Each year, thousands of visitors to the Kent County Show pop in to the Poultry and Waterfowl Marquee and are wonderfully surprised by the amazing displays the Kent Poultry Club put on. This year the theme will be ‘The Garden of England’ featuring a mock Oast House and duck pond. The club are very active and will have plenty of members on hand to explain the top breeds for keeping fancy birds, to chatting about the best way to get a daily supply of fresh eggs. The marquee also has a lovely little area where visitors can pet a chick, hen or duck. The animals are specially selected to sit quietly and lap up the attention. During the Show there will be around 15 – 20 ducks on show as well as some beautiful examples of the best poultry breeds we have around Kent and the UK such as Sussex, Dorking and Orpington.
The Club also combines the Kent County Show visitor attraction with the more competitive Poultry and Egg Show, which attracts some of the best exhibitors in the Country. On Friday they will host the Member’s Egg Show, Saturday an Open Poultry and Egg Show and on Sunday the competition will be The Open Egg Show and The Poultry Club of Great Britain Regional Egg Show.
Following the judging and displays visitors have the chance to purchase hatching eggs throughout the Show, so for those interested in or already have poultry, this is a great opportunity to purchase eggs that are ready to hatch from some of the best breeders. The Breed Classes are broken down into; Large Fowl, Bantam, True Bantam, Rare Breeds and Waterfowl. This year the club will be raising money for Kent Air Ambulance, with the funds from the sale of hatching eggs and the from wonderful ‘Egg Auction’ held on Sunday going to help this worthy charity. The Sunday Auction is a chance for visitors to buy the eating eggs that have been judged in the competitions. The group also run a Tombola funds from the sale of the tickets goes to the Poultry Club to help pay for the exhibit each year.
The Show is a huge commitment for the club and each year they have a dedicated group of volunteers who give up time to come along and be on hand to chat to the public. Each year the group are over whelmed by the number of people who visit with a genuine interest in keeping poultry. The chicks always prove very popular, but it is the expertise that many find so helpful. Visitors ask “what breed is the best layer?” ” do I need to have a cockerel” “which is the friendliest bird to keep?” are just a few of the questions they get asked.
One of the most asked questions for amateur poultry keepers is how to manage red mite. These parasites are the poultry keepers biggest enemy during the summer months and if left unchecked will eventually kill the bird. The Kent Poultry Club members have expert advice and tips to help raise and keep healthy and happy birds.
The Kent Poultry Club often remark on the amount of work it takes to set-up the marquee, host the competitions and be available for the three days of the Kent County Show. However, it is the interaction with the public and helping visitors that already have birds, or best of all, encouraging people to start a small coop. Lorna Luckhurst, the current Kent Poultry Club Secretary, stated she is not alone when she says that this is her passion and she loves sharing her enthusiasm with everybody who pops in to the Marquee.
The Poultry Show Marquee can be found in the Agricultural area, so make sure you pop along, say hello, pet a chick and watch the Appleyard, Aylesbury, Campbell and Indian Runner ducks happily swimming on their very own Kentish Duckpond. Full details of the Kent Poultry Club can be found on their website. http://www.kentpoultryclub.org.uk/