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Raise what you like!

I see all these posts for and against new breeds and varieties and recommending folks work on the existing breeds and varieties, I am reminded of what my old friend George Shreffler used to say. “Raise what you like and show them deep so they have to get the Standard out and Judge them.”

He also said, “You have to feed and care for them, raise what you like.” George never was short on advice and he never judged a serious breeder who wanted to work on an odd variety or bring back a rare one. He may shake his head at some of the newer breeds but always said, “you are the one feeding them!”

When Mike and I were kids, we would concoct sone crazy breeding projects. We had a great go to guy to find those special birds to make the crosses and that was Harry Halbach. If Harry could not find it, it wasn’t out there. He never judged or told us how crazy the project was, he had advice and suggestions.

So my learnings from all of this is to be less judgmental about new breeds and varieties and try to encourage folks to put in the serious work. Sure some will be fly- by -nighters but I look back at the last two breeds admitted, KO Shamo and Seramas and the relentless perseverance those folks put into their birds to get them into our Standards. We have only failed when we fail to try! Encourage don’t discourage, takes all kinds of birds to make a great poultry show!

Matt Lhamon

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Bring on Spring!

Come on Springtime!

As January is drawing to a close, things are busy in M&M land. Mike is pushing over 250 chicks and just now mating up Big Black Cochins. He feels he has some of the best birds he has ever bred from in this years matings. That’s saying something as this line all started 10 years ago with a pair of young Blacks I bought him as a gift from Dustin Wilson at the Wisconsin International. It was a sneaky way to get him back going again in LF Cochins. I created a monster and these birds are reminiscent of the blacks that roamed our mentor, the late, great Ed Miller’s farm in My. Vernon, Ohio back in the 1970’s. I am sure even grumpy old Ed is smiling down on us.

I have several White Chantecler bantams hatched out and just now getting Cochin bantam eggs in the incubator. Several projects starting, one is the recreation of Silver Pencilled Cochin Bantam line derived from our Partridge and White crosses. We have an exceptional Silver Pencilled male that Mike got last year and he is on pure Partridge hens. We also have two Silver Pencilled females on a pure Partridge cock. Fertile eggs are in the incubator and look forward to the hatches. The next is the result of a gift from a friend, Rhonda Smith, of a trio of White Sultans that are 1/2 LF and 1/2 Bantams. I had zero luck obtaining any Sultan Bantam stock as most breeders have issues with productivity, hatchability, and fertility. Time will tell, but crossing to another breed to bring down size and improve type and all three things mentioned above. Working with advice from Emily Shoop and Keith Wagoner to make it happen. The last one is Buff Chantecler bantams, got a hen crossed to Whites and waiting on the young pure Buffs to lay.

Mike, Ron Patterson, Emily Shoop And I are headed to Ft. Payne, Alabama next weekend to the show. We are taking a van load. Emily is in the ABA Judges Apprenticeship Program and Ron is in the APA Judges Apprenticeship Program so they get to do some learning from the fine lineup of judges schedule to work.

That’s about it for now, we will have a report from the show on here as well as the M&M Facebook page. Ron is coming off his historical Champion LF and Reserve Champion LF, Reserve of Show win in Lake City, Florida and we had Best FL in one show and Reserve on another so excitement and anticipation is high!

Matt Lhamon

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Permission, rather than forgiveness when it comes to municipal ordinances

Emily Shoop – Extension Educator 9-5, farm wife the other 16 hours, aka Matt’s daughter

Here I am, 19 days into 2021, already dealing with 4 separate calls from clients about local municipal ordinances in PA that prohibit the keeping of poultry. This prompts me to write today concerning that issue. After lots of tears and one client being fined almost $1500… It’s time for some common sense education on this topic.

In Pennsylvania, and in many states across the US, local municipalities (townships, boroughs, cities, counties, and HOAs) restrict the keeping of poultry and other livestock. Some of these ordinances came about because of a nuisance issue, some came from long-standing prohibitions, and some are currently under review for their antiquated language and lack of scientific basis.

Lack of access to science-based information on small and backyard flocks for local councils and government is another issue we can tackle on another day… I’m writing today to remind folks who are considering starting to raise poultry or any other livestock to ASK FOR PERMISSION, first.

If you read any number of our “planning to raise poultry” articles on the Penn State Extension website, you’ll find “check with your local municipality’s ordinances to confirm that you can or cannot raise poultry within the municipal limits,” at the beginning of every article.

With the uncertainty of a prolonged quarantine due to COVID-19, poultry hatcheries across the US saw an incredible increase in sales in 2020. Folks were home, maybe scared about a perceived meat/egg shortage, and able to devote time and energy to a flock of birds. HOWEVER, there are also plenty of folks who did not do their homework, due diligence, and are now being fined for their chicken coop from their township, HOA, or otherwise.

