Egg-mazing show of birds

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WANT to know how to tell a good egg from a bad egg? Just ask Jill Maxwell.
The Lochiel poultry breeder is one of a select group of New Zealanders qualified to judge eggs at poultry shows.
There were only about 20 qualified judges nationally and five in the South Island, she said.
To qualify, Ms Maxwell, a life member of the Invercargill Poultry and Pigeon Club had to be supervised while judging three shows — two which were in Invercargill and one in Waimate — over two seasons.
Eggs were judged on various qualities, she said. For the external inspection that included colour, shape, size, shell texture, freshness, bloom and appearance, which together could could add up to 100 points.
Once the shell was broken, the yolk, albumen, chalzae — the cords which keep the yolk in the middle of the egg — air space and freshness were also judged, for up to another 100 points.
An average score was 160-180 points out of 200, Ms Maxwell said.
Points could be lost for blood and meat spots, which she described as a ‘‘serious fault’’.
Ms Maxwell said her interest in poultry began when she was 11 and she had shown her birds at various shows throughout Southland, Otago and Canterbury. A highlight was one of her Rhode Island Reds being named New Zealand Champion at the nationals in Ashburton in 2013.
She got into egg judging three years ago.
‘‘I wanted to be involved in some way and I didn’t want to become a poultry judge.’’
‘‘THERE are also a lot of egg judges over the age of 65 and I’m a bit younger than that.’’
Ms Maxwell will be judging at this weekend’s Invercargill Poultry and Pigeon Club Show at Kennington.
Club secretary Bryce Horrell, of Oreti, said entries were up this year and about 500 ducks, poultry, pigeons and caged birds would be on show, as well as eggs.
‘‘With the recession and the increased popularity in sustainable living, everyone’s wanting chooks. It’s amazing the number of people who are looking after chickens.’’
The show was a good place to see different breeds, especially the rare breeds, and to talk to breeders, he said.
At least 60 birds would be for sale.
As well as eggs in their natural state in a variety of colours including white, brown, cream and blue, there would also a section for painted, decorated and display eggs.
Í Invercargill Poultry and Pigeon Club Show, Kennington Kennel Club, Saturday, July 9, 1pm-5pm, and Sunday, July 10, 9.30am-1.30pm. Adults $5, children $2, family $10.

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