Last Wednesday I spent the afternoon with a roomful of poultry at the Royal Winter Fair where I was treated to an exhibition of fascinating chicken, turkey, and duck breeds.
There were so many beautiful breeds on display. It was truly eye-opening and great research for the day I am finally able to keep my first small flock (Backyard chickens are still illegal in Toronto.) I was jumpy clapping on the inside all day long.
Rhode Island Red is a classic that most people have heard of.
Plymouth Rock Barred is known as a good layer and is particularly suited to cold weather.
Buff Brahma Bantam is another good layer that is recommended for cold climates.
Antwerp Belgian Bantam
My friends and I all agreed that the most stunning and surprising breed of the event were the Silver Sebright bantams. Unfortunately, some quick research reveals that they lay very small eggs and are primarily kept for their beauty rather than egg productivity.
Both the males and females display gorgeously black-edged feathers.
While my friends fell head over heals in love with the silver type, I considered making a run for it with a Golden Sebright pullet underneath my arm.
My second favourite breed of the day were the Booted, Non-Bearded Mille Fleur. Isn’t their plumage unbelievable? Practically kaleidoscopic!
Speaking of feathers, there really were so many gorgeous and inspiring patterns on display.
Ancona This is one of the breeds that sometimes produces tinted eggs.
Old English (Pullet)
I also found myself zooming in on some out-of-this-world rooster ears and combs.
White Leghorn (Rooster)
And of course, no agricultural show is complete without BABIES!
Check out the books Extraordinary Chickens, Storey’s Illustrated Guide to Poultry Breeds, and The Fairest Fowl: Portraits of Championship Chickens for more on fascinating chicken breeds.