I have benefited greatly from an involvement with some of the most progressive Poultry Clubs in Australia, and have chosen to share some of the ideas which I feel have worked successfully, as well as a few of my own.
- Routine Monthly meetings (eg 7:30pm 3rd Friday of each month at a set location) can be very helpful in attracting and involving new members. They also help older members maintain enthusiasm and provide a great forum for all members to be involved in decision making and talking "chooky".
- Have an item for "show reports" and record in the minutes. This is where members can give a brief report on a show they visited/showed/judged, Auction or other events attended. (including reports of the clubs OWN show(s).
- Rotate a list of attending members to supply evening tea (just a few biscuits etc to have with tea/coffee/milo).
- During evening tea is a great opportunity for members to chat about breeding, showing, incubation, husbandry etc
- beginners receive a wealth of knowledge from their many inquisitive questions that they stumble upon through the year, and are made aware of upcoming events through word of mouth.
- Meetings on less busy months could include organised talks from:
- Veterinarians or Department of Agriculture representatives on avian health
- Members on breeds they specialise in, bringing in a few specimens to help point out some of the finer details
- Representative from a breed club (within driving distance) to promote specific breeds.
- Hatchery's or incubator manufacturers on Incubation (eg Bellsouth Poultry)
- Print/Send out a newsletter or flyer with meeting dates and an itinerary of organised events.
- Print a information booklet compiled by club members for beginners.
- Organise Bird Nights. This gives members the opportunity to put their birds on display and receive valuable feedback without the pressure of show conditions. They could be conducted in conjunction with working bees and/or a BBQ. Perhaps let a member judge and handle the birds who could go on and make a good future judge. It could also be used as a tool to show beginners how to handle birds properly, the process of judging, and give members the opportunity to help their young birds adjust to show conditions.
- Advertise your Poultry club, meetings and the events you run by:
- printing posters to be put up in public places that might have interested people such as around town in livestock feed & produce stores, public library, veterinary, notices boards etc
- Notify local newspaper with news of events such as annual shows, Auctions, lawn parade/bird-nights etc
- Advertise in poultry literature such as:
- Australasian Poultry
- VPFA Journal (for Victoria)
- Weekly Times (or other Rural Newspapers in your state)
- Chicken Chat & NEEPA Year Book
- Create a Club Internet web page. This could be done by a computer skilled member, or emailing details to www.backyardpoultry.com to have a site made, or just posting your events on electronic notice boards.
- Organise a car pool on a Saturday or Sunday to visit prominent breeders within a 4 hour drive. Longer trips can also be planned interstate with shows, judging and visits! Perhaps hiring an enclosed trailer for luggage and birds purchased. Finances, accommodation and an itinerary will need to be organised in advanced.
- Form a syndicate to promote a rare breed or variety, with each member contributing (eg $25). Discuss ideas on suitable breeds (eg Sicilian Buttercups, Golden duckwing leghorns, Blue Swedish ducks, white faced black Spanish). Source and purchase the best breeding stock available in Australia, and disperse fertile eggs from original stock amongst syndicate members (eg rotate in lots of 6 eggs). Perhaps your club could offer a special prize/award and ongoing engraved perpetual trophy at its show for the chosen breed to help friendly competition, healthy rivalry & good showmanship.
It would be great to get hear of more ideas from readers. I can be contacted via email at: firstname.lastname@example.org