John ducks, but drake puts the bite on

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By John Keast

John Taylor has had it in the neck.

But it’s all part of the job for a poultry judge.

Mr Taylor is a bird breeder, president of the Ashburton Fanciers’ Society, and one of the judges at the society’s annual show at the Ashburton Sports Hall.

It featured poultry, ducks, bantams, pigeons and, on the Saturday, cavies, rabbits and cats.

Mr Taylor said the two-day show (Friday and Saturday) attracted 684 entries, which was “not bad” with a big show in Christchurch this weekend.

Many breeders, he said, held their best birds for the bigger shows.

Mr Taylor said judging birds was not without its dangers, with ducks and geese sometimes keen to have a peck.

One drake, Mr Taylor said, went for his neck.

Muscovies, he said, could be tricky – and geese were often not taken out of the cage.

He said judges looked for shape, type, feather quality and colour.

The society had its 125th birthday last year and “it was huge”.

Organisers were hoping for a good turnout from the public, with club stalwart Brian Glassey featuring in the hit “flockumentary” Pecking Order.

Photo: Mr Taylor with a duck he was judging at the 126th show of the Ashburton Fanciers’ Society.