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Saulk Trail Show

For many years, I spent Memorial Day weekend at the Southern Ohio Poultry Breeders Show in Lucasville, Ohio. The last few years, I have attended the Saulk Trail Poultry Show on Memorial Day weekend in Hillsdale, MI once Southern Ohio quit having their show.

A well run show with great judges makes for a fantastic weekend. Kudos to the Gabbard’s and crew for their hard work and making an enjoyable weekend for the exhibitors. It’s always a thankless job but I appreciate all the hard work and sacrifices you make for this crazy hobby.

Kraig Shafer, Cam Cosart and I headed up on Friday and got there a bit early so we pitched in and helped do whatever was needed. We got the birds in and tended to and talked some and headed to the hotel for some dinner and rest.

Cam was blessed with Champion and Reserve SCCL in both shows on a White Plymouth Rock Hen as Champion and a Barred pullet as Reserve. He won Reserve Bantam in one show and was thrilled to clerk for Paul Monteith all day.

M&M was blessed with RB in both Shows on a White Cochin Bantam pullet, same bird this time and it was her first show. Congrats to Matt McCammon on BB and Best FL with some nice blacks and he won Best of one Show with a hen.

We were also blessed with Reserve Bantam in the White Card Show and Champion AOCCL on a White Chantecler. She was Reserve AOCCL in the other show. We have been working hard on these Chanteclers the last several years and it’s satisfying to see them come to the top!

Another pleasant surprise was Best Modern Bantam in the White Card Show on a Birchen pullet. We are back in Moderns once again thanks to Jeff Duguay from Louisiana. This bird was straight from Jeff and I like his style of Moderns!

Please consider spending your Memorial Day weekend next year in Hillsdale MI, you won’t be disappointed! Have a super Holiday weekend and we are resting up till the Big Ohio State Fair double show this summer! Keep Mike Sayre in your prayers on the passing of his Mother, Janet, last week. He and Terry had an anniversary this weekend as well so wish them the best!



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Blog time

Hope all are well and Mike and I are coming off the win and show of a Lifetime. We have done a lot of things the past 25 years of showing as M&M Exhibition Poultry. We were able to win show champions at both shows at the Moon City Show in Wapakoneta,OH on two different White Cochin Bantam pullets.

I was over selling feed and not paying attention . I was both honored and shocked. Many thanks to the great crew of Judges and to Leisha, Stephanie and crew for all their hard work and efficiently putting on a great double show.

Our protege, Cam Cosart, did well in the Junior show as he exhibited the best Barred Rock pullet I have ever handled. I am glad he wasn’t in the open show. He won Champion of Both Junior Shows which was a fantastic accomplishment for him.

I told Cam a few years ago, never expect anything at a poultry or pigeon show and you will never be disappointed. He has that attitude at every show win or lose and is a great kid crazy about the hobby.

We have had a week off and now it’s time to get the string ready for their last show of the spring, Saulk Trail in Hillsdale MI. Kraig Shafer, Cam and I are heading up on Friday and always enjoy this show. The Gabbard’s work very hard to put on a great show following in the old Lucasville traditions of Memorial Day. Mike and Terry Sayre have their anniversary that weekend and for quite a few years she left him off to go to Lucasville,this year he is taking her on a holiday in Kentucky.

Have a great week, Memorial Day weekend and we will be back next week with another report.

Matt Lhamon

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Defect Elimination

If there was one thing I took away from my 16 1/2 years with P&G, it was a process called Defect Elimination. You were required as part of your work plan to find and fix defects in the work processes and systems and you were measured accordingly to your success.

I applied it to my poultry hobby a few years ago and it has made it better. You must first identify the defect and analyze the reasons why the defect exists. You must get to the root cause of that defect in order to fix it. Sounds easy but getting the true root cause of a defect can be challenging. Once the root cause is identified, your solutions can be tested. It was a complicated process and we had digital tools to help solve them.

In the exhibition poultry hobby, I tried to simplify it some and I will use a poor hatching rate as an example. I was tired of getting a 50% hatch out of fertile eggs. That was my defect. Poor hatch rate. I was lucky enough to have my daughter to help me as she has a Master’s Degree in Hatchery Management from the University of Arkansas. We broke out some eggs that did not hatch and she was able to make a reasonable assumption as to why they did not hatch. I was always taught to watch the air cell to determine the status of the embryo but several eggs with the same size air cell did not hatch. The ones that did sometimes were sticky and many were spraddle legged.

The Defect; poor hatch rate, possible root cause; inconsistent temperature and humidity. Possible solution; better incubation control and procedures.

