This past Memorial Day weekend, Spot crew members Vonnie Harris and Nikki Jardin headed out to Gladstone, Oregon to Poultry Palooza, an event that brought chickens, roosters and even a few pigeons together for an afternoon of contests, camaraderie and good old fashioned fun.
Sponsored by the Happy Rock Hoppers, a group dedicated to bringing seniors and youth together in the pursuit of training rabbits to perform agility trials, Poultry Palooza was an extension of kids’ involvement in learning about and training animals outside of the dog and cat realm.
Happy Rock Hoppers Director Tami Ingram said bringing the chicken and rabbit clubs together was a natural partnership. “As a rabbit agility club we’re trying to help out our poultry club, who we share a barn with. We want them to get excited about doing chicken agility so they can interact with their chickens like we interact with our rabbits.”
The event also doubled as a fundraiser to help the 4-H poultry clubs raise money for their participation in the State Fair later this summer. Festivities were held at Somerset Assisted Living, a senior retirement center, the same facility the Rock Hoppers use for their weekly meetings and practices.
Events of the day included a Rooster Crowing Contest, Chicken Races and a demonstration of Parlor Rollers, a breed of pigeon that can’t fly, but instead completes backward somersaults for several yards. The festival also featured a lesson on training chickens for agility trials.
Maria, one of the youth participants, cradled her chicken, Starfire, following a demonstration of how to clicker train a chicken to maneuver on the teeter-totter apparatus. Her demonstration was all the more impressive since she had just started training the day before. “At first we weren’t sure how well she would do because she isn’t the tamest bird, but she did pretty good.”
Over at the Chicken Races, dubbed “Nascluk Races,” by organizer Beverly Davis, a quick heat saw one chicken besting another easily. Davis says these races were just one more way to encourage participation. “It’s all tongue-in-cheek and the kids enjoy it." Similar races were held recently at a show in Stevenson, Washington where a big Plymouth Rock chicken went up against a Fawn and White Runner Duck. “The runner duck had already run three heats and was starting to get tired,” Davis says, “He lost by a bill.”
You can learn more about the Happyrock Hoppers and get information about poultry clubs by going to HappyrockHoppers.org.
Watch a fast and furious chicken race!