Books

This page has details of my published works on poultry.

Adrian Judging Plymouth Rocks in Western Australia.

Adrian Judging Plymouth Rocks in Western Australia.

No.1 The Australorp by Ray Connor

This was my first attempt to write a book as a ghost writer. I visited Ray Connor who had long been regarded as the pre-eminent breeder and exhibitor of Australorps at his farm in Cowper, northern New South Wales. Ray is known nationally for his efforts with the Australorp breed and has sold birds to every state in the country. I stayed with Ray and his wife Gert for several days on at least 2 occasions in the interview and research stage. Many hours of  tapes were recorded and hundreds of photos taken. The book was released in 2000 with 100 hardback copies and 100 softcovers.

If you are interested in buying this book check out our poultry business site at www.heritagepoultry.net

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No.2 The Sussex by Peter Smith

The interviews with Peter Smith, Tamworth, New South Wales were conducted during the same research trip as that of Ray Connor’s. They took place immediately after Ray’s. The same amount of detail went into this book as The Australorp. Ray and Peter are very different characters with differing lifestyles and careers yet each has achieved excellence and were at the pinnacle of their poultry exhibiting careers during the interview phase. The Sussex breed is important in Australia’s poultry history in that it was the most popular commercial breed for meat when chicken was considered a delicacy and consumed mostly on Sundays and special occasions.

This book encompasses the breed from its inception and standardisation through its years as a commercial bird, its development as an exhibition breed and why it has become an icon of backyard and alternative lifestyle poultry keeping. The genetics of the breed are explored from all points of view but interpreted and explained in the light of Australia’s poultry import embargo years. This embargo had the effect of setting apart Australian poultry genetics in that European and American breeds could no longer be accessed in breeding improvement programs and breeder were forced to look within, some amazing results were achieved with breeds. To find out more go to www.heritagepoultry.net

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No.3 The Rhode Island Red by Col Gregor

Colin Gregor is another breeder from the golden era of poultry breeding and comes from that terrific district for poultry breeding and exhibition, the Northern Rivers of New South Wales. Col Gregor lived his entire life on the Clarence River and in various capacities as a primary producer. Much of his life was as a market gardener at Shark Point where he grew all sorts of vegetables after working with his father as a Corn Grower. In his later years he retired to the nearby township of Maclean where he could see the prawn trawlers working the river. One of his great interests was his Scottish heritage which he preserved and promoted at various Scots festivals.

His breeding efforts with the Rhode Island Red took him to the top of the exhibition ladder at shows. Although his era enjoyed other good breeders of Reds his close association with the Watson family kept his breeding and exhibition skills finely honed. This book is his legacy and although he passed away before the official launch of his book he had seen all drafts and signed off on their content. Read more at www.heritagepoultry.net.

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No.4. The Indian Game by Betty Wilcox

There are very few women in the exhibition and purebred poultry world that would qualify as Doyens. Such a title requires an individual to show a lifetime devotion to a single breed or variety. Betty Wilcox is definitely such an individual with a lifetime of breeding and exhibiting the Indian Game in both the standard and bantam varieties. The interviews with Betty were rivetting, not just on account of her in depth knowledge but her other involvements, eg home preserves of fruit and vegetable. Now there are preserves and preserves, some for consumption and Betty’s for artistic display and competition. Her preserves have been displayed around the world. Every jar is perfection, taking as much as 12-24 hours to position the produce exactly as she wants them to suit a pattern or just for uniformity. Her jars of peas are perfect, with every pea of an even size and each row parallel. You will need to see them to get a true appreciation and there is a photo or two in her book.

Betty is no geneticist a far as theory goes but her knowledge of the intricacies of the Indian Game, aka Cornish Game in the USA, goes unsurpassed. She knows exactly how to breed her strain to achieve a high proportion of show winners. That degree of success only comes with years of dedicated study of a strain.

For the Indian Game enthusiast this book is a must get. For further details go to Indian Game by Betty Wilcox Hardcover Edition  or the Softcover Edition.

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Jubilee Indian Game

No.5 The Plymouth Rock by Les Dowdle

Les Dowdle hails from Nambour on Queensland’s Sunshine Coast. For many years les worked in the sugar mills until his retirement and volunteered in the St John Ambulance Brigade for an eternity but in earlier years he worked in various outback locations in Queensland. Throughout his life he bred and exhibited the Light Barred Plymouth Rock (pullet breeders in the USA). He rose to high ranks also with the Pekin Bantam which he maintained until he lost his eyesight and was forced to move into supported living facility. His knowledge of the Plymouth Rock breed has come, like most others, from a lifelong study of the breed with only a modicum of support from various poultry publications such as the ‘Poultry’ newspaper.

The Plymouth Rock book is definitely the biggest book, mainly due to the extensive involvement the breed has had in Australia’s  poultry history. The most common and most important variety has always been the Barred Plymouth Rock and remains so today. In Australia two patterns of Barred Rocks are recognized, the Light Barred (know as pullet breeders elsewhere) and the Dark Barred or cockerel breeders. The barring gene has had a tremendous impact on the commercial poultry sector in early years as it allowed breeders to determine the sex of day old chicks to a high degree of accuracy. In later years this was replaced with the Japanese method of vent sexing but the heritage of the Plymouth Rock in commercial circles cannot be denied.

There is little doubt that the striped barring pattern of the Rock is one of the most striking patterns seen in the pure breeds but to achieve perfection in pattern takes much practice and knowledge. The information contained in this book will give new breeders the start they need to succeed while giving established breeders and exhibitors those much sought after secrets to get to the top. The book is loaded with photos to help the novice understand the intricacies!

You can get more info on both the hardcover edition and the softcover edition by clicking on the links.

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2 Responses to “Books”

  1. Quentin Carter Says:

    Hi Adrian,

    What are the chances of finding a complete set of Hardcover 5 Doyens of Poultry?

  2. Jade Says:

    Hi where can i buy a copy of the Sussex
    Thanks

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