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A New Dawn for Boston’s Poultry Industry?

By Tom Seest

What Now for Boston’s Poultry Industry?

At BackyardChickenNews, we help people who want to raise backyard chickens by collating information and news blended with our own personal experiences.

The Topsfield Fair in Massachusetts recently cancelled its popular poultry show due to an outbreak of avian influenza. If you are familiar with this show, you will know that it was founded by Robert Bennett, one of the first poultry breeders in the United States. But it is not only breeders and poultry judges who can attend. Anyone with the best specimens can show them off side by side and compare their poultry to each other.

What Now for Boston's Poultry Industry?

What Now for Boston’s Poultry Industry?

Despite the outbreak of avian influenza, the annual Topsfield Fair is still going ahead. The fair will still have livestock competitions, a giant pumpkin contest, and rides, but organizers have canceled the poultry exhibition. Other events will go on as planned, including the 4-H show, horse shows, Christmas tree show, fruit competition, and winemaking exhibit.
According to the fair’s website, 42 poultry barn owners had registered to display their flocks. The barn is expected to hold 130 to 140 birds, down from the 200 birds exhibited in previous years. The poultry barn is also where contestants vie for ribbons and trophies, including the cock-crowing competition. This year’s fair organizers have purchased ribbons and trophies for the competition.
The outbreak was first reported in a commercial poultry flock in New Castle County, Del., on Feb. 23 and prompted a state and federal response. The last confirmed case was reported on March 17. The virus is not yet present in Delaware or Maryland, but the number of wild bird detections indicates that poultry is at risk in both states.
The poultry show is one of the popular events at the fair, which is a popular attraction. However, the show’s cancellation has some negative consequences. Guests will no longer be allowed to touch or feed the birds. The fair will also be unable to hold its popular farmers market.
The Fair’s organizers are turning the poultry area into an educational exhibit. Since avian influenza has spread so rapidly, a poultry exhibit at the fair can quickly become a super-spreader event. Fairs from Ohio to Alaska have been forced to remove fowl from their programming.

Will Avian Influenza Stop the Popular Poultry Show at Topsfield Fair?

Will Avian Influenza Stop the Popular Poultry Show at Topsfield Fair?

How Did Bennett Spark the Poultry Show Revolution in the U.S.?

The show’s attendance was estimated at 10,000, with approximately 1,423 entries. Purebred birds, barnyard mixes, and regional fowl of all types were represented. Women were admitted free of charge. The show featured an impressive list of exhibitors, including U.S. Senator Daniel Webster of Marshfield and seven domesticated wild geese. In addition to hens, Bennett also showcased a pair of Java barnyard fowls.
This show began 24 years before the American Poultry Association was formed. John Bennett announced the exhibit in October 1849 and invited any fowl breeder with like varieties to take part. Until then, poultry had been exhibited at fairs along with other agricultural products, but this was the first poultry-only show in North America. It was so popular that it was extended to two days to accommodate the growing interest.
After graduating from the College of Agriculture at the University of Georgia, Bennett worked on a dairy farm before turning to poultry science. His change in focus helped the poultry industry. Eventually, his poultry show became the largest in the country. This success paved the way for other poultry shows.
The official report of the poultry show committee is included in “The Poultry Book”. The report is reminiscent of agricultural fairs in Massachusetts and devotes much attention to poultry culture. While the official report does not mention the names of each exhibitor, it does mention several names and poultry that were not included in the preceding account.

How Did Bennett Spark the Poultry Show Revolution in the U.S.?

How Did Bennett Spark the Poultry Show Revolution in the U.S.?

Will Avian Influenza Derail the Boston Poultry Expo?

A state order banning poultry shows has been lifted, but many local county fairs are restricting the type of poultry they’ll accept and require testing. A recent report by the Washington state veterinarian says the outbreak could spread to humans. The Palouse Empire Fair in Washington State has canceled all of its poultry exhibits. Instead, fair officials are considering an alternative poultry show.
This year, 42 people signed up to exhibit poultry. The poultry barn will hold about 130 to 140 birds, down from 200 in previous years. Exhibitors will compete for ribbons and trophies, and there will be a cock-crowing contest. However, the public will be unable to touch chicks or see their pens because of the outbreak.
The fair will still feature a popular hatchery, but visitors will no longer be able to touch the chicks as they hatch. Organizers are warning that avian influenza is spreading rapidly through poultry, but it poses only a very small risk to humans who handle infected birds. This has put many farmers on high alert and has dampened the attendance of fairs.
This outbreak is not the first outbreak of the disease in the U.S. The outbreak started in Washington and Idaho in late April. In Idaho, about 25 backyard flocks were affected. The latest detection was in Washington on July 26. The affected birds have all been euthanized. At this point, over 400 flocks in 38 states have been confirmed to have the disease. Of the 400 affected flocks, 189 are commercial flocks, and 211 are backyard flocks.
The poultry industry has been working with state officials to contain the disease. In areas where the outbreak has spread, the state has declared quarantine zones for poultry and prohibited the movement of birds from the zones. They also test the birds in the surrounding area. Commercial supermarkets are selling only inspected poultry. Those handling poultry are also encouraged to wear protective clothing.

Will Avian Influenza Derail the Boston Poultry Expo?

Will Avian Influenza Derail the Boston Poultry Expo?

Will Avian Influenza Ruin the Boston Poultry Expo?

The Topsfield Fair has announced that its poultry show has been canceled. The event, which takes place from Sept. 30 to Oct. 10, will still include a demolition derby, a giant pumpkin contest, rides, a performing dog exhibit, and a Christmas tree show. Fairgoers can also expect a fruit and wine competition.
The Topsfield Fair is not holding its poultry show this year, citing the bird flu threat. According to the fair’s website, it was once considered the largest poultry show in New England, with displays of chicks, hens, turkeys, and pigeons. However, after the Topsfield Fair confirmed the presence of bird flu, it canceled the show. Thankfully, bird flu does not affect humans, but it does pose a public health risk.
Some poultry fairs have changed the format of their displays to reduce the risk of spreading the disease. Some now only display poultry from a single farm, which reduces the risk of the virus spreading to other birds. While human infection from the disease is rare, health officials have been vigilant in culling sick birds.
According to the Topsfield Fair’s website, 42 exhibitors signed up for the poultry show. The show features a barn that holds around 130 to 140 birds, a number that has topped 200 in previous years. During the poultry show, chicken owners compete for ribbons and trophies, as well as cock-crowing contests. The fair has purchased ribbons for cock-crowing competitions, which can be a source of income for poultry owners.
Since the bird flu outbreak broke out in New England in February, there has been a steady decline in bird death rates in many areas. Some states have been hit harder than others, and there are currently cases in more than thirty species of birds. Even though the number of confirmed cases of bird flu is declining, farmers are still frightened.

Will Avian Influenza Ruin the Boston Poultry Expo?

Will Avian Influenza Ruin the Boston Poultry Expo?

Be sure to read our other related stories at BackyardChickenNews to learn more about raising chickens in your backyard.

 


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