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Exotic chicken breed takes center stage at school farm
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Exotic and expensive birds will take over the Manteca Unified School Farm Saturday, March 3, for the first-ever Serama Spectacular competition and show in Northern California.

As of Monday, 75 participants have signed up, “and that’s just in the show,” Superintendent Jason Messer said.

Breeders from four states – Arizona, Nevada, Oregon, and California – will be coming to Manteca to show off their prized collection of birds and to enter some of them in the contest.

Messer said he has talked to some of the breeders who indicated they will be bringing show-quality birds for sale at the event. Some of these cost $100 apiece.

“They’re expensive little birds,” Messer said.

However, there will be some for sale that are not so expensive because they are not show-quality but are pet-quality and fetch around $30 to $35 each. A breeder from Calaveras County will have some of these pet-quality Serama birds for sale.

There will be something for everybody at this event which is jointly sponsored by the school district’s poultry program and the Golden State Serama Council. In addition to the competitions and show, there will be some birds up for auction. A couple of show-quality chickens will be raffled off as well. The school district’s poultry project is also donating about a dozen eggs. The exact number will all depend on how many eggs they will get this week from the collection of chickens they have at the poultry project, Messer said.

The raffle birds are all donated by various breeders.

Admission to the event is free. The public is invited. Gates will open at 9 a.m. with the Serama competition to begin at 10 a.m.

Guests will not have to worry about leaving the grounds to get lunch. There will be food available for sale which includes tri-tip, a side dish from the school district’s nationally award-winning Central Valley Bake from Cowell School, chips and drinks. Messer said the tri-tip is being donated by a generous donor.

Proceeds from the sale of food and drinks will go to the School Farm’s poultry project. All proceeds from the raffle and auction will likewise go to the poultry program, along with a certain percentage of the sale that the breeders will make at the event.

“Hopefully, they will make a few dollars from this first show,” Messer said.

He is also hopeful that the Serama Spectacular will become an annual event. Already, he is looking forward to next year when the district will host the semi-national Serama event.

The Serama, which is invariably called Malaysian Serama, is bantam breed of chicken that originated from Malaysia. They are considered the lightest chicken in the world. Their unique characteristics include vertical tail feathers, near-vertical wings, a full breast, and short legs. They are still considered rare in places outside Malaysia. Jerry Schexnayder of South Louisiana and owner of Jerrys Seramas LLC, a premier Serama breeder in the world, imported 135 of these birds in 2000. Schexnayder is donating two for each student involved in the Manteca Unified’s Poultry Project.  The students can choose either to raise the chickens at the school farm or at their home.

For additional information about the district’s FFA poultry program and how to donate to the students’ project, or to get more details on the NorCal Serama Spectacular, call Superintendent Jason Messer at (209) 456-0254, send him an e-mail at or visit and scroll down to NorCal Serama Spectacular.