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A Fair-ly Different Post

October 17, 2007
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October in North Carolina usually brings cooler weather, winter sparrows and the North Carolina State Fair in Raleigh. The wife and I went there Sunday morning, the only time it’s not packed with people, to experience all that NC has to offer, including but not limited to: lots of livestock, a celebration of the tobacco industry, locally grown pickles, watermelons that weigh more than my wife, and most importantly, everything under the sun dumped in a deep fat fryer (it is the South after all). The hot new thing this year is deep-fried PB & J sandwiches, they looked less than appetizing. About the craziest thing we could stomach was a funnel cake, which was excellent by the way.

But I run the risk of going way off topic if I continue to expound on the wonders of the state fair. I’m going to try to bring this back to birds, particularly the poultry tent where chickens of strange and wonderful varieties battled in out in a attempt to be crowned King of the Coop. I personally kind of like chickens. They’re stupid to be sure, but if my wife would let me get some I would build a coop in our backyard in a second. Just think of the fresh eggs and free-range meat! Just think! I don’t think our neighbors would take too kindly to being awoken every morning by an overzealous rooster though, I know my wife hates it when the Catbirds call at our house already.

That’s enough about that, here are some of the seriously funky chickens on display. This first one is called a Silkie Fowl. Apparently it’s a very small bird but it’s feather all puffed out give it the appearance of one much larger. It also gives it the impression of a cotton ball.

This second is a Frizzled Fowl, for obvious reason. The variety is judged by the upward curve of their feathers. Looks something like a toy. This is a very strange chicken.

Next up is this Rose-comb Bantam. His cage was against the side of the tent so it was difficult to get a nice picture. The rooster is a really pretty bird with a silver ear patch, which is apparently standard for the variety. It was smaller than the ones above. These were only three of the myriad that were on display in the tent. There were many many varieties and I only only had time to look at a few.

This was one of the more interesting non-chickens. It appears to be a Silver Pheasant, native to Asia. I can’t imagine anyone breeding these around here but I guess they do. Incidentally, if you want to buy, I accidentally got the phone number in the shot. You could have your very own North Carolina bred Silver Pheasants. Think about it.

Amazingly I photographed these apparent wild-type Muscovy Ducks just outside the barn. They were enclosed sure, but it had an open top so I imagine they just stopped in. Amazing when one thinks how far these birds must have traveled from Mexico to land in a man-made pond outside the cattle barn at the North Carolina State Fair. I will certainly be contacting the NC Bird Record Committee shortly. With such a clear photo, how can they not accept right?

Human-induced evolution at work in the chicken barn. Well worth checking out if anyone likes weird bird varieties, and after walking through I suddenly got a craving for some of that fried food. Now if I could only figure out which part the fingers come from…

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2 Comments
  1. coturnix permalink
    October 18, 2007 8:16 pm

    Hey, I did not know you were local! Are you interested in the local (science/nature) blogging community?

    http://wiki.blogtogether.org/blogtogether/show/Science+bloggers

  2. October 18, 2007 10:15 pm

    Sure, I updated the wiki with my info.

    Thanks for making me aware!

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