What you missed at the ALBC conference!

Discussion in 'Random Ramblings' started by rancher hicks, Nov 15, 2010.

  1. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    Now I'm posting here cuz maybe someone who is not a member might consider it. If you have to own chickens why not do something good at the same time.

    So this years conference was in Hamiltion NY which is an hour away from me. But there were people from lots of places and the ones I remember are W. Vir. , Pa, Md, CT, KA. and of course NC. There may have been others but I'm old and these are the ones I remember. It was really great to meet so many. I made it a point to circulate cuz I didn't want to miss meeting anyone.

    Now the folks from the ALBC directly, OMG! They were so friendly and nice. I have no doubt I made an impression on them. I'm not sure how good that was, but I couldn't hide my enthusiasm or is it passion. Not sure if it's for chickens but just to be a part of something that affects the world, and the ALBC does in many ways. I got to network and even people who didn't have chickens were super nice.

    The truth, the first two days there was a dairy conference ($395) and it was seperate from what I was paid for but I was so excited I didn't realize, after all for some this was an opportunity of a lifetime. Who knows when they'll have the conference here again. Anyhow I went in and was greeted and given my own name badge and went as directed to go to the room the meeting was in. Well I was approached and informed that the part of the conference I had paid for wasn't until Fri and Sat. I was embarrassed and apologized, explained my zeal and they said that since I was there it would be ok if I sat in. So I did! You would not have known I was such a fool, they included me even after I explained. I did leave at lunch time and they understood. I just didnt think it was fair for me to sit in when others had paid. But wasn't that nice of them to be so kind? The part of the session I sat in on concerned the money aspect of dairy and beef and all that sort of stuff, How to make money from what is an unorthodox cattle and milk business. If you had goats and sheep this would have helped you too. Sorry I don't think of sheep for milk and forget that dairy includes goats. Many folks know the livestock and care part of things but how to make money, we sometimes need help. I have a Business management degree and even I learned some things.

    So when I left, I signed up and paid for ($25) a session on Friday, this had to do with breed associations, something I had never considered. From what I learned these can help in the connection aspect of livestock and poulty keeping. Seems to me this is more important in rare breeds as we don't want to let the gene pool get to shallow or we'll end up with animals as smart as my BIL how can't add two and two or having six fingers on each hand like my ex-wife (she was good a hand ball and we won alot of trophies so don't laugh). You get the idea. I will be looking for an Association that will help me with my Delawares, so if you know of any feel free to PM me.

    Each day included lunch some of which was from rare breeds but that's later. The food was really great and what I paid for my day would have been worth it just for the people and food.

    Friday (this is what my $149 coverd) the beginning started out with a cash bar and waiters passing out aur, (you know crackers and cheese and thingies like that) The crackers had barred rock on them and there were Dexter beef and pine nut meat balls. I should've eaten more of those. Really great. Oh and stuff mushrooms which I don't like so I can't tell you what they tasted like.
    Then the cheese, OMG again. I'll try to post a pic cuz a guest at my table took a pic and e-mailed it to me. She had a new fangled fancy dancy phone. Lord knows I'm lucky I can even dial a number on mine. I've missed calls just trying to open the darn thing. Anyhow I gave her my e-mail address and she sent it to me. Wasn't that nice? I told you everyone was really nice. Of course I was up and smiled most of the time. Probably made a big fool of my self but no one said anything. They had to much class.
    So the dinners and lunches were all buffet style but the food was always heritage and there were no fries on the menu. Not burgers either. A beef stroganoff and something with pita and gravey, a vegetarian lasagna too. So if your a vegetarian don't be disuaded from going to a conference. Oh one thing about the cheese is there was an extra plate at our table and everyone said they didn't mind if I took it home for DW and I did. It was 11:00pm and she's at the counter putting it away but couldnt' resist the blue cheese and said "you've got to try this, this is heaven". Her being an angel she would know. (She'd have to be to stay married to me for 35yrs) She's not one to throw away a compliment, so that's a big deal.
    End of friday, drove home happy and satisfied my money was well spent. Sorry but lots of folks only look at that aspect of these things. Seriously I knew I'd made a good decision for once in deciding to go. DW doesn't like animal events.