I tested out about every incubator made to find one that would give me constant temperature and humidity without having to tweak settings all the time. I was able to increase the hatch percentage and quality of chicks hatched but I did not totally eliminate the defect as we still had fluctuating temps and humidity and still had to tweak settings.

In my research about 4 years, I heard about a new incubator in Europe called Cimuka. There were rave reviews about the exact thing I was looking for, constant temperature and humidity! I followed the company for a couple years and two years ago I ordered one from the US distributor, Hatching Time. The rest is pretty much history, my hatch percentages are in the high 90’s, chick quality is excellent and they are pretty much set and forget unit. The air flow, temp and humidity control mimic a commercial incubator. I have recommended this incubator to many fanciers and I smile to see so many people having success with them.

So that defect was marked off as completed. There are still several defects I am working on but every fertile egg should hatch and the next one will be unexplained chick death. There is a root cause as to why a chick dies in the brooder, I don’t lose many but again I aim to drive that defect to zero! Determining the root cause will be tough but I enjoy the challenge.

In a future blog, I will explain what I did about Marek’s disease in my birds! Hope this helps some of our followers and friends think through the Defect Elimination process and help them get to zero defects!

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Why do we do this?

Hello everyone this is Mike as Matt posted in an earlier blog we were at the Dayton Fancy Feather Show this past weekend and had a great time although we didn’t have a great time with the placing of our birds and it got me thinking about what we do for a hobby.

I know that ultimately the idea is to win, but that being said that is just temporary but if you get to see old friends and we have a lot of those having done this for over 50 years, and making new one’s well that’s the value in our hobby. Folks when it comes down to it, they are just chickens, or ducks or geese or whatever but the people are the reason for going not the points or ribbons or trophy’s etc. It’s the relationships, the laughing, hand shaking, hugging, talking enjoying each other’s company….not what the opinion of one person passing judgement at a moment in time on a feathered animal.

We started showing poultry at a different time long ago, we went to the bull sessions where the “big time” breeders held court, enjoying various beverages and talking things over, we listened….then maybe next time asked a question or 2 and listened to the answer…in time we earned their respect. It was a great time to be alive and involved in the fancy, there were no points awarded just folks of a like mind from all walks of life with a common interest. This still exists if YOU want it to….this as everything in life is what you make it. Choose wisely, be as serious as you can getting them hatched,raised, conditioned etc. Put them in the cage knowing you have done all you can then let it go. Find some folks, have a meal, have a beverage, talk, laugh, cry whatever but make connections no matter what happens in the judging arena have fun. You will have prospered more than you can imagine. Keep smiling and if you see a couple of old guys from Ohio holding court and enjoying themselves come on up and join, that my friends is the truly wonderful part of out hobby.

More later, see you all somewhere down the line.


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In from the Dayton Fancy Feather Show

I had another great weekend at the Dayton Fancy Feather Show in Greenville Ohio. No big wins but it’s not always about that. Seen lots of old friends and made a few new ones! Sold lots of ADM Feed.

I believe my first time at Greenville was in 1973. It was the second show I attended and it was after the Ohio National in 1972. I thought all shows were like the Ohio National.

I was lucky enough to meet some of the legends of poultry that were involved with that show, Karl Pappert, Grant Malone. Jack Mundhenk and many others over the years. The show back in those days used to be the first weekend in June, a big graduation weekend. When I graduated from High School in 1977, I graduated on Friday night and showed Cochin and Wyandotte Bantams at Greenville on Saturday and Sunday. I have been to just about everyone since then. In the mid 1990’s, they moved the show to the 3rd weekend in April to get away from the graduation weekend and it’s been there ever since.

I plan to attend Moon City in two weeks and Saulk Trail on Memorial Day weekend. The I will Judge the Canfield Show the first part of June and that will be it till fair season.

Last batch of chickens going into the incubator tomorrow, may still set a few more call duck eggs but has been a real good year on most breeds.

Hope everyone has a good spring show season on hopefully a great summer and fall season!

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Feed additives and supplemental feeding

I have been asked and I have seen a lot of information put out about feed additives and supplements. No one has played with feed mixes and formulas more than I have the last 50 years so I learned a few hard lessons that will spare you some grief.

Whole grains- birds will sort whole grains and eat what they prefer and waste the rest unless they are starved into eating it all. Feed a complete basic nutritional formula and limit the supplemental whole grains as they throw your nutritional balance off when added to a complete feed diet.

High Protein Diets and Suppliments- I learned this the hard way with my Moderns and OE Game Bantams years ago. Poultry can only utilize a fixed amount of protein and amino acids in their diet. The science is there and more is definitely not better. There are legal limits on additives for a reason! The birds will pass out the excess as they can’t store it and it is detrimental to their internal organs especially their kidneys. Feeding an excessively high protein diet may get the bird in show condition quicker but the trade off is a shorter life span and production window. You also will be cleaning your pens more often!

