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Sydney show officials crowing over Canberra chook coup

Australia's pinnacle poultry show, previously held in Canberra every four years, will be held in Sydney in June.

It means Canberra has lost a popular Queen's Birthday weekend event that four years ago drew 10,000 people, including poultry exhibitors from around Australia, 58 judges, including guest judges from Britain and New Zealand, and 5500 prize-winning chooks and ducks.

Sydney show officials are crowing. Royal Agricultural Society of NSW president Murray Wilton says it is the top event on the poultry calendar.

"This is also exciting for Sydney Royal as it means providing greater engagement in agriculture outside of the Easter Show," Mr Wilton said. "The show is also popular with the general public and attracts a solid crowd, including lots of families."

The last national show in Canberra attracted so many chooks, guinea fowl, turkeys, geese and bantams that another 1000 entries were knocked back.

RAS NSW poultry coordinator Kerry Pearce says Canberra were not prepared to take on the show for 2016.


"Rather than let the show go, Sydney has decided to take it up. That cuts a long story short," Mr Pearce said.

"They don't have enough pens to actually stage the show down there. That's the bottom line. They had to to borrow pens from Sydney, all of the Sydney poultry show pens had to be transferred through to Canberra," he said.

"Each time they were trucked down, damage was occurring to the pens. For the replacement cost of all of those pens, going between Sydney and Canberra every four years, our pens were starting to get really badly damaged. The committee weren't very happy about doing that every four years, so they [Canberra] could do that show."

A long time Canberra poultry show organiser, Bruce Patterson, said if new cages could be built he would help to build them. Materials would cost $300,000.

"I don't know if [Sydney] will be a huge success. There won't be accommodation near the event, like there is in Canberra. I will support the show, I would hate to see it fall over," Mr Patterson said.

Chief executive Garry Ashby said Canberra RAS did not have resources to hold up to 6000 birds over the long weekend. Even if it could afford the cost, it no longer had access to Sydney's show cages.

"With insurance, the cost was prohibitive, it was over $60,000. Those costs have to be passed on to the poultry exhibitors, it would have been exorbitant prices for them to do the entries," Mr Ashby said.

"We tried to chase sponsorship – in the end it was being able to access those cages as well and we weren't able to get that access at this time," Mr Ashby said.

Mr Ashby said problems arose from having damaged cages arrive in Canberra.

"They had to be fixed here, and when they were taken back, the same thing happened again. They are not a standard fitting cage, when they are flattened down they don't sit on a pallet, they go across a pallet, it is difficult logistically to move so many cages. You are talking something in the order of four b-double trucks."

Mr Ashby said more discussions would be held with Sydney in an attempt to return the show to Canberra in the future.

The show will be held from Thursday, June 9, to Sunday, June 12, and includes a big auction and sale, and a presentation evening on the Saturday .