Monday, August 27, 2012

Uniontown Poultry Association Fall Show

October 20-21, 2012 Uniontown Poultry Association Fall *DOUBLE* Show
First show on Saturday and the second show is on Sunday. You can show for just one show or for both. 
More details to follow. Contact Steve Stanish (Show Superintedent) Phone: 724-366-2131 or by email sks.thro.mor@verizon .net
You are also welcome to visit Uniontown Poultry on the web or like them at Facebook

Krista Martins Mottled Java
Our District 2 director Liesa Stiller, Krista Martin, and Ed Stanish were recently interviewed by their local paper about the joys of keeping backyard chickens and I am posting their interview which was published in the Herald Standard newspaper. 

Ed Stanish took a short walk from his South Union Township house to the chicken pens on his 43-acre farm.

“These are some White Rocks. They are young ones, about four months old,'' he said, coming upon a group of white-feathered chickens enjoying the summer day as they walk around their pen.

Stanish's wife, Debbie, soon appeared pushing a buggy with their granddaughter, Lily, who likes visiting the chickens. Altogether, the Stanishes have about 125 birds, including chickens and guinea fowl, in eight to 10 different pens.
“You keep different breeds together and different ages together so they won't fight and they don't cross,'' said Ed Stanish, who is retired from the Fayette County Food Bank and has raised chickens all his life, including the 38 years he's lived on this farm.
“I've had chickens since I was a little kid. I'm fascinated with them,'' said Ed Stanish, whose breeds include Ameraucanas, which lay green and blue eggs.
The Stanishes are also breeders, using an incubator to hatch eggs every March. Debbie Stanish, a fourth-grade teacher at Hatfield Elementary School in the Laurel Highlands School District, takes eggs and an incubator into the classroom every year to teach her students. They love it.
Ed Stanish said, “A lot of teachers are doing embryo projects. I get eggs out all over the county.''
He also shows chickens and is a member of the board of directors for the Fayette County Agricultural Improvement Association Inc., which operates the Fayette County Fair, and co-chairs the fair's poultry department with his brother Steve Stanish, of Lemont Furnace, who also raises and shows chickens.
While the number of animals in the fair's poultry barn has gone down in recent years, the number of exhibitors is going up. That's because big exhibitors who used to bring a couple of hundred birds to the fair are now being replaced by smaller exhibitors who bring two to three or 10 to 12 animals.
The trend also indicates a growing interest by people in raising chickens. They do it for a variety of reasons.
“I think with all the different bacteria they are finding in things that people feel more comfortable with their own fresh eggs and poultry,'' said Ed Stanish. “They know what they're eating.''
Steve Stanish agreed, saying, "I think people like the freshness of the flavor and knowing what they raised has no chemicals.''
The flavor of a fresh egg is a definite appeal.
“It's a different texture, different flavor,'' said Krista Martin, of West Pike Run Township. “The eggs tend to be firmer and the yolks stand up a little more off the white. When you whip them, they're fluffier. The color of the yolk is more of a deep yellow. And their flavor is almost buttery.''
Martin, who is a lawyer, is among people who keep what are being called Backyard Chickens. She keeps 10 chickens and a turkey on about a third of an acre of land. Her chickens include Delaware, Silkie, Transylvanian Naked Necks, Light Sussex, Welsummer, Mottled Java, Buff-laced Polish, Ameraucanas and a huge mutt hen.
“To me, there's a great self-satisfying thing about having chickens,'' said Martin. “I'd like to see more people have chickens. Keeping a couple of hens is the same quality as keeping a garden. Instead of providing vegetables, they are providing protein.''
When Martin and her sisters were young, their family lived on a farm in the Poconos where one of her first responsibilities was feeding the chickens. Her sister Liesa Stiller taught her to feed the chickens and gather eggs. The girls also enjoyed playing with the chickens, who seemed to take their games in stride. The family later moved to suburban Morgantown, leaving farm life behind.
But after their mother's death in 2004, both Martin and Stiller decided they wanted to raise chickens again. Martin does it with a small flock while Stiller, who lives on four acres near Carmichaels, became a breeder and has about 100 birds, including chickens, ducks and geese.
“They're beautiful. They really are and they bring me back to when I was a kid,'' said Stiller, who works as a safety manager and industrial hygienist.
Interest in raising chickens can be found throughout the Internet.
Phil Clauer, senior instructor and poultry extension specialist in the Department of Animal Sciences in the College of Agricultural Sciences at Penn State University in State College, said that raising chickens is a trend that comes and goes but noted, "When the economy goes down, a lot of people go back to raising their own food.''
Clauer said the trend peaked about four years ago and that some people have given up raising their chickens. He said factors, such as the cost of chicken feed, can have an impact.
"As a general rule, interest does wax and wane but I think in our tri-state area, interest is growing,'' Martin responded.
Like the Stanishes, Martin and Stiller are members of the Uniontown Poultry Association, which shares information with people who are interested in raising and showing chickens, other poultry and rabbits. Stiller is also webmaster for the association's website and Martin is administrator for the group's Facebook page, which offers a random poultry fact of the day.
In addition, Martin and Stiller have put together a workshop called Backyard Chickens Basics that is offered as part of Uniontown Poultry Association's Poultry in Motion events. A flyer available in the Poultry Building during the Fayette County Fair explained the workshop covers chicken breeds and housing, feeding, health and eggs. The workshop also enables the public to see and pet real chickens.
“People are transformed when they see a chicken up close and holding them – it's magical,'' Martin said.
The sisters have been presenting the two-hour program through entities that include the Carnegie Library system in Pittsburgh and libraries closer to the poultry association's home base in Fayette County. They would like to do more presentations to interested groups and organizations.
“In Pittsburgh, you can keep chickens. The city doesn't care, if nobody complains,'' said Martin, who noted that Pittsburgh recently held a Chicks in the Hood Urban Chicken Coop Tour to showcase people who raise chickens within the city limits.
Martin pointed out that people who are interested in raising chickens should check their local ordinances to see if they are permitted.
Steve Stanish said, "It would be nice if townships realize that hobbies like this are not detrimental but helpful for youths.''
“My backyard coop is 4 by 8 by 6. It's still pretty big for all my birds,'' said Martin,who noted the chickens also need an enclosed pen about twice this size to run in.
How many eggs do hens lay?
Martin said, “A chicken that starts laying will lay an egg every 26 hours. As she gets older, it will stretch out to every 32 hours, 36, 40, 50, several days. Most production is in the first two years but good producers will go three or four years. And some breeds lay better than others.''
As for breeds, she noted that Leghorns are one of the best laying breeds but she said they can be flighty. She recommends Delawares for people who are raising a few chickens in their backyards, saying, “They grow really fast and they're good to eat and for laying eggs.''
Stiller agrees but said she also raises Javas and is District 2 director for the Java Breeders of America.
The number-one question people ask at the workshops is do they need a rooster for their hens to lay eggs? The answer is no.
Liesa Stiller's Java 

