Texarkana, TX 71° Mon H 79° L 71° Tue H 83° L 74° Wed H 90° L 69° Weather Sponsored By:

Exotic poultry in spotlight at gardening seminar

Exotic poultry in spotlight at gardening seminar

May 22nd, 2019 by Neil Abeles in Texarkana Region

Looking for something to peck or perhaps just surveying their surroundings are the exotic birds owned by the Allen Family Homestead of New Boston, Texas.

Poultry pets were little princes and princesses at the recent "A Walk in the Garden" seminar sponsored by Cass County Master Gardeners.

Julia Allen of New Boston, Texas, brought her cages of exotic chickens to the daylong seminar and garden tour.

Turns out the birds seemed to enjoy being looked at.

They stared right back and were calm when picked up and petted, even if they became flustered when one got too close.

"Raising chickens, especially the exotic ones, is very addictive," Allen said. "Anyone who starts owning birds will tell you."

This mixed-breed bantam is small and calm while being held by Julia Allen. Helping her mother is Texas A&M University-Texarkana student Gloria Allen.

This mixed-breed bantam is small and calm while...

Photo by Neil Abeles /Texarkana Gazette.

The seminar was held at Aaron Harding's Whippoorwill Gardens in Atlanta.

The Allen family owns the Allen Family Homestead, and Julia Allen started with birds about four years ago.

She has about a third of an acre for chickens, goats and a few other animals. Her idea is to raise the exotic birds for pets, mostly.

"We like to breed the rare birds. You'd be surprised how many people are interested in them and will want to own several."

One of Allen's favorites things to do is go to the East Texas Poultry Trades Day, held several times a year in Gilmer.

The next one is June 8. There, one sees many kinds of birds and animals for sale to the public.

"People come from all over the state."

The most important piece of advice she gives about poultry rearing is that when buying a bird, be certain to buy from reputable sources.

"Make certain you buy clean birds from reputable owners with clean and well-cared-for flocks," Allen said.

The white crested black Polish chicken is quite an exotic-appearing bird even if tiny. Its feathers on top of its head are considered a crest, according to Julia Allen.

The white crested black Polish chicken is quite...

Photo by Neil Abeles /Texarkana Gazette.

Her own birds are tested annually and certified, she said.

One also has to be registered with the Texas Animal Health Commission to sell birds outside of one's property.

Allen likes to talk about her pet birds, the rare ones especially.

"A lot of our birds which we keep and do not sell have names and will eat out of our hands. Bantam breeds love to be cuddled.

"One of my favorite is the Buff Orpington. They are like the golden retrievers of the dog world. A big breed with fluffy feathers that love to be held."

Allen is hoping for her homestead to be registered with the National Poultry Improvement Program, which has standards for testing, disease control and even traffic control on property.

The Allen Homestead also sells fresh eggs, vegetables and hatching eggs.

"This is a hobby for me, but my goal is to breed the exotics and bring interest to the flocks of birds people have in this area. We want to help raise the endangered birds."

She has two breeds that are considered endangered: The Coronation Sussex and the Swedish Flower Hens.

"Our white crested black Polish birds are rare but not endangered."

Allen is a former resident of New York state and Colorado who relocated to Texas 10 years ago.

If interested in birds, the best way to contact her is by messaging her on Facebook at Allen Family Homestead.

Getting Started/Comments Policy

Getting started

  1. 1. If you frequently comment on news websites then you may already have a Disqus account. If so, click the "Login" button at the top right of the comment widget and choose whether you'd rather log in with Facebook, Twitter, Google, or a Disqus account.
  2. 2. If you've forgotten your password, Disqus will email you a link that will allow you to create a new one. Easy!
  3. 3. If you're not a member yet, Disqus will go ahead and register you. It's seamless and takes about 10 seconds.
  4. 4. To register, either go through the login process or just click in the box that says "join the discussion," type your comment, and either choose a social media platform to log you in or create a Disqus account with your email address.
  5. 5. If you use Twitter, Facebook or Google to log in, you will need to stay logged into that platform in order to comment. If you create a Disqus account instead, you'll need to remember your Disqus password. Either way, you can change your display name if you'd rather not show off your real name.
  6. 6. Don't be a huge jerk or do anything illegal, and you'll be fine.

Texarkana Gazette Comments Policy

The Texarkana Gazette web sites include interactive areas in which users can express opinions and share ideas and information. We cannot and do not monitor all of the material submitted to the website. Additionally, we do not control, and are not responsible for, content submitted by users. By using the web sites, you may be exposed to content that you may find offensive, indecent, inaccurate, misleading, or otherwise objectionable. You agree that you must evaluate, and bear all risks associated with, the use of the Gazette web sites and any content on the Gazette web sites, including, but not limited to, whether you should rely on such content. Notwithstanding the foregoing, you acknowledge that we shall have the right (but not the obligation) to review any content that you have submitted to the Gazette, and to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content that we determine, in our sole discretion, (a) does not comply with the terms and conditions of this agreement; (b) might violate any law, infringe upon the rights of third parties, or subject us to liability for any reason; or (c) might adversely affect our public image, reputation or goodwill. Moreover, we reserve the right to reject, delete, disable, or remove any content at any time, for the reasons set forth above, for any other reason, or for no reason. If you believe that any content on any of the Gazette web sites infringes upon any copyrights that you own, please contact us pursuant to the procedures outlined in the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (Title 17 U.S.C. § 512) at the following address:

Copyright Agent
The Texarkana Gazette
15 Pine Street
Texarkana, TX 75501
Phone: 903-794-3311
Email: webeditor@texarkanagazette.com