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Rare Breeds Show May 23: Horses & Poultry Top List

CAMPTON HILLS, IL:      Garfield Farm Museum will hold its 24th Annual Rare Breeds Livestock & Poultry Show on Sunday May 23 from 11am ˆ 4pm.  Members of the American Livestock Breeds Conservancy have been invited to exhibit. This year the equidae, horses, donkeys and mules, are making the strongest showing with chickens being the second most popular.

    Domestic animals that humans have depended on for food, fiber and work have risen and fallen in popularity throughout time. Having the right genetics be it for yield, disease resistance, flavor, strength, climate hardiness, birthing and mothering abilities, litters size, growth rate, food requirements, etc are just some of the characteristics that have had value as things changed. This year’s show reflects the increased interest in horse and chicken breeds as represented by the exhibitors that plan to attend.

    The  decline in the numbers of certain breeds of horses has made their owners and enthusiasts aware that they must educate the horse loving public to the special breed they prefer. The recession has seen a drop in demand so prices for horses have declined. This in turn affects all breeds but has a bigger impact on the rare breeds since their numbers are already low.

    Of the horses planning to be at the show, the Cleveland Bay is one of the rarest. Less then 150 of these exist in the U.S. and they are one of the oldest British breeds. Strong hooves (critical for any horse), stamina, soundness, and versatility from pleasure riding to driving or showing or hunting, the breed is a warm blood. Warm blooded horses are not as small and lightly muscled as hot bloods but are not as large as the heavy muscled draft horses referred to as cold bloods. Also planning on attending are Morgan, Hackney Pony, English Shires, Suffolk Punch, Friesian, Icelandic, Andalusian, miniature horse, Clydesdale, Haflinger, and Colonial Spanish horses.

       These are not all the equidae in attendance. Four-month old-Eden from Lake Nowhere Mule and Donkey Farm in Martin, TN, an American Mammoth Jackstock donkey, will be present. The breed is the only American breed of Ass and was developed by George Washington in the late 1700s. Washington recognized the need for mules, a cross between a donkey and a horse. Mules had the strength, intelligence, and sure footedness that made them good draft animals.  There will be several mules on display so one can learn the difference and the terminology for these animals that belong to the Equidae, the scientific name for the horse family.

    The local food movement and the slow food movement seem to have kindle an interest in chickens as people even in towns and cities are looking to raise small flocks. Old English Game Bantams, American Game (Roundheads), Millie Fluer D'Uccles, Blue Mottled Cochin Bantams, Shamo, Auburn Java, Icelandic, Golden Laced Wyandotte, Plymouth Rocks, Buff Orpington, Barred Rocks, Jersey Giants, New Hampshire Reds Americauana, Cuckoo Maran, Buff Wyandotte, Silkies, and the museum’s conservation flock of Black Javas all plant o be on display. The American Buckeye Poultry Club will have an information table.

    Other fowl to be in attendance include: Red Bourbon Turkey, Rio Grande Wild Turkeys, Blue Slate Turkey, Wild Turkey, American Buff Goose, Sebastapol Geese, Pilgrim geese and a White Peacock.

     A booth on American Guinea Hogs and some Red Wattle Piglets will be on hand. Sheep include: English Leicester Longwools, Katahdin, Old English Baby Doll, Romney, Merino and Clun Forest breeds. Some Nubian and Nigerian Dwarf Goats as well as the work and fiber animals, llamas and alpacas will be exhibited.

    The museum’s Milking Devon oxen will be put through their paces and one really understands what  miniature means when the Miniature Herefords are compared to the Devons. Additional animals of interest include Angora Rabbits,  Maine Coon Kittens, Biewer Yorkshire Terriers and a Cardigan Welsh Corgi Dog.

    A special lecture by Tom Norush on Colonial Spanish Horses will be given and Tamara Edwards will speak on determining if one’s fowl is a show bird.

    In addition to seeing the animals, visitors and exhibitors can tour the 1846 Teamster Inn and Tavern, watch demonstrations of sheep shearing, wool spinning, or enjoy refreshments from Inglenook Pantry. There is a $6 donation for adults and $3 for children 12 years and younger.

    Garfield Farm Museum is five miles west of Geneva, IL off ILL Route 38 on Garfield Road. The 370-acre museum is supported by donations and is the only surviving historically intact former 1840s Illinois prairie farmstead and teamster inn being restored as an 1840s working farm museum. For information call 630-584-8485 or email 

For more information about Garfield Farm send an e-mail message to: or call 630/584-8485.