Well folks, it's that time of year again. The time where all the poultry breeders and hobbyists in the region (stretching out as far as the midwest, and south all the way into Florida) pack up their showbirds and trek to the Big E fairgrounds in Springfield, MA for the annual Northeastern Poultry Congress. Happening this weekend, Jan 18-19, it's free and open to the public 9am-3pm on Saturday, and 8am-11am on Sunday.
There will be approximately 2000 excellent examples of nearly every breed of chicken and duck you can imagine entered into the show and on display both Saturday and Sunday in the main showroom. Birds compete by category, corresponding to the main regions of origin for the breeds (Asiatic, Continental, etc.) and there is a full juniors' division as well.
Most of you reading this message probably don't have birds to show, but this event is totally awesome for you too, because this is the BEST chance you'll have to go and see all these breeds you've been reading about IN PERSON! And possibly ask their breeders for more info about the breed as well. There are also a few presentations happening that you might find interesting. Check out the website for a schedule and more info.
The other reason this event is awesome is the SALES ROOM. This is where everyone who is showing will have birds and supplies for sale (only people entered in the show can sell birds, which is a good start to being sure the birds are healthy). If you've been wanting to buy an unusual breed without ordering chicks, this is a good place to go!
Points of note:
**If you are hoping to buy birds at this event, get there FIRST THING on Saturday morning! The good stuff - that is, the hens/pullets of all the popular breeds - tends to be just about gone by late morning on Saturday.
**If you are buying birds, be very careful about health! Even if you are super excited about a particular bird, but the bird seems unheathly in any way, DON'T DO IT. They may have something that can wipe out your entire flock. Even if you buy a bird that seems healthy, plan to QUARANTINE the new bird for at least a couple of week.
I highly recommend going to the show site and printing out a copy of the 2014 show book before you go. It sounds like they won't have any printed copies on hand at the event, and you'll want a copy to look up the exhibitors and vendors and take notes, etc.
I will be there for at least a handful of hours on Saturday morning, and I know there's at least one carpool heading over from the Cambridge/Somerville area, so stay tuned on the Yardbirds Backyard Chickens Facebook page for ride coordination, and or check out the Somerville Chicken Keepers googlegroup (not sure if that link will work to sign up, as it's a new group and I don't know if it's open to the public quite yet...).
YAY CHICKENS! I'm so excited... :D