Monday saw the poultry housing order lifted and birds once again could go outdoors or into uncovered pens. Now the focus is on when bird gatherings can commence in the form of poultry shows and fairs.
Unfortunately, this came too late for this year’s Balmoral Show, with the poultry section cancelled, but hopefully the rest of the agricultural shows will get the green light to hold poultry sections.
This has been a very difficult time for poultry keepers and, as feed and fuel costs continue to rise, sadly many may reduce their breeds or go out of poultry altogether. Let’s hope there is light at the end of the tunnel.
This week I am looking at the Wyandotte Bantam, which is a breed of curves with its characteristic rose comb and numerous colours.
The bantam version of the breed should be a replica of the standard sized bird at approximately a third the stature.
This makes them more appealing to poultry enthusiasts as they require less room and food than their larger counterpart and are well known as decent layers.
They are in the show category as bantam heavy soft feather and would be towards one of the heaviest breeds of bantams.
Unfortunately some times they are just too large, so keeping an eye on the size of your bantam strain is an important factor. These wonderful birds come in numerous colours and could be divided into plain feather colours such as black, blue, buff, chocolate, lavender and white and, more recently, red.
Then you have the laced varieties such as silver laced, buff laced, gold laced and blue laced; and the pencilled varieties such as silver pencilled and gold pencilled.
Varieties that fall outside these categories are Columbian, barred, millefleur partridge and mottled.
While the above are the main colours, there are others as well.
With a vast amount of colours to maintain you need a large number of dedicated poultry fanciers.
Unfortunately, the breed here is kept by a small number of breeders and are not shown in great numbers.
This was not the case a few decades ago when they were very popular and shown by a number of exhibitors and regularly appeared on championship row at shows.
I can recall seeing the bantam version exhibited in good numbers, especially the more popular white variety, followed by the black and buff varieties.
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