Chooks and champions strut stuff
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Chooks and champions strut stuff

Trust leading chefs to take the edge off a national chook show.

The Royal Canberra National Poultry Show had been building momentum for several years for the event this past weekend coinciding with Canberra's centenary. But numbers were down because the date clashed with Royal Melbourne's annual show. And MasterChef Australia's TV production team has been filming in the poultry pavilion, which would normally be vacant on another date for the show in Victoria.

Canberra Queanbeyan Poultry Club president Peter Shands, who won the champion soft feather bird with a bantam bred by George Norman of Benalla, said the clash was unlikely to happen again. Three other events in NSW also competed for entries.

The Canberra show's feature breed this year, the pekin, is a true bantam known as the cochin in Europe and North America.

Les Keeley, who has been breeding pekins in Narrabundah for 30 years, won the pekin feature breed with a champion white pullet, and reserve champion with a black pullet.

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Margaret Day of Queanbeyan won the champion waterfowl with an Indian runner drake.

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Egg-laying ability and conformity to their breed were only half the battle for the contestants at the show. An ability to strut their stuff under pressure also counted for more than 650 chickens, ducks and turkeys.

It's a tough life on the show circuit, with some of the prizewinners changing hands at the end of the event, snapped up by breeders keen to join the winners' circle.