Every year Wisconsin hosts the Wisconsin International Poultry Show at the Columbia County Fairgrounds in Portage at the end of September. This year it will be taking place September 23-24. The show is free and open for the public to attend.
The show attracts hundreds of exhibitors from all across the country exhibiting thousands of birds. This year there will be exhibitors from 11 different states including Nebraska, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Virginia. There will be 5 judges working to judge every bird.
The show is organized by the Wisconsin International Poultry Club. The groups President, Kaylyn Schleicher, shares that turnout has been increasing over the past several years. This year there are 2,888 entries. It is the largest show in the state and one of the largest in the Midwest.
Schleicher notes that Wisconsin has large waterfowl numbers at poultry shows. “This year, just waterfowl alone, we have 1,151 entries which is huge,” Schleicher said. “You won’t really find that at a lot of other shows.”
Bantam ducks are by far the most popular of the waterfowl at the show. There are 550 entries this year which is the shows largest class of any specie. Schleicher attributes this interest to the ease of care for bantam ducks. “Those little ducks are easy to raise. They don’t take up a lot of room, they don’t eat much…and they’re kind of fun,” said Schleicher.
The age range of exhibitors is diverse. Many seasoned exhibitors that have been raising birds for decades come to this show. There are also large youth numbers. This year there are 123 youth exhibitors which is 53% of total exhibitors. The total entries from junior exhibitors make up 41% of the show. Schleicher says that it helps to have a great youth organization in the Wisconsin Junior Poultry Association.
“We have a lot of young people who are interested in poultry,” said Schleicher. “At least here in Wisconsin our future’s pretty bright.”