English breed able to get the job Dun

Headshot of Cally Dupe
Cally DupeCountryman
Ravensthorpe farmer Richard Norrish took out the champion bird of show award at the 2021 Wagin Woolorama.
Camera IconRavensthorpe farmer Richard Norrish took out the champion bird of show award at the 2021 Wagin Woolorama. Credit: Countryman

A Ravensthorpe cropper with a passion for poultry has won the bird of show ribbon at this year’s Wagin Woolorama with a Dun Old English Game poulet.

Richard Norrish said he was delighted to take out the award after exhibiting at Woolorama for the past 10 years as a way to catch up with friends.

It was his first win in the competition after starting out in poultry eight years ago.

He has about 200 chooks at home, with his favourites a selection of Old English, Malay and Australorp breeds.

He said the out-of-season show — with spring the preferred time for birds to be looking their best — worked out well with his cropping schedule.

Mr Norrish said the beautiful Dun Old English Game poulet was a gorgeous blue colour and he entered her because she was a “fairly good type”.

The Dun Old English Game is thought to be the first breed of chicken ever developed in Britain.

“We are less busy at this time of year, so it is a good out-of-season show for us to take part in,” Mr Norrish said.

“It doesn’t suit some people because the birds aren’t always looking their best, but younger birds can be ready and look good.”

Mr Norrish farms 30km north of Ravensthorpe with his wife, Marcia, cropping about 2000ha and running about 1500 mated Merino ewes and 1500 lambs.

Poultry steward Joe O’Brien said he was pleased with the turnout, with about 268 entrants entering birds and eggs from Perth to Ravensthorpe.

He said the organisers planned on changing the judging day from Friday to Saturday to make it easier for entrants.

Soft-feather large breeds including Australorp, Sussex and Wyandotte were showcased alongside game fowl, bantams, waterfowl, geese and turkeys.

Andrew Rile and Peter Growden assessed the birds, with $200 awarded for champion bird, $50 for reserve bird and $200 for the most successful exhibitor.

Kendenup’s Margaret Fraser, who has been showing chooks for the past 35 years, won the champion soft-feathered chook title, as well as the reserve bird of the show with her Australian Langshan bantam, “Miss Yellow”.

Margaret Fraser, of Kendenup, with her champion chook.
Camera IconMargaret Fraser, of Kendenup, with her champion chook.

“A friend of mine won some little pullets (a young hen under 12 months old) in the raffle here three or four years ago and gave them to me,” she said.

“I didn’t really want them to be honest but I’m certainly glad I did... I’ve done really well with them.”

“I’ve had a lot of breeds but I’ve only got two breeds at the moment — both bantams.”

Miss Yellow is no stranger to a sash, with the “very friendly” hen also taking out reserve champion bird at last year’s Wagin Woolorama.

“She is very friendly to the point of being too friendly,” Mrs Fraser laughed.

“You’ve got to watch her, as soon as you open the gate she’s out, jumps in the feed bucket when I’m feeding them.”

The poultry shed also hosted a childrens’ colouring competition for the first time this year, which Mr O’Brien said was a huge success.

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