Why do people raise poultry? Feather-Appreciation
One of the biggest things that make chickens and poultry in general alluring and truly addictive for people is the feathers! Feathers are one of those archetypal shapes and designs of human culture. Feathers and wings represent flying and hopes and dreams and aspiration. They are also so much fun – the shapes – the colors – the patterns – the movement.
Some people collect various breeds of chickens or graduate to pheasants and peafowl just to be able to lay eyes on the feathering each day. Birds are even sometimes chosen to match gardens. I planned a woodland garden where I planted Chinese native plants all around an enclosure for Chinese pheasants. I also know someone who raises White Cochins and Silkies to match her backyard of all white flowers. Feathers are molted or shed by the birds and can be easily gathered and saved and used in crafts and art and millinery. Children love to play with feathers – they inspire imagination.
Other people make businesses out of feathers – selling them to craftspeople, milliners, costume makers, and even fly-fisherman. I have had several people ask me to explore my yard in search of feathers as part of their fly-tying hobby. Taxidermy is another industry that addresses people’s appreciation of feathering.
This feather-appreciation can be taken another step further for poultry enthusiasts. Exhibiting Poultry is an exciting and competitive hobby for many poultry fanciers. Poultry Shows are very similar to Dog Shows. The American Poultry Association has established Standards of Perfection for each breed of poultry. People work to breed and raise prime examples of whatever breeds are their favorites and then gather at the various poultry shows across the country to proudly display their birds and maybe win some ribbons! Poultry Shows are great for validating breeding efforts. They are great for developing a sense of accomplishment and recognition.
For me, the challenge of choosing birds to raise for beauty is whether to choose all one breed and enjoy the elegance of the single color and pattern roaming through the pasture. Or to follow my desires to get a hold of all sorts of patterns and colors and have a big mixed flock and a thousand feathers! Some day I might give the elegant single-color path a try … but for now I’m going with the big rainbow of feathers!