The sisters also tell people what chickens will eat: anything.
“They like to eat whatever's in the fridge. They are little garbage disposals,'' said Martin, who said chickens eat vegetables, meat and feed.
Stiller said, “A chicken is an omnivore. They'll eat anything but they should eat a healthy diet.''
Stiller also noted that people who want to raise chickens should talk to their neighbors and address their concerns.
“We want responsible chicken owners,'' she said.
The Stanishes, Martin and Stiller enjoy raising chickens and believe others will, too.
“It's a nice hobby,'' said Ed Stanish. “If you're older, you can go outside everyday, look at your chickens – feed and water them. It gives you something to look forward to.''
Martin likens keeping chickens to keeping a garden.
“Instead of providing vegetables, they are providing protein. Plus it helps the garden because there is manure from the chickens,'' she said.
Martin added, “I would like to see having a couple of backyard hens have the same legitimacy as having a garden but we're a long way.''
Stiller said, “I think it's good for people to garden, to have chickens. I think it makes us more human to take care of things that feed you. You have more respect for it.''
Anyone who would like to contact Martin and Stiller about giving a presentation can send an email In addition, the Uniontown Poultry Association offers a Buy, Sell and Trade event the third Sunday from March through November at the Fayette County Fairgrounds, except during the fair. The next event will be held Sept. 16. More information is available on the website at

1 comment:

  1. Actually an occupational hygienist said that to be able to keep the cleanliness around the village you are in better to know how to dispose the trash and waste of the pets. Cause sooner or maybe later the effect will ripple back to us people. So it's really important to keep our environment clean to make it suitable for us.