Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Australian Poultry Standards

Australian Poultry Standards: First Edition.  Hardcover book published 1998.

Published by the Victorian Poultry Fanciers Association Inc. in 1998, this compendium of Gallus gallus domesticus (Chickens) looks specifically at the standards required for the exhibition of poultry in Australia.  In other words, this book is about serious chicken fancying and isn’t just a quick guide to your average backyard chook.  We’ve got everything here from Silver Grey Dorkings to Gold Pencilled Hamburghs, Black Red Old English Game Bantams to White Faced Black Spanish and trust me when I write that it doesn’t end there… there’s even a small section of Ducks, Geese and Turkeys. 

The book includes “complete descriptions and judging points for all standardised breeds and varieties of domestic poultry in the Commonwealth of Australia”.  To me, a complete novice in regards to chicken that isn’t on a plate, the contents seem to be fairly comprehensive and when they write “all standardised breeds” I guess they mean “all”.  This is serious stuff.  What I would like to know is how much poultry is not here in the Commonwealth of Australia… of course this book doesn’t answer this question and I guess you need to check further a field if you really want to keep a breast of the current state of chickens in Australia. 

The book was written to enable Australian Standards to have a lesser dependence on British Standards.  In other words, the VPFA had plucked up enough courage to go it alone.  In 1998, the Aussie chicken had come of age.  

The VPFA seems to have been very concerned with the fact that this was the first edition (see image above).  I am unable to confirm whether there were any further editions as there doesn’t seem to be any other editions (or this edition) currently listed on my usual reference points on the www.  A slightly broader search and there are a few references but only to this one.  Obviously the compilers chickened out of a second edition… or maybe there was a wishful thought that this first edition would drum up enough interest for a second edition.  So this book and this edition is it… and it is possibly as rare as some of these chickens. 

A rare book is something to crow about.