There are many poultry clubs around the country and around the world. There are clubs for Buckeyes, Orpingtons, and just about any other kind of domesticated poultry. The question is why would someone join a poultry breed club? There are many good reasons why you should join a poultry club.
Poultry breed clubs are organizations that specialize in one particular breed of chicken, duck, or similar poultry breed. They would know most details and habits of the particular breeds that they specialize in. They would know common faults in the birds, how to correct it through breeding programs, and how to avoid potential problems.
Jonathan Alden is a member of the United Orpington Club and says that joining a club is essential if you are wanting to be a serious breeder. “If you ever have a question there almost always is someone there to help, or they know someone that could help” Mr. Alden says.
“I think that if people are just starting out in poultry and have found a breed that they really like then their first step should be to join the club for that breed, if they have one, and also join the American Poultry Association and the American Bantam Association” Mr. Alden suggests.
There are also clubs that that have a broader scope, like the American Poultry Association. The APA covers most chickens, turkeys, and ducks. If you are not interested in joining a single breed club you can enjoy the benefits of the APA as they cover the vast majority of breeds. The American Poultry Association is the oldest Livestock Association in the US. As a club they attend to a multitude of breeds and several species. It is the umbrella club of poultry.
The American Bantam Association covers only the bantam breeds of chickens and ducks. The ABA concentrates on the bantam breeds, and they have a good following, their own standards, their own shows, and their own individual following.
One can gain a host of information from the bigger poultry clubs. However pople can benefit greatly from joining a breed club. Many people in a breed club are proficient at genetics and how to avoid breeding bad qualities into a new generation of birds. Having the resources of others that are familiar with your breed will also help in creating new color variations, or bringing back old ones that have been lost.
Most clubs have the breed standards readily available. The Standards of Perfection is also available with updated standards for the breeds it covers. The breed standard has a list of requirements that the birds should follow to be the best representation of the breed that it can be. This usually includes weight, coloration, leg color, and body type, and more. These are all things that make a chicken, duck, or turkey a certain breed.
Jonathan Alden joined the United Orpington Club because “I thought it was a great idea to learn as much as I could about the Orpinton breed. I wanted to know as much as I could to make my birds the best that they could be”.
Being a member of the APA and your particular breed club can make a huge difference in your placings at a poultry show. With a number of people that are familiar with the breed, getting your standards the best they can be is a little easier. The breed club can help you get ready for your shows. They can help your placings by giving advice on your stock, which ones to breed, and which ones to take along to the shows. People from your club can help judge what birds to continue to breed and what to try to breed out of your line to get the best out of your birds.
The poultry clubs all have dues. It is rare to have a poultry club that doesn’t have dues for the year. Dues generally include the membership and a newsletter. The newsletter and website often have information that only members can read and have access to. They both often have classifieds that are only open to the members of the club. Often the club members get the first pick of a breeding of birds, or a clutch of hatching eggs. After the best are quartered off to the other club members the rest are offered to the general public.
Most breed clubs provide a quarterly newsletter that has articles about breeding, parasites, diseases, diet, and good pens. The newsletter often has breeders that are selling fine stock as well. If you wanted to get your breeding stock from a good breeder a club newsletter would be a good place to look.
Poultry clubs have been around for a very long time. Many of the standards of perfection have been around for nearly a hundred years or more in one fashion or another. Joining a poultry club is not a new fashion, as they have been around since before the turn of the last century.
All in all to get the best out of your breeding and bird keeping experience a club would benefit you greatly. Whether you are a city flock keeper, or a farm breeder, you will do well to join a club to learn and share your experiences.
You can find out more about the United Orpington Club at their website http://www.unitedorpingtonclub.com
The American Bantam Association site http://bantamclub.com
The American Poultry Association is the oldest Livestock Association in the US and you can see their site here http://amerpoultryassn.com.
Photo of Light Sussex chickens courtesy of Rare Feathers Farm.