Treats- Waking down the aisle at TSC, there are almost as many chicken treats now as there are dog and cat treats. Limit the use of treats to cage training, etc. Excessive treats will throw off their nutritional balance as well.

In summary, feed a good solid complete feed that is properly balanced according to solid science and not some Internet expert with zero credibility. I attached a tag of a ration we formulated with our feed company and it has worked well for us. It contains all the elements that exhibition birds need to stay in top shape and be productive and live a long life.

Until the next time, enjoy your Easter Sunday and we will see you at the spring shows.

Matt Lhamon

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Happy Easter

Doing my blog a little early this week since it’s the Easter Holiday weekend. Mike and I are headed to the White River Show in Spencer, Indiana on Saturday just to visit and pickup some birds.

I am going to share a secret with all our followers that our feed customers already know about. Last year, I sold all the chick starter I had in stock and I needed something for my own chicks to eat till I got over to the mill to reload. I grabbed a bag of ADM Pen Pals Meat Maker as I see it to my broiler customers as a fantastic start to finish feed for meat birds. I was amazed at how all my bantam chicks, call ducklings and turkey poults went after it. They loved it and wasted very little which is very unusual for babies. I started feeding it exclusively to the day olds and was pleased with the results I got in all species. I started telling my customers what a great starter grower feed this stuff was and soon everyone was using it. I will let them tell you how well they like but Mike and I love it and we will see many champions this fall that were fed this I am sure. If you have ADM feed available, I highly recommend it. We carry it as our only Starter Grower feed. It is non-medicated so if you have issues you will have to run Corid in the water for chickens. 6ml or .2 oz per gallon of water is the dosage I recommend and do not use on waterfowl. Have a great Easter weekend and hope to see some of you at White River!

Matt Lhamon

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Blog Time again!

It’s time for my weekly blog. I have been thinking about a good subject to write about this week and I remembered an old saying Bill Wulff used to joke with me about.

“No one should be allowed to complain about this hobby unless they have been a show secretary, breed club secretary or a judge!”.

I told him once I had been all three, I am a whole lot quieter! Some may debate that! All three are thankless jobs and subject one to constant ridicule. I was always amazed at those who never did the roles, but they always knew how to do it the right way.

All three roles are needed to make this hobby work and none of them are easy or well compensated. Those that do them, do these roles out of the desire to keep the hobby moving forward.

One of the first questions I ask when I hear some constructive feedback (nice words for complaints) about our hobby, is ask that person what their solution is to the problem and what have they done to help.

We tend to have extreme tunnel vision when it comes to our part in the hobby. We concern ourselves with just our birds, our breeds, and the clubs we belong to without analyzing the hobby as a whole.

My advice this week is to always look at the big picture and not so much just on your part of it. Don’t like how a show is run, try to run one! Don’t like what your breed club does, run for office and change it. Don’t like how your birds are judged, study and become one!

I had a boss many years ago that would not hear a complaint unless you offered 3 valid solutions to rectify what you were complaining about. Sounds simple but it’s a lot harder than you think.

The hobby is not perfect and constant change and improvements are needed. You can help change it or complain about it. The absolute worst thing you can do is be complacent and not care.

That’s it till next week, keep hatching those chicks and I am looking forward to getting out to a few spring shows!

Matt Lhamon

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Day late

A little behind on my blog posts but here it goes for this week. 16 1/2 years working for P&G, I learned one important thing, continuous improvement. Our job was to make the product and work processes better and we were tracked on what we did and when.

I applied this mentally to my poultry hobby a few years ago because when you are in continuous improvement mode, things get better and more efficient. That is why P&G products are #1 in the world in all markets they compete in, they don’t accept less.

I had been at this crazy hobby for about 50 years and pretty set in my ways. I soon realized there were better and more efficient ways of doing things and the “that’s the way I always did it” mentality was holding me back

Whether it was feed and feeding, housing, watering methods, supplements, incubation, pest control and general husbandry, there were better ways to do it than the way I always did it.

A lot of trial and error on my part but that was actually kinda fun. Mike Sayre can testify as I have tried nearly every feeding, watering and incubation device ever made and he usually gets the scrapped projects to use.

The main thing to take away from my ramblings is that there is always a better way to do things. Don’t get complacent and set in your ways. Use technology and new ideas to your advantage. Strive to make everything in the hobby better than it is today and you will enjoy it more. Complacency is the first step to obsolescence!