The hardest part about writing this post was narrowing down the photo selection. I took over 200 photos while visiting the Ohio National Poultry Show in Columbus, Ohio on November 11th and 12th. Eventually, I had to make a conscious decision to put my camera away and just enjoy the moment.
But it was all so delicious! I couldn’t help but want to document every breed, color, and feather pattern. Each bird more exciting than the next. Each specimen a more beautiful example of the breed. Some rare, some I’ve only seen in photos online. I wanted to gather the experience up visually so I could take it home with me.
The Ohio National Poultry Show is the largest annual poultry show in the United States. There are other shows that bring in more birds, but they do not happen every year like the ONPS. This year there were over 5500 entries…you see now why it was so easy to take so many photos.
The show is truly a poultry lover’s paradise. Not only is there an overwhelming amount of chickens to ogle, but these are prime examples of the breeds. These birds have been bred to perfection, pampered, bathed and spoiled.
As soon as we arrived the parking lot was filled with pickup trucks, trailers, and cages holding birds of all shapes and sizes being packed and unpacked. Crowing was sounding off in the backseat’s of cars and random people were walking through the lot with various poultry under their arms. I was giddy!!!
I said to my husband Zach, “I’ve found my people.”
Upon entering the building, the first thing you are greeted with is the vendors selling every type of chicken product you can imagine. I indulged here as we were leaving and I’ll be sharing a chicken-themed “haul” in a future post.
Inside the arena, the front of the building is lined with all the plaques, ribbons and trophies that will be awarded. The sheer shininess of it all makes you want to enter a chicken.
Then there are the chickens…all 5500 of them!
The chickens are organized by the APA Class. And the rows of cages seem never-ending.
Buckeyes, Chanteclers, Delawares, Dominiques, Hollands, Javas, Jersey Giants ,Lamonas, New Hampshires, Plymouth Rocks, Rhode Island Reds, Rhode Island Whites, Wyandottes
Aseels, Brahmas, Cochins, Langshans, Malays, Sumatras
Dorkings, RedCaps, Cornish, Orpingtons, Sussex, Australorps
Anconas, Leghorns, Blue Andalusians, Castilians, Catalanas, Minorcas, Sicilian Buttercups, White-Faced Black Spanish
Hamburgs, Campines, Lakenvelders, Barnevelders, Welsumers, Polish, Houdans, Faverolles, Crevecoeurs, LaFleshe
Other Standard Breeds Class
Ameraucanas, Araucanas, Cubalayas, Frizzles, Modern Games, Naked Necks, Old English Games, Phoenix, Saipan, Shamos, Sultans, Yokohamas
Ameraucanas, Araucanas, Anconas, Andalusians, Antwerp Belgians, Australorps, Brahmas, Buckeyes, Catalanas, Campines, Chanteclers, Cochins, Cornish, Delewares, Dominiques, Dorkings, Dutch, Faverolles, Frizzles, Hamburgs, Hollands, Houdans, Japanese, Javas, Jersey Giants, LaFleche, Lakenvelders, Lamonas, Langshans, Leghorns, Malays, Minorcas, Naked Necks, New Hampshires, Old English, Orpingtons, Phoenix, Plymouth Rocks, Polish, Rhode Islands, Rosecombs, Sebrights, Shamos, Sicilian Buttercups, Silkies, Spanish, Sultans, Sumatras, Sussex, Wyandottes, Yokohamas
Aylesburies, Buffs, Calls (Bantam), Campbells, Crested, East India (Bantam), Magpies, Mallard (Bantam), Muscovies, Pekins, Rouens, Runners, Swedish
African, American Buff, Canada, Chinese, Egyptian, Embden (Emden), Pilgrim, Saddleback Pomeranian, Sebastopol, Toulouse, Tufted Roman
Beltsville Small White, Black, Bourbon Red, Bronze, Narragansett, Royal Palm, Slate, White Holland
In the back is the trader’s station where people are selling birds. We stopped here first as I wanted to make sure that I could get the best choice of Buff Orpingtons available.
I’ll expand more about the purchasing experience in a future post but, for now, I’ll share that I found 5 exemplary examples of the breed to purchase. I’m so excited to breed them this spring!!!
I was also very encouraged by the crowds that came to see the chickens. At times it was difficult to move between rows. The enthusiasm toward the event was a promising sign that chicken keeping is much more than a passing fad, and that some of these heritage breeds that are in trouble of extinction are on their way for a comeback.
I encourage anyone who’s interested in poultry to go. It was such an amazing learning experience. I think that even if you’re not interested in poultry, you’d be hard-pressed to not appreciate the diversity and beauty of the breeds presented. The cacophony of crowing alone is impressive.
If you decide to attend next year, bring your camera, bring cash, and bring empty cages. If you’re anything like me, it’ll be hard not to come home with a chicken or two.