I began my love of chickens as a small boy when I went to visit both sets of grandparents. They taught me how to look after their birds and even took me to the state fair where I won my first blue ribbon for my little hens. I was taught how to care for the chickens and learned a lot about responsibility.
In my regular Adairville column I have written about some of my adventures with my chickens. They have brought much joy to me and to generations of my family. I had chickens of my own in Nashville starting when I was only 10 years old. I built my own pens, nest boxes for the eggs and roosting poles for night time. I sold both chicks and eggs to my neighbors. I even established my own Hopalong Cassidy bank account from the profits and quickly learned about saving.
Several years ago I became very interested in helping save some very interested in helping save some very old breeds that were near extinction in America. I am so glad to see that the Live Stock Conservatory is being successful in their efforts.
I have served three terms on the American Poultry Association’s Board of Directors. I have headed up the national membership committee and am currently the chairman of the national legislative team. I attend many poultry shows throughout America and only this past weekend attended a great show up the highway in Brownsville, Kentucky. Since the first President Bush there has been a national movement back towards back yard chickens in the country, small towns and the big cities. Today the “back yard chicken” movement has grown by leaps and bounds. Every year in states all over America local ordinances are being approved to allow people to again raise chickens. The schools are encouraging young students to get involved through their 4 H programs and other youth programs. County agriculture programs are including chick shows at county fairs. Local poultry clubs offer special competition for the Juniors with lots of ribbons, trophies, and other prizes. Both the American Poultry Association and the American Bantam Association offer great youth programs and competitions.
With the help of the News-Democrat&Leader I am beginning a new Tuesday column about raising chickens and the many interesting breeds available. I am starting with some of the very rare breeds that could use help in saving. Chicks are available from many mail order poultry houses. Many feed mills, Tractor Supply, the Co Op and other such organizations offer chicks or can order them at this time of year.
The Campine (pronounced Kam-Peen) is a very beautiful and extremely endangered Belgian breed. It comes in two varieties, golden and silver. it also comes in bantam and standard sizes. The roosters and hens are marked alike. They have flat red combs, red waddles, white head and neck and colored body. They make a very striking appearance. They descended from Turkish chickens. Campines were exported to England in about 1885 and came to America in 1893. They were accepted into the American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection in 1914.
Campines are elegant, perky and very beautiful birds. They are very economical eaters, tolerate confinement well, lay three to four white eggs per week and are very friendly towards humans. They generally are not setters and do not set on their eggs to hatch chicks.