LAUREL COUNTY, Ky. —
The local Backyard Birds 4-H Poultry Club hosted its Poultry and Small Animal Swap Meet at the London Tractor Supply on Friday - an event the club hosted in April and aspires to hold again within the next few months.
The event is a fundraiser for the 4-H club. Sales made from snacks and drinks sold at the event go toward the club, while participants are encouraged to buy, sell, trade or simply display their animals.
Club president Jayne Hall was pleased with the success of the event and the dedication of its workers, saying that “all the kids pitch in.”
Hall said that the kids are a big help to the event, as are the parents who have in the past prepared such dishes as the 'Turducken,' which is a chicken which is stuffed into a duck, which itself is stuffed into a turkey.
“All the parents help on the food,” said Jayne Hall.
Animals at the trade included chickens, goats, rabbits, turkeys, ducks and others.
Many of the participants in the animal trade off have been working with their desired animals for years. An example is Tony Fields, who has raised the increasingly rare Sumatra chicken for 5 years alongside his wife Donna.
“Not that many people are breeding them,” said Tony Fields.
The Sumatra chicken originally comes from the island of the same name in west Indonesia. They started being imported into the U.S. and Europe in 1847 as cockfighting birds, but are now used primarily for exhibition due to “their color and the length of their feathers,” according to Tony Fields.
“They're able to fly up to five miles without lying down,” said Fields, who has spent years working with these birds which he claims are the “oldest chicken in the world.”
Fields said that while the birds are beautiful, they have been put on the conservation list as “critical” because there are so few people breeding them. Fields sees this as a shame since the bird's beauty has “won more ribbons than any other breed of chicken.”
The club invites all interested citizens to participate in the swap free of registration charge.
“Anybody can show up and do it,” said Terri Hall, who also said that it's not only London or Laurel County residents who are invited to come and enjoy all the animal fun. “We invite people from all surrounding counties. We have a lot of fun.”