The hen house was constructed under a large spreading gum tree, almost exactly shaped as the one shown here -
I was encouraged by my mother to enter some of my duck eggs in the Primary School section of the Whittlesea Show. To my surprise, I won first prize. On visiting the show, I was fascinated by the displays of live poultry and how they had been groomed for display. I was sufficiently encouraged to consider preparing some of my bantams for subsequent shows.
One of my hatchings of bantam eggs revealed a pure white rooster, which is unusual from Rhode Island bantams, which are multi coloured. As I was to discover, these appear to be very rare and are a throw-back to previous blood lines, possibly Japanese breeds. I thought to myself that this might just be a winning live entry in the show poultry sections, once he had matured. I should explain at this point that I was 10 years of age and was working with my father at weekends and received £1 ($2) for two, eight hour days.
My little ‘Snowy’ grew and had a beautiful red comb which was a bold contrast to his magnificent white feathers. My father had a friend who had been involved in poultry showing for many years, and told him of the white bantam rooster that I was grooming for showing. Through my father, this friend immediately offered me £1 ($2) for him. I rejected the offer at that point. A week later the offer increased to £2 ($4). At that point, I asked my father to tell his friend that I would consider the offer and let him know next week.
At this point in history, the fickle finger of fate intervened. One calm evening, there was an almighty crash in the backyard. We rushed outside to see what the horrendous noise was. Alas, a huge section of the gum tree had fallen onto the chook ‘homestead’, flattening it to the ground in a pile of dust, broken timber and scattered feathers. I was shattered to see the lifeless remains of ‘Snowy’ crushed flat under the wreckage.
Moral to the story: If the chicken is hatched, take what you can get for it!!!!