Thursday, February 24, 2011

Caution: Show Chickens

Hanging out in Hollywood past two days had made me realize three things.
First, no one is here without a mission. It doesn't seem that anyone was actually born here. In fact I don't think they have a hospital. Just a series of Urgent cares. Second, everyone here hates everyone else here. Now this is an attitude I can get on board with. Its like prison in that regard. There are just more shankings on Sunset. Hollywood is a dirty town and everyone I ease drop on is talking crap about someone else. Being surrounded by people who are aspiring writers, actors, models and Subway sandwich artists can be very tiring... The third, and quite possibly the most important thing that I learned about LA, is that it is serious about its chickens. Extremely serious. In fact I have seen more then one "chicken cafe" since I have arrived. I'm not completely sure what that is, nor did I have the stomach to check, but just the idea of it really creeped me out. And I couldn't care less about animal rights! The above truck was in front of me the way to Hollywood. What is the appropriet response here? A semi has a sign that says "wide turns" and is accompanied by a diagram in case the verbal warning is to confusing. But "Caution, Show Chickens" is self explanitory? I feel like this sign is leaving out some very important details. I don't know the first thing about what it means to be cautious around show chickens. Its seems a little presumptuous to assume that those of us that don't currently interact with show chickens on a regular basis would even know where to begin. In order that no one else would ever have to feel my pain when encountering an 18 wheeler full of show chickens, I decided to do a bit of research. The following bullet points are curtosy of on the proper care of show chickens.

  • 1 Choose which birds to show according to class - sex, age and number of birds per entry.
    Simple enough
  • 2 Pick hens that have been laying regularly over the past few months if you want to enter a layer.
  • Definitely want to enter a layer. Check.
  • 3 Check that layers have a soft, pliable abdomen, breastbone and pubic bone at least three fingers' width apart from each other, and a pubic bone two to three fingers wide.
    Is it weird that according to this scale I could enter myself as a show chicken?
  • 4 Choose birds with lots of meat if you want to enter a meat bird; look at the length and width of the bird's breast and size of leg.

    I find this step particularly difficult to do without killing the bird.

  • 5 Vaccinate birds for fowl pox, and check with fair about the blood test for pullerum as you begin preparing for the show.

    Seriously? "Foul" Pox? Why is it foul pox for a chicken and chicken pox for a human? Shouldn't it just be pox? This is making me tired...
  • 6 Check birds for lice and mites. This should be done on a regular basis as you are raising the birds. Dust when lice or mites are present.

    Lice. Now you're speaking my language.

  • 7 Look at the feet for rough spots, and apply baby oil or petroleum jelly to improve skin.

    I would rather check the three finger width on the chickens colon again.

  • 8 Wash birds three days before the show with warm water and mild shampoo so that they can be dry and so that oils will be back in their feathers by show time.
    (Insider tip: Panteen Pro V and some bottled chicken oil can be a real life saver)
  • 9 Dry birds with a hair dryer to prevent them from getting too cold and possibly getting ill before the show.

    I prefer to use the broiler.

  • 10 Transport chickens to fair in a clean cage.
    Season to taste.

  • There you have it folks! All you need to know the next time you pass an 18 wheeler on the highway to California.

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