Poultry At The Fair

Before the internet, on-line hatchery catalogs and YouTube videos, the only way to see different poultry breeds was to go to a poultry show. Breeders brought their best stock.

In 1924, J.C. Johnson, of Cottage Grove, Oregon printed up postcards of his Silver Spangled Hamburg Rooster and proudly advertised that his birds were show winners. He sold “eggs and young stock” throughout the Pacific Northwest.

This is another one of his roosters. Gorgeous! (Am I right in thinking that this is a Silver Laced Polish?)

I think that going to a poultry show remains the best way to learn about chicken breeds. I was at the Fryeburg Fair this weekend, so of course took a look in the Poultry Barn where I lucked out to see the judging.

I like to see which birds pleased the judges, and so try to improve my own eye for quality.

(BV = Best of Variety, BB = Best of Breed)

I think that J. C. Johnson would have wanted this cockerel in his flock.

I know that I’ve added  a polka-dotted bird to my wish-list of chickens to get.


  1. I REALLY like that rooster! He is adorable! Love the polka dots too! His comb looks like the Sicilian Buttercups? Shaped like a crown with a little dish inside…..

  2. Goes with out saying that quality endures….. even in a chicken breed.

  3. A dalmation chicken! The Poultry Fancy folks have a show here next week that I will attend. I went last year, this year I will be armed with more questions about certain breeds. Thank you for the Poultry Fancy Folks information Terry. When I went last year there were mostly bantam breeds so I hope this year there might be more standard/heritage breeds.

  4. What a handsome cockerel! I like the “clean cut” ones better than Mr Johnson’s refugee from Haight-Ashbury (even if he does have a silver cup).

  5. Our county fair just finished and of course the poultry show was my favorite as it is every year! The Silver Spangled Hamburg is a breed I’d love to have but I think I’ve read that they don’t bear confinement well. I have an Old English hen who acts like a “wild thing” when it’s time for their afternoon free range.

  6. I was hoping to get to one of the country fairs this summer to see all the different breeds of chickens, but unfortunately didn’t get the chance. I am definately planning on going to the Northeastern Poultry Congress Show at the Eastern States Exposition grounds in January.

  7. The summer I finally got the go-ahead (after about 20 years of begging) from my husband to get some chickens, I read everything I could get my hands on about chickens, talked to chicken owners, read Backyard Poultry magazine and other nerdy activities. But I decided I had better get up close and personal with a few chickens, to see if I actually would like being around them. Never having been around birds, I had no idea. So I headed to the county fair and looked at all the chickens. Although at our small fair, the chickens are in with, not just pigeons, doves, quail, turkeys, geese and ducks, but also the bunnies, other small mammals and something else — you could hear the roosters crowing from far outside the barn, and the noise inside was even more cacophonous. It was great. I decided I could definitely hang with chickens, and started making plans for peeps and coop the following spring. It has all worked out well — I adore chickens, greatly admire their dinosaur-ness — and have since noticed how much I also love other birds, especially the wild birds in our area.