    Saturday came and off I go. Got there slightly late but not bad. I'm old and have a hard time getting up and when I do I'm like an old car and take time warming up. Had to stop for breakfast, don't ask where, but it kept me alive, even if it was clogging my arteries.

    So saturday started with a session on Chicken Body Selection by Don Schrider. OMG a really nice guy and super smart. I think he's in NC and I was thinking of packing just to hopfully learn more from him. I'm sure he had alot to say and more knowledge than I have time to learn at my age. I will never look at a chicken the same. I was taught how to judge, perhaps judge is the wrong word, but look at a chicken and decide whether he or she is a good candidate for my breeding stock. Seems to me the number of points and feather pattern don't mean a thing if it doesn't have the qualities of it's purpose as a breed. For me a Delaware that has the egg laying part down but doesn't have the meat quality part down is lacking. Even if it is pretty, but that's my novice OP I could be wrong. I hope he wouldn't mind me saying that.

    Then a break, coffee and danish and networking. I tried to talk to as many people as I could cuz they are more experienced than me and contrary to what the proverb says you can teach an old dog a new trick.

    There are a number of these sessions to choose from so if there is one you'd rather not go to there are others.

    The next session I sat in on was about Raising Rare Rabbits for Market. Now I'm not into rabbits, but Lord knows I could be if not for chickens. Lord have mercy I'm still working up to processing chickens, how would I do in that cute little bunny? Anyhow I wasn't interested in the other two sessions and I'd hope to see and bring home a bunny for Trilyn who lost hers and I wanted to get her a replacement. Still I learned these folks spend alot of money and time on these breeds and deserve our respect. What I learned is that rabbits can be tricky and what I thought I knew wasn't correct. You can't just throw two rabbits together and poof! more rabbits. You have to know what your doing if you want to preserve rare breeds. Maybe next years conference will have rabbit on the menu. I tell you, you are soooo missing out if you don't go.

    Then we had lunch and the ALBC annual meeting. Which of course was more good food and more pounds added to my girth.

    After that was another selection of sessions and I chose "Heritage breeds: use them to their full potential" but Lee a young woman I met there, came running in and said Tim you've got to come right now, you've got to be in this session. So I moved to "Chickens in the city" which was conducted by the Author of said book Patricia Foreman. I had read her book when I first got started, before I got chickens. I don't think I would have researched whether chickens were legal for me and it gave me amunition if I met resistance. Which thankfully I didn't. Plus it's a resource I use to convert those who are not into chickens. Lord knows they are less trouble than a dog or my DD's cat who is driving me insane whining for food all the time. Plus chickens give you something to brag about. "So what did your dog give you today? Oh nothing just pooped in the neighbors yard. Well my chickens gave me a dozen eggs and my neighbors says they love my chickens".
    Anyhow she was super and I got to tell her in person how much I appreciated her book. Plus there was a reporter from Countryside magazine and we talked and she asked to take my picture with Ms. Foreman. Was that cool or what? I should have bought her book and had her sign it but I'm retired and only have so much money. If you live in a place that doesn't allow chickens her book can help.

    Another break and more networking and learning from others. I tried not to monopolize any one person lest I miss someone who might have knowledge to help me, though I hope I helped someone else too.

    The next session I sat in on was The art of incubation with Don Schrider and Rudy Brouilette, who from what I understand is from NY. And who also donated chickens some of which were Bantam Brown leghorns for the silent auction and I won the rosecombs. I say won, which for me is winning even though I paid for them. They are vey nice and I did a lot of work yesterday preparing their new housing. I'm exhausted. I didn't tell DW when I came home that they were here, but when she saw them she was fine and didn't pack my bags. Course no one suspected even when the rooster was crowing, which is amazing since he was in the back room right near DD's bedroom. All they said was "One of those roosters sounds strange".
    So Don and Rudy talked about incubation something Lord knows I've read to much about. Still I learned more about large scale hatching, should I ever make the endeaver. These guys don't hatch 40 they hatch thousands. OMG! DW would surely send me packing then. I did learn about egg selection and whether or not to help a chick out of it's shell is more important than I thought in getting healthy genes into my chicks. Chicks that need help are not the best to breed from so therefore either don't help or don't breed from them. They may not be your best producers of eggs or meat. I hope I got that correctly. After all heritage breeds were the commercial breed of choice at one time, if I understand correctly.

