The American Poultry Association, The Authority on Breed Standards . . .
Every backyard or rural chicken keeper can benefit by learning about the breeds of chickens and other poultry. Every industry needs to set and maintain standards and anyone who raises chickens could be considered a participant in the chicken industry.
At least as a responsible consumer.
If you live elsewhere in the world, there is a standard for you to learn from, too:
|The American Poultry Association Standard of Perfection, British, Australian chicken breed Standards|
It is my understanding that quite a few shows in Europe go by the British Standard in their poultry exhibits. Australia has their own, and I'm not aware of any other countries that have a standards book. Victoria Roberts is the editor of the British Standard. She's very knowledgeable. I have a CD of hers and a book she wrote that I really enjoy, too.
The American Standard lists breed according to Class, then variety. The British standard classifies breeds according to feather type.
The American Poultry Association was formed in 1873 with the goal:
"to stabilize our economic and commercial breeds to uniform size, shape and color, with good production and practicality; with provision that ornamental breeds, including the Bantam, be attractive, productive and meet requirements of the Standard breeder."
~American Standard of Perfection, 1993 edition
New editions of the American Standard are published periodically as new breeds are admitted. Whether or not you've ever exhibited your poultry - or ever plan to do so - having a copy of the Standard is a huge advantage.
In it, you learn the following requirements for each breed, male and female:
- Proper comb type
- Number of toes
- Beak type and color
- Earlobe color
- Leg color
- Eye color
- Beards, muffs or tufts, if applicable
- . . .and much, much more
Including, Disqualifications and Defects.
If you're only interested in having fresh eggs, rather than learning all that the Standard contains, but would like to get more enjoyment from attending a chicken show, you might like the "chicken Show appreciation chapter I included in The Art of Taming a Chicken . . . How to Tame Your Backyard Flock.
It's in paperback on Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc.