Chook fanciers get clucky over poultry

BARBECUED, fried, satayed or skewered, the humble chook can be served up in many guises.

But the more refined side of our favourite feathered food will be on display this weekend at Uralla.

FOWL PLAY: Armidale Poultry Club president Barry Simpson with one of his prized chooks. The club will be hosting its annual poultry auction this Saturday. Photo: Matt Bedford

FOWL PLAY: Armidale Poultry Club president Barry Simpson with one of his prized chooks. The club will be hosting its annual poultry auction this Saturday. Photo: Matt Bedford

It’s the little-known world of poultry breeding, where exotic fowls like Rhode Island reds, langshangs and sebright bantams strut around like prize thoroughbreds.

Chook fanciers from across the region will wing it to Uralla Showgrounds on Saturday for the Armidale Poultry Club’s popular purebred auction.

Poultry club president Barry Simpson, who has been showing birds for more than half a century, said it was an addictive hobby.

“I really get my kicks out of breeding something that wins at shows,” Mr Simpson said. “It’s a really interesting hobby.”

Asked if chook fanciers ever eat their beloved birds, Mr Simpson gave a nervous laugh.

“We do eat them but there’s a lot you just can’t,” he said.

“If they’ve had a good show career, by the time they’re ready to be eaten they can be a bit tough.”

He said chook enthusiasts came from all walks of life and a pair of the birds could sell for up to $400.

About 200 pens are expected at this weekend’s auction, the majority young birds.

The proceeds from a number of pens will be donated to Armidale Can Assist, while a raffle will be held to raise funds for the drought appeal.

The auction starts at 10.30am with a dedicated viewing time from 9am.

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