Big prize haul for fine fowl
Cameron Taylor lost count of the number of prizes he won for his poultry at the weekend.
The 13-year-old Nelson College student collected a staggering 17 firsts and almost as many seconds and thirds, plus a fistful of ribbons and trophies for the almost 90 birds he entered at the show.
In fact, if it wasn't for him, the poultry section would have looked, well, paltry indeed, as he dominated the 160 entries.
It was his best haul in the three years he has been entering his birds at the Nelson and Marlborough shows.
Cameron's interest in poultry began when a friend of his grandfather brought some bantams to his Appleby farm.
"It was something to do at the weekends instead of sitting around watching TV or [playing] Xbox," he said. "I like how there are different colours and breeds."
He has about 150 birds and shows mainly bantams, including sebrights, rhode islands, barred rocks and suffolks, but also pekin ducks.
Also among his collection at his granddad's place are guinea fowl, peacocks and geese - "I didn't bring them to the show because they don't have classes for them" - and some layer hens for eggs.
Looking after them all takes time, although bantams are "nice and small" and less work than bigger birds. "It's quite hard work feeding them all and getting them all to the show."
Encouraged by his granddad and parents, he is keen to keep going and hopes to takes his birds to the show at Greymouth next year and eventually to the nationals "once I get all my grades in line with their standards". He has started breeding, and has a number of chicks just hatched.
While his friends think it is "quite funny for a 13-year-old guy to be breeding chooks", he enjoys it. "There are not many young kids doing it, but I'm helping keep the show going," Cameron said.
Doug Goodman of Wakefield won grand champion with a heavy breed australorp male.