    One thing that I learned about the ALBC folks is that they understand that if we newbies don't find acceptance Breed conservators could in and of themselves be a lost breed. So whether they were just placating me or not they were very nice and I couldn't tell. I choose to believe they are a rare breed themselves.

    Saturday nights dinner included Barred Rock, who knew chicken had taste? Well it was really good and the chef, Steve Pope, was excellent. I would have liked to sat in on his cooking session but one it was at the same time as the Breed Association session and two it was more along DW's line and she'll just have to live with the decision not to take time off of work to go. If your DW or DH isn't into animals there will surely be a reason for them to go. Just tell them to bring a book and go for the food. It is way worth it.

    Then the silent auction was ended and I came home with the pair of Rosecomb bantam brown leghorns and a nice set of pottery planters and dishes. It just so happened that my circulating was a smart thing cuz I got to sit with the potter who was like everyone else very nice.

    Now if you looked at the brochure on line you'll understand some of what I'm talking about.

    One other thing is I did get to sit at a table with a reporter from the Wall Street Journal and later got to talk with her husband. I didn't know he was her husband when I talked to him but sorta figrued it out when he said he was an architect. I think I may have convinced him to turn the top of his building into "green space" and add some chickens. They were both nice of course.

    So there you have it. I had a great time and learned alot and probably missed alot more than I learned. If there is the slightest chance you can go to a conference than make the extra effort to go. Plan your vacation around it, you won't be disappointed.

    Love you all
    Rancher Hicks
  2. speckledhen

    speckledhen Intentional Solitude Premium Member

    Wow, that sounds so exciting, Tim! I'm very glad you were able to go!
  3. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    Oh WOW, just WOW ! ! ! I am so jealous! Wish I could attend a conference like that.

    Thank you soooo much for the report! Love it!
  4. Steve_of_sandspoultry

    Steve_of_sandspoultry Overrun With Chickens

    Glad you got a chance to attend! We have been ALBC members for awhile now and they are a great group.

  5. EweSheep

    EweSheep Flock Mistress

    Jan 12, 2007
    Land of Lincoln
    [​IMG] [​IMG]
  6. trilyn

    trilyn Chillin' With My Peeps

    Apr 13, 2009
    East Syracuse
    Ugh, Mr. Tim! I so wish I could have went with you, if not for anything more than to watch you walk around in awe with your mouth hanging open! LOL Seriously, I'm so glad you were able to go and very happy that you've shared this with all of us. I, for one, am kicking myself for not making more of an effort to go. If they're going to be in Kansas, lets do a road trip! The food......you've got me drooling over that cheese platter and I would love to have tasted some Barred Rock! You better remember all of this stuff!!

    In regards to the bunny....you really are a wonderful friend!! [​IMG]
  7. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    You read it here folks, Trilyn said road trip and I'm going to hold her to it, so she better save her money.
  8. kathyinmo

    kathyinmo Nothing In Moderation

    Quote:And that could be near by to my area! [​IMG]
  9. rancher hicks

    rancher hicks Chicken Obsessed

    Feb 28, 2009
    Syracuse, NY
    I've heard the next one is going to be in Kansas, how far is that from you, we'll pick you up.
  10. can you hear me now?

    can you hear me now? Chillin' With My Peeps

    Jun 18, 2008
    Southwest Missouri
    Just read your very informative post and wish I would have had the ability to go. I love learning new things, would have been in heaven. The food would have been an added bonus.

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