SOP chicks- where to buy?

Discussion in 'Raising Baby Chicks' started by CluckyInKY, Sep 15, 2016.

  1. CluckyInKY

    CluckyInKY Out Of The Brooder

    May 29, 2016
    Utica, KY
    We are new to raising chickens. We have 6 that we got in the spring from Rural King & knew nothing when we started.
    My 12 year old now wants to show chickens at next year's fair. Another task I know nothing about, but I want to learn.
    Where can I purchase fair-worthy chicks? What should I be aware of when selecting what breed to show? Of course, she wants bantams- something along the lines of silkie/frizzle/polish. Are these breeds "trainable"? Can you enter more than one chicken into the contest? Are there different competitions within the show? Does this just differ from fair to fair?
    Keep in mind, she will mainly be doing this for fun. She is not as competitive as I am, but I would LOVE to see her come home with a ribbon for something!
  2. sumi

    sumi Égalité Staff Member

    Jun 28, 2011
    Rep of Ireland
    If you want show quality poultry, your best bet would be buying them from a reputable breeder, preferably someone that shows birds themselves, as those breeders are likely to breed to the Standard. Keep in mind that not any bird bought even from a breeder would be a show winner. Successful exhibition usually means learning what you can about the breed and working towards breeding birds to their breed standard. There are quite a few threads in the Exhibition, Genetics, & Breeding to the Standard of Perfection forum section, where you can pick breeders' brains and ask them for advice. For stock, we are busy filling up the BYC Breeders Directory at the moment, so there may be someone there near enough you that can you get you set up with some chicks. Best of luck!
    Last edited: Sep 20, 2016
    1 person likes this.
  3. 3riverschick

    3riverschick Poultry Lit Chaser

    May 19, 2009
    western PA
    My Coop
    Above is great advice. Be prepared to pay for quality stock. You are buying the genetics and the years (often decades) of skill behind them. Do not dicker with the breeder. Keep in touch with the breeder and ask them educated questions ( translated: read up on the breed before you contact the breeder). Get a copy of the American Bantam Association Standards book ( library?) and look thru it for a breed you like . The simpler the color the better ,for novices. The shape of the bird is of utmost importance. Color comes later in the overall scheme of things. Poultry are judged by phenotype first. Then by other factors in descending order. Condition of the bird is way up there too.
    Looking for quality breeders? :
    Check out the online results of poultry shows. One source is the website of that breed's national Club. Another is Check for breeders you like in the classifieds here on BYC.
    1. Pick a breeder who is winning consistently in quality competition( i.e. many birds entered) in the breed and not just fair wins, also the big shows... over multiple generations.
    Birds have a much wider genetic base than mammals. Plus there are a slew of sex-linked genes not found in mammals. For this reason it takes a lot more time to stabilize a poultry gene pool. Poultry also stand inbreeding much better than a lot of mammals.
    So you will be looking for a vintage line bred strain. One the breeder has been working with for years. Linebreeding (and possibly inbreeding to set certain traits). Inbreeding is not a dirty word in poultry. Esp. the linebreeding is important if the breed you choose has any fancy extremities like complicated color pattern, or crests, or less common comb structures or other genetic features. It takes time, lots of time, to stabilize a gene pool to consistently replicate those features properly over the generations. It's those sex-linked genes again, smile.
    3. Look for Master Breeders of your chosen breed on the website of the American Bantam Club. Also check the website of the American Poultry Association ( large fowl) for Master Breeders if your chosen breed has both large and bantam sizes. Often these Breeders know who has the best birds in both sizes.
    4. Do let your selected breeders know this is for 4-H.
    Karen in western PA, USA
    Last edited: Sep 16, 2016
    2 people like this.
  4. aart

    aart Chicken Juggler! Premium Member

    Nov 27, 2012
    SW Michigan
    My Coop
    I would first talk to the administrators of the fair show you want to participate in...usually it's connected with the local 4H organization.
    I think a lot of it is more about showmanship, livestock handling, and over all health of birds rather than breed SOP's.
    Depends on the local 'scene'.

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