Bird show this weekend – no pigeons allowed

Birds of a feather . . . Dunedin Poultry Pigeon and Cagebird Club member Carla Sanders shows her grandson Arapeta Shaw (11 months) a white silkie pullet, ahead of the club show in Normanby this weekend. PHOTO: SHAWN MCAVINUE

Pigeons are prohibited from a Dunedin bird show this weekend.

Dunedin Poultry Pigeon and Cagebird Club member Carla Sanders said about 700 birds were expected to be entered in the annual show in Normanby by exhibitors from across the South Island.

But pigeons must stay at home in a bid to protect against a spread of disease.

The ban comes after the Ministry of Primary Industries confirmed a rotavirus infection in racing pigeons in Canterbury and Auckland in March.

Mrs Sanders, of Pine Hill, said she would enter 15 birds – a mix of Pekin bantams and Chinese silkies – in the show at Forrester Park.

“I’ll be bathing and blow drying my chooks – a lot of work goes into preparing each bird.”

She was hopeful of winning her first ribbon.

“That would be a real buzz.”

The hobby helps her maintain a healthy work/life balance, she said.

“As a nurse, I have to work hard to look after myself and I find the hobby incredibly beneficial to my health.”

The show will include a game, “chicken poop bingo”, where a fowl fouling on a giant grid decides prize winners.

The 43rd annual show, which includes a bird sale, is open to the public on Saturday between 1pm and 7pm and Sunday between 10.30am and 2pm.