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.”
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.