and happy.
Each 1.25kg Hen Blox is packed with feedstuffs designed to promote chicken health; alfalfa (Lucerne), wheat, split maize, oyster shell and flint grit. The idea is to provide a ‘nutritious distractor’ for your birds something that they’ll enjoy and that will help prevent feather-pecking.
As we all know, hens love to peck, which is all well and good assuming they’re not doing it to each other. Problems can arise when a group of birds gets bored, and the beaks start flying.
So, providing them with something much more interesting to peck at is an ideal solution, which is where the Hen Blox comes in. This simple-to-use, easy-to- store product is available to order online, and bulk orders will be delivered to most parts of the UK free of charge.
Prices start at £2.95 and we’ve just put the product on test with our hens, and will report back on the results in due course. In the meantime, you can find out everything else you need to know by visiting: www.henblox.co.uk. Alternatively, give Halley’s Feeds a call on 01738 840394.
As this issue goes to press, we have to report the depressing news that, following recent outbreaks in both Germany and the Netherlands, avian influenza has returned to the UK.
Defra has stated that an outbreak of the highly-pathogenic H5N8 avian influenza has been confirmed on a duck farm near Driffield, in Yorkshire.
Although this strain presents very low risk to public health, and no risk to the food chain, humane culling of 6,000 ducks was carried out at the affected farm. In addition, a 3km protection zone and 10km surveillance zone have been established around the site, in which a variety of different control measures are being employed to prevent the spread of disease.
These include restrictions on the movement of poultry, carcasses, eggs, used poultry litter and manure. Poultry keepers in both zones can now apply for movement licences for some specific movements. There are also restrictions on bird gatherings, such as shows, and the release of game birds.
Defra’s robust action in this case indicates its on-going determination to control AI outbreaks, wherever they may occur. All this should serve as a reminder to us all that continued vigilance is required, regardless of how many or how few chickens we keep.