Mitch Croudis with his game bantam Lara who he hopes will take the top spot at the upcoming Marlborough Poultry, Pigeon and Cage Bird Association's 132nd annual show. Photo: Matt Brown.

Poultry stars as show beckons

On a family farm, the hemming and clucking from 65 small game bantam chickens fill the air.

The tiny chooks aren’t bred for their eggs, they’re just a bonus, these are competition chickens.

Close to 150 game bantams from Marlborough and further afield will be judged on their type and condition at the upcoming Marlborough Poultry, Pigeon and Cage Bird Association’s 132nd annual show.

And poultry enthusiast Mitch Croudis from Rapaura reckons his premier pullet will be the pick of the brood.

Named Lara, the ten-month-old black’s fanning tail and even comb put her in good stead for taking out the top spot.

“She’s got a couple of firsts at the other shows, so I hope to do quite well with her again,” Mitch says.

“She got first up north, in New Plymouth, first in her class.

“She missed out on best black of the show, but it was close.”

Mitch Croudis with his show-stopping game bantam Lara. Photo: Matt Brown.
Mitch Croudis with his show-stopping game bantam Lara. Photo: Matt Brown.

The cut-throat competition examines every facet of the small chooks’ breeding and looks.

Their eye colour, the evenness of their combs, how they act in their cage and how their tail fans out are all checkboxes on the scoring card.

Marlborough Poultry, Pigeon and Cage Bird Association member Helen Croudis says type and condition is the top thing with game bantams.

“We’ve got just under 400 birds all up entered,” she says.

Numbers are down slightly from last year due to a pigeon rotavirus disease excluding the racing birds from the show.

Helen says it’s been a busy month for poultry and bird enthusiasts who take part in the show.

Showing birds is a winter hobby, with the competitions taking place from May to July every year.

“There’s been a show every week since the start of June in the South Island,” Helen says.

Mitch has been competing for thirteen years, and the Marlborough show is his third this season.

“Dad took me to a poultry show when I was younger and I was hooked,” he says.

“It’s my hobby, it’s something to do during the winter.”

Don’t miss the Marlborough Poultry, Pigeon and Cage Bird Association’s 132nd annual show.

Friday 12 July, from 1.30 – 5.30 pm and Saturday 13 July, from 9 am – 2.30 pm.

$5 entry for families, or $2 per adult.

This two-year old Taimate Angus bull sold to Turihaua Angus Stud in Gisborne for an eye-watering price. Photo: Supplied.

Record-breaking bull sale nets Ward farmer massive payday

A Marlborough farmer has smashed records selling a bull for a jaw-dropping $85,000.

Taimate Angus stud farmer Paul Hickman sold a two-year-old bull to Turihaua Angus Stud, in Gisborne, for the sum, eclipsing his previous record of $20,000.

It is believed to be the highest for a bull in the South Island.

“It is an extraordinary price,” Paul says.

Previously, the top price Paul had received for one of his Angus bulls was $20,000.

The Aberdeen Angus, simply known as Angus, is a Scottish breed of small beef cattle.

The name comes from cattle native to Aberdeenshire and Angus in north-eastern Scotland.

The Ward farmer has been breeding bulls on the family farm his whole life.

Sired by Taimate Lazarus, a bull kept as a breeding stud, the as yet unnamed bull will be shipped to its new owner in Gisborne.

“He is just an all-round exceptionally good bull,” Paul says.

“To look at, his performance, the way he walks, the way he moves. Everything.”

Paul says he sold another bull, by Lazarus, for $40,000 and another for $23,000.

Paul says the highest amount paid for a New Zealand Angus bull was around $150,000 in the mid-90’s.

Breaking another South Island record, Taimate Angus received an average price of $14,000 for their 65 livestock up for sale, selling 65 out of 65 bulls.

“She’s a good day and a rather long night celebrating,” Paul says.

He says next year, there will be more sons of Taimate Lazarus for sale, but he wasn’t expecting to surpass this year’s prices.

“That would be a hell of a long shot,” he says. “But never say never.

“I’m very, very pleased.”