Saturday, October 2, 2010

Know It All?

At what point do we stop becoming a novice at a hobby? I am not just talking about chickens. I know others things they love to do. Crocheting, knitting, painting, photography, all sorts of things we love to do and are good at it. So when do we stop thinking we might be good at it, and start knowing we are good at it? I don't know. I don't presume to know more than all, but I think I know a pretty good bit about chickens. I have been steeped in raising chickens for nine or so years now. Thats not a long time for some of the people that have done it for so long. I do believe one thing though. I believe the internet is a wonderful tool for learning. I learn things on almost a daily basis about chickens. Whether it be health issues, or breeds I didn't know existed, showing, I am always learning. So I don't think I will ever 'Know it all'. To presume that would be closing myself off to learning from others and nobody likes a know it all anyway.

So how to you balance the fact that you know a lot more than a lot of people, but you don't know it all, and yet have a feeling of satisfaction that you know a pretty good bit, without coming off as a know it all. I don't know. I hope that no one thinks that about me. No one has given any indications of such, but that doesnt mean anything. You never know what people are saying behind your back.

Why am I bringing all this up? Well, there are so many people both young and old that get involved in keeping chickens that don't know a thing about them, and so when things go wrong, they freak out. I educated myself a long time and read up a lot before I even considered getting chicks to raise. It frustrates me to hear ignorance just flowing freely out of peoples mouths. Case and point. Recently I heard a lady say that she has had chickens for a couple of years so she does know some. Her problem was her rooster/hen ratio was outrageous. She had eight hens and four roosters. The roosters were doing nothing but what roosters do, all day long, and tearing up the hens in the process. She was told to get rid of three if not all of the roosters. She was worried about a decline in egg production with just one rooster. Well, if you know anything at all, roosters stress hens out. NO roosters are a hens ultimate dream. If your not hatching, you dont need any roosters. She actually thought you needed a rooster to get eggs at all from a hen. Common sense dictates that is not true, but I gave her too much credit. I have run across uneducated chicken owners time and time again, and it drives me crazy. Pick up a book, Google how to care for chickens, SOMETHING. :(

Well, I didnt plan on ranting about that, but I guess it just kind of came out. My line of thinking was not really aimed at that tonight, so I will switch over to what I wanted to talk about.

I went to Tractor Supply today to get my weekly feed load and the manager happened to be there. I had brought Phoenix and he was wearing his cute bumblebee diaper overall thingies. He was the center of attention all over the store of course. He is such a fine example to change peoples perception of chickens, roosters in particular, as pets.

So the manager mentioned some guy had come by wanting to put up a sign to anyone wanting to enter chickens into a 'poultry show' at a local Fair coming up this next week. My ears perked up of course. He said the guy was having trouble getting anyone to enter. I said I would give him a call and see what was up. I called when I got home and I asked him some particulars. He said a lot of people had been talking, but not actually entering their birds. He has 15 coop holes to fill. Thats not all. So I asked him if this was an actual show or does he just want some birds for exhibition for the fairgoers to see. He said mostly for exhibition but there would be ribbons and prizes too. I don't think he knows what a real poultry show is. A real poultry show has ABA and APA sanctioned judges, is usually put on by a poultry club, you have to get your birds tested for disease before cooping in, there are rules and guidelines for a show. So, from what I can tell, this is just an exhibition, to someone like me. Fine, I get that, even if he doesnt.

I asked him if the coops were for bantams or for large fowl. He was not sure. I don't want to bring some giant cochins and try to stuff them into a bantam cage. I don't think that would even be a consideration, they would take up the whole cage. Either way I told him I could fill all the holes if he wanted me to. He gasped and was taken aback and said to me that he wouldn't want me to do that, that he would reserve me four holes. I laughed. Four holes, yeah....right. I told him I thought he wanted to have some great looking birds for fairgoers to see, and what would happen if no one else brought birds? He saw my point and said we would wait to see, and if no one had called him back to enter more birds by tomorrow evening he just might let me do the whole poultry exhibition.

He wants me to meet him tomorrow so I can look at the coops to see what they can accomodate. He mentioned putting more than one bird in each coop if they were bantam, which is fine, if I bring some trios and pairs of bantams that are already together and get along with each other. In a real show this does not happen. Each bird is cooped in seperately, no exceptions, at least I have never heard of it. Another thing is, no one waits til the day before the show to confirm an entry. There is a deadline for entering birds, usually three to four days, sometimes five days before the show. You have to have time to wash and groom your birds, get them ready. I will not be doing that, especially since this doesnt really 'count' per say. My birds look pretty good, I will do some spot clean up, but it takes a lot out of me to really get ready for a show, especially if I am showing more than just a few birds.

Now, what I want to know is, why do I do this sort of thing? I am not generally an outgoing person. I don't really try to help strangers. I keep to myself most of the time. Thats why I live in the country, to be left alone most of the time. I don't know this guy from anyone, but I saw that he needed help, and yes, it had a lot to do with the fact that it was chickens, but I called, and I wanted to help. He says he wants to have a real show next year. I will give him our local poultry club heads number and maybe he can work something out with him for next year.

I don't know what he thought was going to happen with fifteen holes, no way to notify anyone of an exhibition. He could have probably gotten some local 4H kids to do the show easy if he had contacted them.

I realize most people dont know who to contact, how to go about it, so I will try to help him out and get him hooked up with the right people for next year.

I don't know why I want to help total strangers sometimes. It doesnt happen often. As I sit here and type this I am shrinking back into my shell thinking, why did you do that? I could have had a perfectly quiet week, and now I will be transporting birds back and forth all week to a fair. He said I could leave them overnight, but there is no way. No amount of "Oh we had someone watching, I dont know what happened" or " I am so sorry this happened" will replace a prize winning champion bird of mine. So they will come home with me, and I will be right there the whole day when they are there. I know it will be nice, it will be fun. After all, if I am the only one bringing birds, then my birds, and I, will be the center of attention. There are not a lot of times I like to be the center of attention. When it comes to chickens and talking about them though, yes, I do like being the center of attention. :)

I know you were probably expecting my third and last installment on our vacation, but I didn't have it in me tonight. I just felt like rambling a bit. Had to get some thoughts out.


Hollie said...

Kelly I know you will do an awesome job of showing the fair goers what chickens are all about. I'm sure you will also educate a few in the process. Where's is this fair at? We haven't been to a fair in so many years! I just might want to take one in this year.

Lisa said...

What a wonderful opportunity! Hope you have fun at the show. It would be nice to be the only one there so you can really enjoy the exposure and having the show to yourself. If it were me, I would like that too!!

Ally Lifewithally said...

Kelly I know you will enjoy yourself at this fair ~ and I look forward to knowing how everything went ~ Ally x