APA holds poultry to a high standard

Julia Baratta
Judge Matt Lhamon took the opportunity to share information about the Cochin he was looking over with his assistant Zach Wrzesinski.

In 1873, the American Poultry Association (APA) was organized and established, making it the oldest livestock association in the North America continent today and it is still going strong. The group’s objectives are “to promote and protect the standard bred poultry industry in all its phases and to continue to publish the American Standard of Perfection that the breed and variety descriptions of all standard bred poultry.”

The APA has a few priorities and they take them very seriously. Among those responsibilities are maintaining breed standards, allowing for the recognition of new breeds, licensing judges, providing resources, and offering numerous benefits for the members.

The entire building was full of tables with cages containing hundreds of birds at the Sauk Trail Poultry Show in Hillsdale, MI. It was an APA sanctioned show.

The American Standard of Perfection is the guide for those who are interested in quality birds and what is expected for each of the numerous breeds. This publication is available through the organization and is currently the 44th edition. The book covers all the breeds of birds the group recognizes which are chickens, ducks, turkeys, geese and guineas. The Standard is what the judging is based on for each particular breed when in competition and for breeding guidelines.

They are open to the development of new breeds and will identify those birds when the breeding is proven. While that is important to the group, they are also very passionate about maintaining the breeds that are classified as rare or heritage. APA is planning to meet with the Livestock Conservancy and P. Allen Smith’s Heritage Poultry Conservancy to work on ideas for promoting these lesser known, or maybe less appreciated, poultry breeds.

Judge Melody Teller works with assistant, and future judge, Colton Friedel as she judges the Serama Tabletop Show during the Sauk Trail Poultry Show in Hillsdale, MI.

To hold the numerous shows throughout the United States and the year, the group needs judges who have been trained. The APA has a judge’s training program that includes mentoring with a qualified judge. Recently, this was in practice at the Sauk Trail Memorial Day Weekend Show in Hillsdale, MI. Melody Teller, who was judging her first show, worked with Colton Friedel, an assistant to the judge. They were working on a Serama Tabletop Show with some of the smallest chickens in the breed registry. Friedel is interested in becoming a poultry judge.

Along with the Standard guide, APA shares educational resources with the members. They are encouraged to present information in displays and at numerous venues promoting ownership of poultry breeds and proper care of them. The brochure they offer explains a number of basic responsibilities of a bird owner along with the obvious information for joining the organization.

By becoming a member, the benefits are beyond what is listed in their literature. Attending and competing in shows broadens their understanding of the standards. They also meet and talk with other owners about the birds. A community is formed from these gatherings of owners, breeders and appreciators.

They are strong supporters of the 4-H and youth programs where young people can be exposed to the raising and care of the birds with leaders and other young people. Projects requiring time management, responsibility and recording of what was learned through the year enhances the experience for the younger enthusiasts.

APA is open to anyone interested in the promotion of chickens, ducks, geese, turkeys and guineas and has more information at including membership, additional resources and dates for shows.