Bottom line, like any other hobby you might invest significant money and time into: do your research. And the first Google search should be your most local municipality’s ordinances (don’t forget your HOA, if you have one.) Some prohibit numbers, species, and sex of the birds. Some prohibit poultry based on acreage. If you have questions, call your township, borough, or city’s planner. These folks are the most well-versed in the letter of the law. They can answer the most questions about the ordinances themselves. The second would be a review of your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance policies to ensure you’ll be insured if something were to happen to your home or coop. Some policies consider poultry farm animals, some do not. Read the fine print here. The last thing you need is to be left uninsured in a disaster because of your chicken coop. Third, if your municipality and your insurance say “no,” DON’T BUY BIRDS! I can assure you no poultry coop is worth a $1500 fine, loss of insurance coverage, or meetings with zoning officials.

In cases where the municipal council or board may seem willing to revisit their ordinances, continue your research! Take an online course, attend meetings online or at your local feed store. Gather the information you need to present a well-researched argument as to why keeping poultry should be allowed. Make sure your own coops (if they are permitted) are neat, tidy, and have some curb appeal. if you decide to let your poultry roam, keep them contained and out of your neighbors yards. Free-range birds do not observe property lines and make tasty snacks for predators. More and more ordinance disputes start with an unkempt coop and angry neighbors.

Be smart about this stuff, folks. Start off on the right foot with your local government. It makes for a more pleasant experience owning and keeping your birds for years to come

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Matt’s 2021 Projects

My main focus for the last several years has been White and Partridge Cochin Bantams and I will still hatch a limited amount of those later in the spring.
My projects for this year are quite varied. I have added some exceptional White Chantecler Bantams from Anthony Ashley and have several hatched out already. Very neat and unique breed, easy to work with and very hardy. I just added Buff Chantecler Bantams from Tom Carey and look forward to working on and improving this rare and beautiful variety of Chantecler. I already have a Buff hen crossed to my best White Cockerel.
Mike and I trade projects back and forth. When one gets tired or bored, the other takes over. He brought me some exceptional Silver Sebrights from several different sources. It has been years since we raised Sebrights and the frustration and struggles hatching and raising them are still there. I do have one chick out early and now they moulted and quit laying. I plan to hatch a few and see what I can do as they are beautiful birds.
We have been working on Buff Cochin Bantam crosses and Mike produced what we call Skittles. Mixed up color patterns with fantastic type as they came from crosses with our black and white lines. Some of these Silver based Skittles were saved for a recreation of Silver Pencilled Cochin Bantams. I have two breeding pens setup, Skittle male with great type over pure Partridge Cochin Bantam hens and a pure Partridge male over two Skittle hens. I would like about 50 chicks to sort the best Silver Pencilled looking chicks out.
Last project was somewhat of an accident. Our friend and traveling partner, Jonathon Patterson, wanted to disperse his Light Brahma bantam flock. Mike happened to be at his place and Jonathan offered him some. Mike picked out a dandy pair and brought them home. The male got a little agressive so he wanted to get rid of them and I agreeded to take them. Been many years since I have had bantam Light Brahmas but these are two of the best examples of the breed I have seen in quite awhile. The pullet is the best colored Light Female I have ever handled and the male looks like he walked out of the Large Fowl Schilling painting. For chuckles I showed them at the Florida Sunshine Classic in Lake City a week ago. Pullet was 1st pullet in both shows in a very stiff class. Cockerel was 2nd in one show and BB, Reserve Featherleg in the second show under Master Brahma breeder and Judge Brian Knox. I have fertility and eggs in the incubator from this exceptional mating. I will see what happens. That’s our status and projects for 2021 in bantams, still breeding Frillbacks, West of England Tumblers, Chinese Owls and German Beauty Homer Exhibition Pigeons just for the fun of it. I win at a few shows with them. Have a great 2021 and hope to see you at the shows!
Matt Lhamon

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The start of it all…..

Mike Sayre and Matt Lhamon first met in the early 1970’s when a mutual friend, F. Clay Dove introduced us at a visit to Mike’s house in Holland, OH to check out his Cochin and Wyandotte chickens. Our twisted and warped personalities meshed and we have been friends ever since.

After the biggest show of all time, the great 1998 Ohio National, we decided to join forces and show as a partnership founding M&M Exhibition Poultry. We have been at it ever since breeding, exhibiting and judging poultry all over the US with visits to Canada and Bermuda.

We have bred countless breeds and varieties over the years and the study never ends! We have helped many a fancier, both old and new, and truly enjoy our hobby with a very busy schedule both judging and exhibiting all over the World!

We hope you enjoy this site as we are transitioning from social media to this format that contains less regulations about bird breeding and sales!

Matt & Mikey