Continuing my rare breed theme, I will now look at how to select the rare breed that best suits you and the type of yard you have.
Firstly, I would recommend that you have a look at the variety of birds that are available to you.
Have a look on the internet or attending a few shows to get an idea of the huge variety, types and colours that you can keep.
Especially consider the size of the birds and your ability to keep the larger types.
Breeds such as Malays and Croad Langshans require a substantial amount of space and need a big pen or yard to thrive.
Decide also whether eggs are important to you.
Some of these breeds lay few eggs and some were originally bred for meat or fighting.
There are some bantam breeds of the rare variety and these have been discussed in previous articles.
These breeds such as the Japanese and Rosecomb are best for those with limited space.
They can be kept in a suburban backyard quite easily.
Some breeds such as the Ancona and the coloured Leghorns are excellent layers and will still do well in a smaller yard.
But, the larger breeds such as Dorkings and the Australian Game need a little more yardage and probably some space to range.
Whatever space you have, don't worry, there's a rare breed for you.
Another consideration is availability.
Check around because many of these breeds are difficult to obtain and some are only available in some areas by purchasing eggs.
If you don't have hatching and brooding, you need to buy birds.
Then you will also need to consider how they will be transported.
That is why it is sensible to go to a few shows in your area, even the local agricultural show.
Another option is to contact the Exhibition Poultry Association in your state to get an idea of what birds are accessible to you.
The Royal Agricultural shows in most states have auctions and lists of breeders which are invaluable resources.
One final consideration is the cost.
Good birds are expensive.
You will need to budget a couple of hundred dollars for enough birds to breed from and maintain a genetic pool.
By keeping a rare breed you will be keeping a breed alive.
You will be keeping the genetics for future generations.
This is a most important factor in preserving qualities that will be needed in the future.
More on rare breeds in the next issue.
- Bruce Pattinson is a past president of the NSW Exhibition Poultry Association. Email questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or post to: Chook Feed, PO Box 25, Kogarah, 2217, with your name and daytime contact number.