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FLOCKING TO MANTECA

Seramas impress at Spectacular show Saturday

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FLOCKING TO MANTECA

As if on cue, Andrew Long’s champion Serama cockerel lets out a celebratory cock-a-doodle-doo right after the award presentation.

ROSE ALBANO RISSO/The Bulletin


POSTED March 5, 2012 1:08 a.m.

Andrew Long’s rooster really had something to crow about. And it was all for the 10-year-old fifth grader from Seven Hills Schools in Nevada City.

As if on cue, the photogenic bird standing dutifully on the pedestal proudly flapped its wings and let out a prolonged cock-a-doodle-doo as Andrew posed for pictures after receiving his Champion Junior Cock stained-glass trophy from Edgar Mongold of the American Serama Association. Mongold was the judge at the first ever NorCal Serama Spectacular hosted Saturday by the Manteca Unified School Distrtict.

Andrew was hardly the only one who traveled a long distance to attend the event held at the school farm. Seven-year-old Taylor Baldwin came to the competition show from Escondido where she attends TC Academy. She went home with several ribbons for her pet Seramas that she brought to the competition.

Coming to Manteca from Paso Robles was Bailey Bridges, 9, of Bauer Speck Elementary School who brought to the competition two of her pet chickens.

Compared to the above contestants, nine-year-old Nicholas Arroyo did not have far to travel. Flush with his gold showing that he won at the recent 4-H Contra Costa County Presentation Day’s World’s Smallest Chicken event, the nine-year-old from Antioch brought his cockerel Big Red and pullet to the NorCal Serama Spectacular on Saturday. After his golden success in the Contra Costa 4-H, he is now headed to UC Davis on March 31 for the sectionals.

The out-of-town contestants who were veterans like Nicholas in this type of competition proved to be tough competitors for the Manteca Unified FFA students involved the School Farm’s poultry project. But though amateurs their performance was par for the course if not better. Sierra High FFA Austin Kinlaw’s pullet, for example, emerged the champion in that category.

“For our first show, it’s absolutely fantastic,” a thrilled Superintendent Jason Messer told the gathering before everyone took a break from the day-long event for a tri-tip lunch and for some browsing through the raffle and silent auction prizes at the conclusion of the competition. Among the raffle prizes, all donated, were a pair of Serama chickens plus informational books, shirts, belts, and several items for one’s poultry project.



Manteca Unified students get good news

The Manteca FFA Poultry Project students were also happy to have their new Serama pets assessed by the American Serama Association Judge. The chickens were given to the students by one of the premiere breeders, if not the premiere breeder of Serama, in the United States.

“He said, I did a really good choice. He said they’d be good for mating together,” Sierra High Emily Sola happily reported.

Manteca High FFA Terrence Webb was also happy to hear encouraging words from the judge about his pair of Seramas. “He said I have a pretty stable pair,” Webb said.

The new feathered friends creating a bit of stir at the school district’s farm have piqued the interest of some who made an appearance at the Serama Spectacular.

“It’s just amazing. I think it’s so cute,” retired Manteca Unified teacher and school district Board of Trustee Evelyn Moore who came to the Serama Spectacular to find out “what on earth” was so great about the birds that people travel far and wide to come to the show.

Retired San Joaquin County Superior Court judge Jim Cadle and wife Rosemary were also there to have a close encounter with the chicken that is considered the smallest breed in the world – they typically weigh less than 19 oz. and are called “brave warriors” because of their characteristics – and also to provide moral support to their granddaughter, Emily Sola, a Sierra High FFA who is involved in the district’s poultry project.

“This is nice,” she said of the project. “It teaches them responsibility. They are responsible for the animals. They do the cleaning and everything. It’s good for them.”

“It keeps him busy,” said Connie Jauregui of her grandson Nicholas Arroyo’s work with Serama chickens which he does as a 4-H project.

Not that young Nicholas isn’t kept busy enough. He also golfs and does martial arts, his grandma said.

For Andrew Long, raising chickens including the Serama is not just a personal hobby or even a school project.

“We just do it on our own. It’s a family thing,” said the fifth grader’s stepfather, Ray Aedersold, who was at the competition and show with wife Julie.

Manteca High FFA and poultry project member Maureya  May thought the Serama Spectacular was more than an educational experience for her.

“I think it was fun,” she said with a dimpled smile. “It was cool to have a (the competition and show) here.And it was cool to see other people come out here.”

Several breeders from Oregon, Nevada, Arizona and throughout California also brought show-quality birds and pet birds for show and sell to the Saturday event.



Help the School Farm’s poultry project, buy an egg or chicken


The Serama is just the latest breed to join the School Farm’s coop. They also have Brahmas and Nankins. To help finance the poultry project, the program is selling different products from the coop. They have fresh eggs at $3 a dozen. They are also selling hatching eggs at $12 a dozen although they don’t guarantee the hatch rate because of the factors involved outside of their control. Baby chicks are available at $3 each. Breeding birds may also be purchased with prices ranging from $15 each up to $75 apiece. They also have incubator space at the poultry facility that could be rented out. Anyone interested in any of the above may send an e-mail to Superintendent Jason Messer at jmesser@musd.net.

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