My name is Martine Blackler, and I have been involved with show poultry in South Africa since 1995. My first show was in 1998 with SASPO the South African Show Poultry Organisation, which is the standardising body for show poultry in South Africa, and as far as I am concerned the ONLY organisation with the background and the knowledge to ensure the continuation of pure bred poultry in South Africa.
SASPO is 100 years old, that counts for something. I have risen through the ranks with SASPO and have specialised in soft feather large birds mainly, though I have shown ducks as well as a few bantams. However, as bantams are irritating little birds with a VERY loud crow for their size, I prefer my large breeds.
I have qualified to become a judge in some of my large breeds, and am currently writing a few more exams. SASPO takes these exams very seriously, and all judges are put through rigorous measures to become judges. We have to write a SHOW RULES exam first, then a theory exam on the breeds we want to judge and then a practical. Judges are selected only when they have accrued sufficient championship prizes in the breeds they have and have to have bred the birds for a successive three years before being accepted. Acceptance is at the discretion of the club chairman.
Exams are not easy and can be quite challenging since a 70% mark is needed to pass.
I have over the years done well with Sussex Light large, Rhode Island red large, silkies bearded white, Orpington, Black Australorps and Partridge Brahmas, accruing many awards along the way, including in 2009 the best bird on show with a silkie pullet. This means the pullet had to win her class first, then go on to win best soft feathered large on show and from there best bird on show over all.
This has not been done with a silkie in South Africa.
I have bred many large breed soft feather fowls over the years, among them Golden Laced Wyandottes, White Crested Black Polish bantams, Plymouth Rock barred and white, and even had some Silver Dorkings here which I was trying to resuscitate for a friend. They bred well and returned to their owner. I have also had a series of ducks, among them the call ducks, many colours, runners all colours, Black East Indians, Rouen Clairs and a series of ornamental ducks such as Mandarins and Carolinas. I had to give up my ducks when the genets in our area slaughtered most of them. I loved my ducks, as calls are such cheerful little things and so clever, they became pets.
I have published many articles on poultry breeding and have championed the cause of vaccinating our show birds, and biosecurity in our yards for many years, not always successfully as show people are notorious for NOT vaccinating, and it seems biosecurity for most of the show fraternity is not in the dictionary!
I have always had a passion for preserving what breeds we have so that others down the road may have the joy and pleasure I have in watching these grow and flourish as they once did. I am a purist at heart and do not favour the so called new breeds like the “Show Girl” silkies that have crept onto the show floor, being a silkie with a naked neck. These are abominations as far as I am concerned, and not what the original beautiful birds were meant to be. I will breed only those birds that are termed “real”, and not the bastardised or bantam versions of the breeds made by man. A “real” bantam such as a Pekin or a Barbu D’Anvers is a pleasure to behold. A bantam genetically engineered by man to be so, like the Sussex bantam, the Rhodes or the Australorp, are also not in my vocabulary! Many will disagree, and so they should, as variety is the spice of life, and it would be a boring world in which we all think the same! I love my traditional breeds and will do my utmost to promote them.
This site serves to help any one with a passion to learn and a passion to breed beautiful birds. If you are wanting to start pure bred poultry and have the passion for it this is for you. If you are wanting to make money out of it, please do not start show poultry!
All the pictures shown on my site are mine and are birds I have bred myself. I have only resorted to using pictures from other sites where medical conditions warranted a picture that I do not have. I have acknowledged all the sites involved on the page.
This blog is not meant to preach, it is not meant to show I know everything there is to know about poultry because no one is that clever as to know everything about any topic. It is simply there to share, and perhaps to help any one starting out and not knowing how to go about it. I have many people who phone me in a panic because they have no idea how to…..whatever. This site is an attempt to put together information which may help to fill that void. If I do not have the information, I will find someone who has!
I enjoy putting pen to paper or in this case computer, and if any one enjoys what I have written that is wonderful news. If not, the choice is yours to go elsewhere.
I feel it is important to preserve what we have learned along the way, because one day we are no longer here and there has been no record of what we have attempted, what we have so enjoyed, what we have achieved and most importantly our failures…so as others may learn not to fall into the same traps.
Pure bred poultry is a joy, as pure breeds in all animal is a joy, may it continue to be a joy to everyone involved, and not become a commercial trap where money is more important than the preservation of pure breeds.
This is my wish for every one who reads these words:
May you always recognise the great from the mediocre.
May you always select the former, and may you never become the latter.